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Esther Helena Arens: Flowerbeds and Hothouses: Botany, Gardens, and the Circulation of Knowledge in Things [Abstract]

The development and management of planted spaces in Northwestern Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries depended on the possibilities for circulation in the republic of letters of the Dutch golden age. Circulation was accompanied by questions of managing space, information and “epistemic things” (Rheinberger) for botanists. Against the conceptual backdrop of “circulation” (Raj), “circulatory regimes” (Saunier) and “ensembles of things” (Hahn), this paper analyses, first, flowerbeds as a script for managing information that shaped botanical gardens across Europe in Leiden, Uppsala, Coimbra, and as far as Batavia according to Linnaean principles. Second, it investigates hothouses as spaces for managing things, and with it the role of knowledge in things handled by professional and amateur gardeners, not least the stove for pineapple cultivation. The paper concludes with reflections on the community of the material and the social around epistemic things, and the differing influences of description and narration in garden spaces.

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