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Department of History and Philosophy of Science


PhD student

College: St Edmund's
Supervisor: Dániel Margócsy, Simon Schaffer (advisor)
Thesis title: Globalising China: Jesuits, Eurasian Exchanges, and the Early Modern Sciences

Globalising China examines how the Manchu conquest of China transformed the early modern sciences. My project radically reorients common accounts of the history of science by showing that several scientific debates typically deemed “European” originated in China, emerging through East Asian peoples’ interactions with Jesuit missionaries. Focusing on Martino Martini’s eyewitness accounts of interregnum China, I reveal the ways in which Manchu and Chinese scientific and technological knowledge came to be seen as credible and even valuable in Enlightenment Europe.

From September to November 2021, I was a Visiting Predoctoral Fellow in Department III at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, where I led the project "Of Soils and Stars: Jesuit Perceptions of Chinese Agricultural Practices through Calendrical Construction". The project examined how Jesuit missionaries made sense of the historical connections between agriculture and astronomy in late Ming and early Qing China. From March to May 2022, I was a Junior Fellow at the Descartes Centre for the History and Philosophy of the Science and the Humanities at Universiteit Utrecht, where I studied early modern Dutch representations of southern Africa and its inhabitants. In June 2022, I held a Lisa Jardine Grant Award to study the reception of Chinese astronomy at the Royal Society in London.

In October 2023, I will start a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship in the Faculty of History (Cambridge) and the Lumley Junior Research Fellowship at Magdalene College. My postdoctoral project, "Southern Africa and the Early Modern Globalisation of Knowledge," aims to examine how early modern Europeans drew on their knowledge of East Asia to make sense of the unfamiliar at the Cape of Good Hope. Almost every traveller voyaging between Europe and the East Indies spent time at the Cape, where they engaged with the Indigenous Khoekhoen, enslaved Malays, and European settlers, producing new, hybrid knowledges in the process. The project seeks to understand how new knowledge was produced through a triangular Asian-African-European arrangement.




Peer-reviewed journal articles

"Oriental Chronology: Chinese Astronomy and the Politics of Antiquity in Eighteenth-Century Britain," Isis 115 (2024)

"Interesting and Uninteresting Unknowns: Mapping Southern Africa in the Seventeenth Century," Journal for the History of Knowledge 5 (2024)

"Crises and the history of science: a materialist rehabilitation" (with Rory Kent), British Journal for the History of Science: Themes 9 (2024)

"Astronomical Chronology, the Jesuit China Mission, and Enlightenment History," Journal of the History of Ideas 84.3 (2023), 487-510

"Racial Capitalism in Voltaire's Enlightenment," History Workshop Journal, 94 (2022), 22-41

"Rethinking the Rites Controversy: Kilian Stumpf's Acta Pekinensia and the Historical Dimensions of a Religious Quarrel," Modern Intellectual History, 19.1 (2022), 29-53

"Galenizing the New World: Joseph-François Lafitau's "Galenization" of Canadian Ginseng, ca 1716-1724," Notes and Records: The Royal Society journal of the history of science, 75.1 (2021), 59-72

Peer-reviewed book chapters

"Global History of Science" (with James Poskett), in Lukas M. Verburgt ed., Debating Contemporary Approaches to the History of Science (London: Bloomsbury, 2024)

"Chinese Heavens in European Literature, c. 1650-1700," in Florian Klaeger and Dirk Vanderbeke eds., Writing the Heavens: Celestial Observations in Literature, 800-1800 (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2024)


"Starry Messengers," (with Dániel Margócsy) Isis, 113.1 (2022), 162-164

"William Beinart and Saul Dubow, The Scientific Imagination in South Africa: 1700 to the present. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021. pp. 406. ISBN 978-1-1089-3819-8. £64.99 (hardback)," British Journal for the History of Science, 57.1 (2022), 121-122

"Translation at Work: Chinese Medicine in the First Global Age, by Harold J. Cook, ed.," Nuncius, 37.1 (2022), 231-233

"Pratik Chakrabarti, Inscriptions of Nature: Geology and the Naturalization of Antiquity Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2020. Pp. 280. ISBN: 987-1-4214-3874-0. $54.95 (hardback)," The British Journal for the History of Science, 54.1 (2021), 118-120

Public Engagement

"Early modern racialisation in Southern Africa," Medicine and the Making of Race Blog, September 2023

