CORVALLIS - Is a crocodile art?

A Stanford University professor will discuss that concept and explore changing attitudes toward nature during the scientific revolution in a free public lecture this Friday, March 6, at Oregon State University.

Paula Findlen's lecture, "Is a Crocodile a Work of Art? Seeing Objects in the Early Modern Cabinet of Curiosities," will begin at 3 p.m. in OSU's Memorial Union 206.

An associate professor of Italian history at Stanford, Findlen specializes in how societies have viewed science and nature. In her lecture, she will use the crocodile as a case study to examine the multiple ways in which Europeans understood nature during the 16th and 17th centuries - often seen through objects placed in "cabinets of curiosities," which were precursors of modern museums.

Findlen is author of a book called "Possessing Nature: Museums, Collecting and Scientific Culture in Early Modern Italy." It has won prizes for writing in both Italian history and history of science. She has co-written a forthcoming book called "Women and Science: Gender and the Pursuit of Knowledge Since the Middle Ages."

Findlen, who has a Ph.D. from the University of California-Berkeley, has been a resident scholar at the Getty Center and a visiting professor at Harvard University.

Her lecture is part of the OSU Thomas Hart and Mary Jones Horning Endowment in the Humanities lecture series for 1997-98, "The Arts and Sciences: Interactions and Influences."

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Mary Jo Nye, 541-737-1308