[New Book] Natural Things in Early Modern Worlds

Editors: Mackenzie Cooley (Hamilton College), Anna Toledano (Stanford University), Duygu Yıldırım (University of Tennessee, Knoxville)

Publisher: Routledge, 2023

The essays and original visualizations collected in Natural Things in Early Modern Worlds explore the relationships among natural things – ranging from pollen in a gust of wind to a carnivorous pitcher plant to a shell-like skinned armadillo – and the humans enthralled with them.

Episodes from 1500 to the early 1900s reveal connected histories across early modern worlds as natural things traveled across the Indian Ocean, the Ottoman Empire, Pacific islands, Southeast Asia, the Spanish Empire, and Western Europe. In distant worlds that were constantly changing with expanding networks of trade, colonial aspirations, and the rise of empiricism, natural things obtained new meanings and became alienated from their origins. Tracing the processes of their displacement, each chapter starts with a piece of original artwork that relies on digital collage to pull image sources out of place and to represent meanings that natural things lost and remade.


Introduction: Natural Things in Early Modern Worlds – Mackenzie Cooley, Anna Toledano, and Duygu Yıldırım

On the Design – Zoë Sadokierski & Katie Dean

1. Pollen: The Sexual Life of Plants in Mesoamerica – Helen Burgos-Ellis

2. Bezoar: Medicine in the Belly of the Beast – Mackenzie Cooley

3. Canal: Cross-Cultural Encounters and Control of Water – Alexander Statman

4. Ambergris: From Sea to Scent in Renaissance Italy – Mackenzie Cooley & Kathryn Biedermann

5. Squid: Natural History as Food History – Whitney Barlow Robles

6. Coffee: Of Melancholic Turkish Bodies and Sensory Experiences – Duygu Yıldırım

7. Manchineel: Power, Pain, and Knowledge in the Lesser Antilles – Thomas C. Anderson

8. Pitcher Plant: Drowning in her Sweet Nectar – Elaine Ayers

9. Leaf: The Materiality of Early Modern Herbals – Julia Heideklang

10. Armadillo: An Animal in Search of a Place – Florencia Pierri

11. Bird: Living Names of Félix de Azara’s Lost Collection – Anna Toledano

12. Brain: Objecthood, Subjecthood, and the Genius of Gauss – Nicolaas Rupke

Epilogue: Nature’s Narratives – Paula Findlen

Afterword: The Disorder of Things – Alan Mikhail

Source: https://www.routledge.com/Natural-Things-in-Early-Modern-Worlds/Cooley-Toledano-Yildirim/p/book/9781032397207