The Diagrammatics of Relatedness as Scientific, Scholarly, and Popular Practice

Linnaeus, Prælectiones in ordines naturales plantarum (1792)
Excerpt from Linné, Carl von: Caroli a Linne ... Prælectiones in ordines naturales plantarum. Hamburgi : impensis Beni. Gottl. Hoffmanni, typis G.F. Schniebes, 1792. ETH-Bibliothek Zürich, Rar 3640,

The first conference was unfortunately canceled due to the coronavirus epidemic. Stay tuned for a forthcoming publication based on the scholars' papers and for our second conference in Zurich, Fall 2021.

Convened by Marianne Sommer (Lucerne), Simon Teuscher (Zurich), Staffan Müller-Wille (Cambridge and Lübeck), and Caroline Arni (Basel)

Financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation

For more information contact coordinator Eric Hounshell (snfsinergiatree at

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10:00-10:15 Greeting (Marianne Sommer)

I. Genealogy (15th-19th c.)

10:15-11:15 Stéphane Jettot (Paris Sorbonne), “’Intelligible to the mind and pleasing to the eye’: mapping out kinship in British family directories (1700-1830)” (Chair: Simon Teuscher)


11:45-12:45 Michaela Hohkamp (Hannover), “Genealogy and Context” (Chair: Simon Teuscher)


14:00-15:00 Simon Teuscher (Zurich), “The emergence of Tree-Shaped Kinship Diagrams at the End of the Middle Ages” (Chair: Caroline Arni)

15:00-16:00 Jean-Paul Zuñiga (EHESS Paris), “The argument of kinship between images and speech: forms and uses of genealogical rationale in Spanish America (16th-18th centuries)” (Chair: Caroline Arni)


II. Natural History, Biology, Heredity (18th-20th c.)

16:30-17:30 Hans-Jörg Rheinberger (MPIWG Berlin), “Representing Order in 18th Century Natural History” (Chair: Staffan Müller-Wille)


II. Natural History, Biology, Heredity (18th-20th c.) continued

9:30-10:30 Ariane Dröscher (Trento), “Designing cell fate: August Weismann and his cell tree diagrams” (Chair: Staffan Müller-Wille)

10:30-11:30 Amir Teicher (Tel Aviv), “To Tree or not to Tree: The Visual Consolidation of Mendelian Mechanisms” (Chair: Staffan Müller-Wille)


12:00-13:00 Theodore M. Porter (UCLA), “Representing Heredity: Asylum Tables of Family Insanity” (Chair: Staffan Müller-Wille)


III. Anthropology (17th-20th c.)

14:30-15:30 Staffan Müller-Wille (Cambridge/Lübeck), “Corners, Tables, Lines: Towards a Topology of Race” (Chair: Eric Hounshell)

15:30-16.30 Marianne Sommer (Lucerne), “Making Anthropology Diagrammatic: Samuel George Mortons ‘American Golgotha’” (Chair: Eric Hounshell)


17:00-18:00 Helen Gardner (Deakin University Melbourne), “Race Kinship and the Branching Tree: a colonial perspective” (Chair: Eric Hounshell)

18:00-18:15 Conclusion