Plants and Empire Colonial Bioprospecting in the Atlantic World

ISBN-10: 0674025687
ISBN-13: 9780674025684
Edition: 2004
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Description: Plants seldom figure in the grand narratives of war, peace, or even everyday life yet they are often at the center of high intrigue. In the eighteenth century, epic scientific voyages were sponsored by European imperial powers to explore the natural  More...

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Book details

Copyright year: 2004
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publication date: 9/15/2007
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 320
Size: 5.75" wide x 9.00" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.342
Language: English

Plants seldom figure in the grand narratives of war, peace, or even everyday life yet they are often at the center of high intrigue. In the eighteenth century, epic scientific voyages were sponsored by European imperial powers to explore the natural riches of the New World, and uncover the botanical secrets of its people. Bioprospectors brought back medicines, luxuries, and staples for their king and country. Risking their lives to discover exotic plants, these daredevil explorers joined with their sponsors to create a global culture of botany. But some secrets were unearthed only to be lost again. In this moving account of the abuses of indigenous Caribbean people and African slaves, Schiebinger describes how slave women brewed the "peacock flower" into an abortifacient, to ensure that they would bear no children into oppression. Yet, impeded by trade winds of prevailing opinion, knowledge of West Indian abortifacients never flowed into Europe. A rich history of discovery and loss, Plants and Empire explores the movement, triumph, and extinction of knowledge in the course of encounters between Europeans and the Caribbean populations.

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.

Acknowledgments
Introduction
""The Base for All Economics"" Plan of the Book
Voyaging Out Botanistes Voyageurs Maria Sibylla Merian Biopirates Who Owns Nature?
Voyaging Botanical Assistants Creole Naturalists and Long-Term Residents Armchair Botanists
The Search for the Amazons Heroic Narratives
Bioprospecting Drug Prospecting in the West Indies
Biocontact Zones Secrets and Monopolies Drug Prospecting at Home Brokers of International Knowledge
Exotic Abortifacients Merian's Peacoc

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