Science and Colonial Expansion

The Role of the British Royal Botanic Gardens

Lucile H. Brockway

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This widely acclaimed book analyzes the political effects of scientific research as exemplified by one field, economic botany, during one epoch, the nineteenth century, when Great Britain was the world’s most powerful nation. Lucile Brockway examines how the British botanic garden network developed and transferred economically important plants to different parts of the world to promote the prosperity of the Empire.

In this classic work, available once again after many years out of print, Brockway examines in detail three cases in which British scientists transferred important crop plants—cinchona (a source of quinine), rubber and sisal—to new continents. Weaving together botanical, historical, economic, political, and ethnographic findings, the author illuminates the remarkable social role of botany and the entwined relation between science and politics in an imperial era.

The late Lucile H. Brockway received her doctoral degree in anthropology from the City University of New York.

“This exploration of botany in the service of colonialism is both fascinating and worthwhile. Brockway’s book remains an example of clarity and grace.”—Jane Schneider, Graduate Center, City University of New York

ISBN: 9780300091434
Publication Date: September 10, 2002
232 pages, 6 x 9
8 b/w illus.