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Five Books Every (Global) Historian of Science Should Read

In the last ten years or so historians of science have done much to challenge the existing Eurocentric historiography, yet such works are only just starting to make its way onto core reading lists and into the mainstream of the discipline. In this blog post James Poskett surveys the most exciting new scholarship in the field and makes a case for five books he thinks every historian of science should read. These are books that, whilst often focusing on particular regions or periods, nonetheless speak to the bigger concerns of the discipline. And in fact, for anyone more broadly interested in the history of science, who wants to know where the field is headed, these books are a great place to start.

Fri 18 Mar 2022, 17:09 | Tags: Global History, History of Science, James Poskett

“Orchids of the greatest rarity of Colombia”: collecting orchids in the Northern Andes in the 1840s

Orchids are one of the most popular plants in the world. But back in the nineteenth century, orchids, specially the tropical ones, were a botanical curiosity and an exotic and expensive item only a few could afford. Those plants were extracted from the tropical jungles of South America to be sold in auctions in Britain. In this blog post, Camilo Uribe Botta shows how the networks created between Colombia, Belgium and Britain in the 1840s led to a constant supply of plants from the tropical Andes and also to new botanical discoveries and innovative methods on how to cultivate them in Britain.

Materials of the Mind: Phrenology, Race, and the Global History of Science, 1815–1920

In this blog post GHCC member Dr James Poskett presents his new book, Materials of the Mind: Phrenology, Race, and the Global History of Science, 1815–1920, published by the University of Chicago Press. His book tells a story of skulls from the Arctic, photographs from India, books from South Africa, and letters from the Pacific. By following these objects across the world, Poskett shows how the circulation of material culture underpinned the emergence of a new materialist philosophy of the mind. As well as a history of phrenology, the book also offers a broader reflection on what it means to write a global history of science.

Sun 19 May 2019, 13:15 | Tags: Global History, History of Science, James Poskett