I am currently completing my monograph, Cultivating Commerce: Connoisseurship, Botany and the Plant Trade in France and Britain, c. 1760 - c. 1815
My book situates Enlightenment botany within the contexts of contemporary commercial culture and interantional networks of knowledge formation. It assesses the connections between scholars, merchants and consumers in London and Paris between c. 1760 and c. 1815. I ask how individuals who profited financially from selling the commodities associated with science understood and related to the notion of a community of scientific practitioners. Working at the interface between science and commerce, I expose the diversity of socio-intellectual configurations that existed in the late eighteenth century.
Collaborative research: The Cultural Production of Natural Knowledge
I am also working on an interdisciplinary project with Dr Emily Senior (Birkbeck), about the cultural production of natural knowledge.
We seek to better understand the relationship between the aesthetic production and social circulation of knowledge about the natural world in the eighteenth century. The project aims to connect literary, visual and discursive forms of analysis with approaches current within social history, in order to interrogate the relationship between social participation in science and the aesthetic and cultural forms of its making.
The project was launched via a workshop held at the Institute of Advanced Study, University of Warwick in 2010, and we are currently completing an edited collection which responds to the questions and themes raised at this workshop. We will convene a conference on "Aesthetic Enlightenments" at the Huntington Library, California in January 2014.