Plants and Empire

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Plants and Empire Author: Format: Paperback First Published: Published By: Harvard University Press Pages: 320 Illustrations and other contents: 20 halftones ISBN: 9780674025684 Category:

Londa Schiebinger’s scholarly study covers botanical exploration during what the author calls ‘the long eighteenth century’: from the 1670s until about 1802. This was a period of dawning European recognition that the real treasures of the New World lay not in fabled cities of gold but in the vines, bushes, and flowers that crowded village gardens and grew in the jungles beyond…Schiebinger’s thoughtful study, then, sheds light not only on how new knowledge comes to be, but also on how some new knowledge comes to be ignored.

Paperback. 320 pp

9780674025684

Weight0.4 kg
Londa Schiebinger's scholarly study covers botanical exploration during what the author calls 'the long eighteenth century': from the 1670s until about 1802. This was a period of dawning European recognition that the real treasures of the New World lay not in fabled cities of gold but in the vines, bushes, and flowers that crowded village gardens and grew in the jungles beyond...Schiebinger's thoughtful study, then, sheds light not only on how new knowledge comes to be, but also on how some new knowledge comes to be ignored. Natural History 20050401 Londa Schiebinger's ambitious, eminently readable new book focuses on "the long eighteenth century" when botany reigned as queen of the colonial sciences...Hopefully, Schiebinger's intellectual voyage beyond Europe's borders will lead many others to recognize the fundamental importance of knowledge formation--and non-formation--on the colonial "periphery" of the Atlantic World. -- Gregory T. Cushman Journal of the History of Medicine This is a curious book. The heart of it tries to explain why something did not happen...[Schiebinger's] focus is, as she puts it, 'the nontransfer of important bodies of knowledge from the New World into Europe.' It is, then, a study in 'agnotology,' that is, of 'culturally induced ignorances.' The study of things that did not happen and of ignorances does not sound promising, but Schiebinger has written an entertaining book that raises some interesting questions, and for people passionate about the history of fertility control, no doubt, an important book. -- J.R. McNeill H-Net [A] fascinating study...Schiebinger has read widely in the natural-historical and medical literature of the period, and she writes engagingly, bringing to life many of the chief protoganists. This book ought to be essential reading for anyone interested in the relationship between science and empire. -- Mark Harrison American Historical Review 20050601 Plants and Empire presents a subtle and compelling explanation for why knowledge of West Indian abortifacients was not taken up by scientists in Europe. More broadly, Schiebinger illustrates the explanatory power of agnotology. Her study of scientific ignorance demonstrates that understanding what scientists do not know is just as important as understanding what they do know. -- Stuart McCook Science 20050101

Author Biography

Londa Schiebinger is John L. Hinds Professor of History of Science and Barbara D. Finberg Director of the Clayman Institute for Gender Research, Stanford University.