Monday, 18 May 2020

The RUTTER Story: Moving Forward

On the first days of March we received notice that all activities at our Faculty in Lisbon had to close. No more classes, no seminars, no meetings: “Just go home. Now.” The Coronavirus had arrived. Actually, it had been on the radar for some weeks, but its irruption into our lives was sudden and brutal nonetheless. As we grappled with the new reality and tried to anticipate the future, a clear decision formed in the minds of everyone at the RUTTER team: we were determined to continue our research, come what may.

In the following days, the team dispersed geographically. Conferences and seminars were cancelled. Research trips to archives and libraries were postponed to an undefined future. Locked down at our homes in different places around Europe we learned to work in very different circumstances. “Reading Rutters” will document the activities of the RUTTER Project after the arrival of the Coronavirus. It is our story. It is the RUTTER story, and you are warmly invited to follow it. Sail on!

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

What is RUTTER?

We are an international and multidisciplinary team of scholars writing a narrative of the scaling up of a scientific description of the earth in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. We draw straight from the lived experience of travelling and observing the earth on long-distance sea voyages. This means that, as a preliminary task, we are engaged in the systematic search, identification and classification of the information contained in early modern Iberian rutters and ship’s logbooks—an enormous, fascinating and understudied corpus scattered through libraries and nautical institutions. This will be followed by extensive transdisciplinary work to improve radically our knowledge on the formation of global concepts about the earth: what was the historical process that brought us to them?

More prosaically, RUTTER is the name of the ERC-financed Project started in September 2019: “RUTTER — Making the Earth Global: Early Modern Rutters and the Construction of a Global Concept of the Earth” (ERC Advanced Grant 8334381; IR: Henrique Leitão, Faculdade de Ciências, University of Lisbon).