Pehr Löfling was a Swedish botanist and travelling student of Carl Linnaeus who lived and worked in Spain and South America during the first half of the 1750s. This website contains a brief introduction (in Swedish) to Löfling and his travels as well as documentation (in Swedish and English) of the research project ”Pehr Löfling and the globalisation of knowledge, 1729–1756”, led by Kenneth Nyberg and funded by the Riksbankens Jubileumsfond from 2011 to 2014. Over time additional material related to Löfling – such as references and links to primary sources, scholarship, and digital resources – will be posted here.
Below is a brief summary of the Löfling project written in November 2010, just before work began in earnest, and the following documentation is also available in English:
• Project description with list of references (from grant application, May 2010)
• Final report (March 2015)
• List of publications, 2011–2014 (March 2015)
For more information about me (Kenneth Nyberg) and my research, please visit my personal website.
The second half of the 18th century was characterised by an emerging global integration of knowledge(s) on terms mainly, but not entirely, dictated by Europeans. In recent scholarship on the increasingly intimate connections between science, nation-states and the building of colonial empires during the period, Linnaean botany is generally agreed to have played a crucial role. The aim of this project is to use the life and travels of Swedish botanist Pehr Löfling (1729–1756), who worked in both Spain and South America in the 1750s, to explore and analyse a number of aspects of this early wave of knowledge globalisation.
The study focuses on three encounters in the “life geography” of Löfling: between him as a young student and Linnaean taxonomy, between him as a Linnaean “apostle” and the world of Spanish science, and between him as a European (colonial) scientist and indigenous American populations. How did Löfling approach Linnaeus, and how did the latter influence him? Similarly, what was the outcome of his interaction with Spanish botanists and indigenous Americans? What do these exchanges tell us about the theory and practice of Linnaean botany as an example of the globalisation of knowledge and the various stages of that process? Finally, how did these greater phenomena in turn impact on Löfling and shape his life journey(s)? Those are some of the questions to be pursued in the course of this project.