Science, Commerce, and Politics in the Early Modern World
Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
352 pages, 155.00 x 235.00 x 0.00 mm, 54 illus.
- ISBN: 9780812220094
- Published: July 2007
In the early modern world, botany was big science and big business, critical to Europe's national and trade ambitions. Tracing the dynamic relationships among plants, peoples, states, and economies over the course of three centuries, this collection of essays offers a lively challenge to a historiography that has emphasized the rise of modern botany as a story of taxonomies and "pure" systems of classification. Charting a new map of botany along colonial coordinates, reaching from Europe to the New World, India, Asia, and other points on the globe, Colonial Botany explores how the study, naming, cultivation, and marketing of rare and beautiful plants resulted from and shaped European voyages, conquests, global trade, and scientific exploration.
From the earliest voyages of discovery, naturalists sought profitable plants for king and country, personal and corporate gain. Costly spices and valuable medicinal plants such as nutmeg, tobacco, sugar, Peruvian bark, peppers, cloves, cinnamon, and tea ranked prominently among the motivations for European voyages of discovery. At the same time, colonial profits depended largely on natural historical exploration and the precise identification and effective cultivation of profitable plants. This volume breaks new ground by treating the development of the science of botany in its colonial context and situating the early modern exploration of the plant world at the volatile nexus of science, commerce, and state politics.
Written by scholars as international as their subjects, Colonial Botany uncovers an emerging cultural history of plants and botanical practices in Europe and its possessions.
—Londa Schiebinger and Claudia Swan
I. COLONIAL GOVERNANCE AND BOTANICAL PRACTICES
1. Dominion, Demonstration, and Domination: Religious Doctrine, Territorial Politics, and French Plant Collection
2. Walnuts at Hudson Bay, Coral Reefs in Gotland: The Colonialism of Linnaean Botany
3. Mission Gardens: Natural History and Global Expansion, 1720-1820
—Michael T. Bravo
4. Gathering for the Republic: Botany in Early Republic America
—Andrew J. Lewis
II. TRANSLATING INDIGENOUS, CREOLE, AND EUROPEAN BOTANIES: LOCAL KNOWLEDGE(S), GLOBAL SCIENCE
5. Books, Bodies, and Fields: Sixteenth-Century Transatlantic Encounters with New World Materia Medica
6. Global Economies and Local Knowledge in the East Indies: Jacobus Bontius Learns the Facts of Nature
—Harold J. Cook
7. Prospecting for Drugs: European Naturalists in the West Indies
8. Linnaean Botany and Spanish Imperial Biopolitics
—Antonio Lafuente and Nuria Valverde
9. How Derivative was Humboldt? Microcosmic Nature Narratives in Early Modern Spanish America and the (Other) Origins of Humboldt's Ecological Sensibilities
III. CASH CROPS: MAKING AND REMAKING NATURE
10. The Conquest of Spice and the Dutch Colonial Imaginary: Seen and Unseen in the Visual Culture of Trade
—Julie Berger Hochstrasser
11. Of Nutmegs and Botanists: The Colonial Cultivation of Botanical Identity
—E. C. Spary
12. Out of Africa: Colonial Rice History in the Black Atlantic
IV. TECHNOLOGIES OF ACCUMULATION
13. Collecting Naturalia in the Shadow of Early Modern Dutch Trade"
14. Accounting for the Natural World: Double-Entry Bookkeeping in the Field
—Anke te Heesen
15. Surgeons, Fakirs, Merchants, and Craftspeople: Making L'Empereur's Jardin in Early Modern South Asia
16. Measurable Difference: Botany, Climate, and the Gardener's Thermometer in
List of Contributors
"Well illustrated and imaginatively written, this . . . superb collection surveys the leading edge of current approaches but also points towards future research."—Renaissance Studies
"This collection contributes importantly not only to scholarship on science and empire, but makes clear the diversity of colonial relationships and the myriad and complex ways in which scientific knowledge was made."—Renaissance Quarterly