Empires of Knowledge : Scientific Networks in the Early Modern World book cover
1st Edition

Empires of Knowledge
Scientific Networks in the Early Modern World

ISBN 9781138207134
Published November 1, 2018 by Routledge
394 Pages - 44 B/W Illustrations

SAVE ~ $8.59
was $42.95
USD $34.36

Prices & shipping based on shipping country

Book Description

Empires of Knowledge charts the emergence of different kinds of scientific networks – local and long-distance, informal and institutional, religious and secular – as one of the important phenomena of the early modern world. It seeks to answer questions about what role these networks played in making knowledge, how information traveled, how it was transformed by travel, and who the brokers of this world were.

Bringing together an international group of historians of science and medicine, this book looks at the changing relationship between knowledge and community in the early modern period through case studies connecting Europe, Asia, the Ottoman Empire, and the Americas. It explores a landscape of understanding (and misunderstanding) nature through examinations of well-known intelligencers such as overseas missions, trading companies, and empires while incorporating more recent scholarship on the many less prominent go-betweens, such as translators and local experts, which made these networks of knowledge vibrant and truly global institutions.

Empires of Knowledge is the perfect introduction to the global history of early modern science and medicine.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Early modern scientific networks: knowledge and community in a globalizing world, 1500–1800 (Paula Findlen)

Part I: Brokers of knowledge

Chapter 1: A scholarly intermediary between the Ottoman Empire and Renaissance Europe (Robert Morrison)

Chapter 2: How information travels: Jesuit networks, scientific knowledge, and the early modern Republic of Letters, 1540–1640 (Paula Findlen)

Chapter 3: Deciphering the Ignatian Tree: the Catholic Horoscope of the Society of Jesus (Marcelo Aranda)

Chapter 4: The early modern information factory: how Samuel Hartlib turned correspondence into knowledge (Carol Pal)

Part II: Configuring scientific networks

Chapter 5: Letters and questionnaires: the correspondence of Henry Oldenburg and the early Royal Society of London’s Inquiries for Natural History (Iordan Avramov)

Chapter 6: Ingenuous investigators: Antonio Vallisneri’s regional network and the making of natural knowledge in eighteenth-century Italy (Ivano Dal Prete)

Chapter 7: Corresponding in war and peace: the challenge of rebooting Anglo-French scientific relations during the Peace of Amiens (Elise Lipkowitz)

Part III: How knowledge travels

Chapter 8: Giant bones and the Taunton Stone: American antiquities, world history, and the Protestant International (Lydia Barnett)

Chapter 9: The tarot of Yu the Great: the search for civilization’s origins between France and China in the Age of Enlightenment (Alexander Statman)

Chapter 10: Spaces of circulation and empires of knowledge: ethnolinguistics and cartography in early colonial India (Kapil Raj)

Part IV: The local and the global

Chapter 11: Recentering centers of calculation: reconfiguring knowledge networks within global empires of trade (Matthew Sargent)

Chapter 12: The Atlantic World medical complex (Londa Schiebinger)

Epilogue: Scientific networks reconsidered

Chapter 14: Following ghosts: skinning science in early modern Eurasia (Carla Nappi)

Chapter 15: Conceptualizing knowledge networks: agents and patterns of "flow" (Rachel Midura)

Chapter 16: Afterword (Harold J. Cook)

View More



Paula Findlen is Ubaldo Pierotti Professor of Italian History at Stanford University, USA. Her research focuses on science and culture in early modern Italy. She is the 2016 recipient of the Premio Galileo. Recent publications include Early Modern Things: Objects and Their Histories, 1500–1800.