Dr Paul Newton-Jackson: "Mahogany, Ivory, and Tortoiseshell: Towards a Political Ecology of Eighteenth-Century Keyboard Instruments"

Event date: 
Thursday 5 October
Moot Court, School of Law, Old College, University of Edinburgh
Dr Paul Newton-Jackson

An IASH Work-in-Progress seminar, delivered by Dr Paul Newton-Jackson ( Centre for Research Collections Fellow 2023)

Mahogany, Ivory, and Tortoiseshell: Towards a Political Ecology of Eighteenth-Century Keyboard Instruments

How did the carapace of a tropical hawksbill sea turtle reach a keyboard-making workshop in eighteenth-century Hamburg? What journey did the wood from a tree growing in the Caribbean rainforest take in order to become a mahogany panel on a spinet manufactured in 1780s Edinburgh? Focusing on German and Scottish keyboards in the University of Edinburgh’s musical instrument collections, this project traces non-European plant- and animal-derived materials from their source to the finished instrument. In doing so, it sheds light on early modern global networks of resource extraction and trade, and the patterns of human and environmental exploitation which often underpinned then. Thus, through an exploration of the ecological and colonial material histories of these high-status objects in the University’s collections, this project works to gain a better understanding of past injustices and their present-day legacies.

Please join in-person, or click the link below to join the webinar:
Passcode: Kj7gnpP4

Please note that our weekly seminars will take place in the Moot Court in the School of Law between September and December 2023.

Accessibility: https://www.accessable.co.uk/venues/old-college-north