The Life And Legacy Of Alexander Von Humboldt

Even over two centuries years after Alexander von Humboldt’s celebrated American expedition (1799-1804), the Prussian naturalist, historian and humanist is well remembered on both sides of the Atlantic. His wide-ranging work, ideas and scientific method continue to be influential to this day. The recognition he received also in the United States is reflected in numerous places that carry his name.

However, many contradictory interpretations of Humboldt can be found:  While some praise him as father of the environmentalism, others question his contribution to the sciences for a lack of new theories. While some take him as colonial explorer, others heroize him as an  ideologic leader of the Independence movement in Spanish America. 

Dr. Rebok will evaluate and contextualize Humboldt's life and legacy:  Who was the famous explorer, what were his key achievements, and how do they differ from other scholars’ of his time? How do we define Humboldtian Science? And what can we still learn from him while facing the challenges of our world today?

This lecture is sponsored by the Alliance Francaise of Portland and the German American Society of Portland. Please RSVP to

Dr. Sandra Rebok's research focuses on exploration voyages, intellectual networks and transnational collaborations during the 19th century. She has over 20 year of experience in Humboldtian scholarship; she is the author of several books on Humboldt and the editor of three of his works in Spanish.



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