"Globalizing China or Sinicizing the Global? On Alexander Statman's "A Global Enlightenment" and Ali Humayun Akhtar's "1368"," Los Angeles Review of Books, September 2023

"Broadly Speaking: An Interview with Gianamar Giovannetti-Singh," (interview by Alexander Collin), Journal of the History of Ideas Blog, August 2023

"Crush the Despicable!: Voltaire's Enlightened Racism," History Workshop Online, November 2022

"Empire of Learning," Royal Society Blog, November 2022

"The Heavenly Politics of History in Early Modern Eurasia," Journal of the History of Ideas Blog, September 2022

"Hidden Figures: The Erasure of Scientific Labour and the Hope of Decolonisation" (with Rory Kent and Swathi Manivannan), BlueSci FOCUS Article, Michaelmas 2021, pp. 16-21



I have supervised: HPS Part II Paper 1: "Early Modern Natural Knowledge" and "Early Medicine," "Early Chinese Medicine," "Visual and Material Culture," and "Early Modern and Enlightenment Medicine and Natural History" (2022-23, 2020-21); HPS Part II Paper 2: "Modern Science and Technology in East Asia" (2021-22) 

At Utrecht, I delivered two invited undergraduate guest lectures: 'Racial Capitalism in Voltaire's Enlightenment: The Intellectual Origins of Race and Racism in Western Europe,' for Dr. Rachel Gillett, and 'The Needham Question: Globalising China,' for Dr. F. D. A. Wegener.

I also gave an invited lecture on 'The Global Origins of the Sciences' for University of Cambridge HE+ Outreach Program, designed to introduce university topics to sixth-form students.

Selected Talks and Presentations

'Globalising China: Jesuits, Eurasian Exchanges, and the Early Modern Sciences', HPS@50HPS Department, University of Cambridge, July 2023. Watch here

'Jesuits and the Globalisation of Asian Sciences in Southern Africa' in "Jesuit Sciences in the Southern Seas" (session co-organiser), Scientiae, June 2023, Prague, Czechia; in "Appropriation and Erasure: South Africa in the History of Science" (session co-organiser), BSHS Digital Festival, July 2023. Watch here

'Soils, Stars, and Statecraft: Cosmological Conceptions of Agriculture in China and Europe, ca. 1600-1789', at the British Society for the History of Science Annual Conference, July 2022, the Queen's University, Belfast, Northern Ireland; the 10th European Society for the History of Science Conference: Science Policy and the Politics of Science, September 2022, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium; History of Science Society Annual Meeting, November 2022, Chicago, USA

Invited speaker, 'The History of Science and the 'Big Picture''Global History and Culture Centre Annual Conference (organised by James Poskett), University of Warwick, June 2022. Watch here

'Contrasting Cartographies of the Cape Colony, ca 1650-1800', at Mapping Uncertainty. Early Modern Global Cartography, 21st Century Discussions (organised by Djoeke Van Netten), Koninklijk Nederlands Instituut Rome, Rome, Italy, May 2022

Credibility in Circulation (session organiser) at the History of Science Society Virtual Forum 2020, October 2020

'Monuments, hermeneutics, or astronomy? The Jesuit China mission and the invention of "philosophical history"' at the BSHS Global Digital History of Science Festival, July 2020; "Writing the Heavens" — Celestial Observations in Literature, 800-1800, October 2021, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen, Germany

'Galenising the New World' at the British Society for the History of Science Twitter Conference #BSHSGlobalHist, February 2020

'Pas si candide, M. Voltaire: an examination of the Ezourvedam's role in shaping theories of human genesis, 1760-1799' at the 14th Forum: Literature and Science History, July 2019, Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Berlin, Germany


Other Professional Affiliations

Visiting Predoctoral Fellowship, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, Germany, Michaelmas Term 2021

Junior Fellow, Descartes Centre, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands, Easter Term 2022

Associate Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, elected July 2023


Awards and Prizes

Shortlisted for the BBC AHRC New Generation Thinkers Award 2023

Ri Freer Prize Fellow, the Royal Institution, 2022-23

Lisa Jardine Grant, the Royal Society, 2021

Jacob Bronowski Prize for Part II History and Philosophy of Science, 2018

Bateman Scholarship, Trinity Hall, 2018

School of Humanities and Social Sciences PhD Studentship

global history
early modern history
science in a global context
Chinese-European cultural exchange
postcolonial history
South African history