Central theme of the closing conference Materia Medica II is 'Contextualizing drug components as collectables, commodities, and cultural markers in the early modern period'. After the successful Materia medica on the move conference in 2015, Utrecht University Descartes Centre, Huygens/ING, and Naturalis Biodiversity Centre will host a three-day follow-up conference, again devoted to the circulation of knowledge regarding non-native natural substances that were used in medicine in the early modern period (1500-1800).
Goal of the conference
In recent years the history of non-native natural substances, to which therapeutic properties were attributed, has received substantial attention from scholars in a range of disciplines. The various contexts and perspectives from which these substances can be studied (e.g. medicinal, scientific, socio-cultural, ethnobotanical, artistic) have led to much cross-disciplinary research by historians of science, pharmacists, ethnobotanists, and the like. The conference intends to provide a platform for these researchers, to provide an overview of current research, and to exchange insights and ideas about the knowledge, trade, and acculturation of drug components in the past.