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A New World in a hive

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  • UserAngélica Marquéz-Ozuna (Harvard University)
  • ClockMonday 27 February 2023, 13:00-14:00
  • HouseZoom.

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Stingless bees in the Americas have an imbricated history. They became a matter of interest in the nineteenth century when naturalists and entomologists were able to closely observe the particularities of such insects with optical devices. In this presentation, Angélica Marquéz-Ozuna will show how the active process of identifying and classifying stingless bees in the Americas was not linear, and it was rather shaped by a proliferation of categories and names that sometimes overlapped. Angélica sees taxonomy as an archive that allows us to make historical connections with the materiality of the natural world that it categorizes. By following the changing history of the ‘domestic bee of Yucatán’ in natural history texts and taxonomy, Angélica will illustrate how this stingless bee – which produces good quality honey and has been bred by Maya communities in southeast México for 2,500 years ago – acquired the scientific name of Melipona beecheii, in an attempt to organize the New World’s bees based on the modern taxonomy scheme of binomial nomenclature developed by Linnaeus.

This talk is part of the Cabinet of Natural History series.

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