James Trail and Nineteenth-Century Amazonian Field Science

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter examines Trail’s field science practices, and the ways in which he and his colleagues sought to create a field science institution out of the Amazon Steam Navigation Company survey, for which they worked. Trail’s practices, as well as the ways he understood his work and experiences, were molded by the field science of his Amazonian naturalist predecessors, Alfred Russel Wallace, Henry Walter Bates, Richard Spruce and Louis Agassiz. Trail walked the paths they walked and met local people who had worked with them; their books were never far from hand. Trail also steamed through the Amazon when it had one of the most diverse human populations on earth, was the object of fierce international rivalry and tied into global networks. Thus, Trail’s field science practices, a new case study of Amazonian field science, are situated in this wider historical context.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnderstanding Field Science Institutions
EditorsHelena Ekerholm, Karl Grandin, Christer Nordlund , Patience A. Schell
Place of PublicationSagamore Beach, MA
PublisherScience History Publications/USA
Number of pages33
ISBN (Print)9780881354836
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017


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