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Colonialism, Improvement and Economic Botany


What is the Columbian Exchange? How did it change global eating habits?
What are the connections between imperialism and natural history?


Carney, Judith, and Richard Rosomoff, In the Shadow of Slavery: Africa’s Botanical Legacy in the Atlantic World (Berkeley, 2009), Introduction.
Crosby, Alfred, The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492 (Westport, 1972), Chapter 1.
Earle, Rebecca, The Columbian Exchange’, The Oxford Handbook of Food History, ed. Jeffrey Pilcher (Oxford, 2012).*
Drayton, Richard, Nature’s Government. Science, Imperial Britain, and the ‘Improvement’ of the World (New Haven, 2000).

* Sign in to the Warwick Library catalogue to read the electronic version.

To Learn More

Columbian Exchange

Carney, Judith, Black Rice: The African Origins of Rice Cultivation in the Americas (Cambridge, 2001).*

Carney, Judith, and others, 'Beyond Black Rice', American Historical Review 115:1 (2010).
Crosby, Alfred, Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900 (Cambridge, 1986).
Foster, Nelson, and Linda S. Cordell, eds., Chillies to Chocolate: Food the Americas Gave the World (Tucson, 1992).
Mazumdar, Sucheta, ‘The Impact of New World Food Crops on the Diet and Economy of China and India, 1600-1900’, Food in Global History, ed. Raymond Grew (Boulder, 1999).
McCann, James, Maize and Grace: Africa’s Encounter with a New World Crop, 1500-2000 (Cambridge, 2005).*

Mintz, Sidney, Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History (New York, 1985).

* Sign in to the Warwick Library catalogue to read the electronic version.

Colonial Science

Bleichmar, Daniela, Visible Empire: Botanical Expeditions and Visual Culture in the Hispanic Enlightenment (Chicago, 2012).
Mackay, David, In the Wake of Cook: Exploration, Science and Empire, 1780-1801 (New York, 1985).
McClellan III, James, Colonialism and Science: Saint Domingue in the Old Regime (Chicago, 2010).
Miller, David Philip, and Peter Hanns Reill, eds., Visions of Empire: Voyages, Botany, and Representations of Nature (Cambridge, 1996).
Osborne, Michael, Nature, the Exotic, and the Science of French Colonialism (Bloomington, 1994).
Schiebinger, Londa and Claudia Swan, eds. Colonial Botany: Science, Commerce and Politics in the Early Modern World (Philadelphia, 2005).
Schiebinger, Londa, Plants and Empire: Colonial Bio-prospecting in the Atlantic World (Cambridge, 2009).

* Sign in to the Warwick Library catalogue to read the electronic version.