Inventing the Indigenous: Local Knowledge and Natural History in Early Modern Europe
By: Alix Cooper (author)Paperback
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In the wake of expanding commercial voyages, many people in early modern Europe became curious about the plants and minerals around them and began to compile catalogues of them. Drawing on cultural, social and environmental history, as well as the histories of science and medicine, this book argues that, amidst a growing reaction against exotic imports - whether medieval spices like cinnamon or new American arrivals like chocolate and tobacco - learned physicians began to urge their readers to discover their own 'indigenous' natural worlds. In response, compilers of local inventories created numerous ways of itemising nature, from local floras and regional mineralogies to efforts to write the natural histories of entire territories. Tracing the fate of such efforts, the book provides insight into the historical trajectory of such key concepts as indigeneity and local knowledge.
Alix Cooper is Assistant Professor of History at Stony Brook University, where she teaches early modern European history and the histories of science, medicine, and the environment.
Acknowledgements; List of illustrations; Introduction; 1. Home and the world: debating indigenous nature; 2. Field and garden: the making of local flora; 3. From rocks to riches: the quest for natural wealth; 4. The nature of the territory; 5. Problems of local knowledge; Conclusion; Works cited.
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- ID: 9780521124010
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