Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist
Look Inside Inventing the Indigenous

Inventing the Indigenous
Local Knowledge and Natural History in Early Modern Europe

$29.99 (G)

  • Author: Alix Cooper, State University of New York, Stony Brook
  • Date Published: January 2010
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521124010

$ 29.99 (G)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an examination copy?

This title is not currently available for examination. However, if you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • In the wake of expanding commercial voyages, many people in early modern Europe became curious about the plants and minerals around them and began to compile catalogs of them. Drawing on cultural, social and environmental history, as well as the histories of science and medicine, this book argues that, amidst a growing reaction against exotic imports -- whether medieval spices like cinnamon or new American arrivals like chocolate and tobacco -- learned physicians began to urge their readers to discover their own "indigenous" natural worlds. In response, compilers of local inventories created numerous ways of itemizing nature, from local floras and regional mineralogies to efforts to write the natural histories of entire territories. Tracing the fate of such efforts, the book provides new insight into the historical trajectory of such key concepts as indigeneity and local knowledge.

    • Examines a series of sources - local floras, regional mineralogies - that have rarely, if ever, been studied before
    • Sheds light on the origins of modern science in early modern Europe
    • Explains how it was that many aspects of the neoteric world (rise of environmental science, inventory of planet's species) came to be
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    "Cooper has produced a succinct and judicious study that contributes much to our understanding of the development of natural history and environmentalism in Europe. It is a powerful reminder of how patriotism and suspicions about the global economy of the day created a movement to study indigenous expressions of nature. But it also shows how such attempts, when entered into dialogue with studies of the larger natural world, led to the appropriation and silencing of the knowledge of local people. It deserves to be widely read."
    -Harold J. Cook, Professor and Director, the Welcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at University College London

    "Finally a book that explains the rich cultural history of the 'indigenous.' Cooper's book is smart, highly readable, and a treasure trove of information for understanding how Early Modern Europeans viewed nature in their own backyard."
    -Londa Schiebinger, John L. Hinds Professor of History of Science, Stanford University, and author of Plants and Empire

    "Alix Cooper[...]adds a wealth of interesting and significant detail by looking at less well known authors and their works, revealing how the lessons of earlier scholarship can be extended to cover other parts of Europe, and other thinkers. The result is a valuable addition to the literature on the development of early modern natural history."
    -John Henry, University of Edinburgh, American Historical Review

    "Cooper's study deserves to be widely read."
    -Christopher Cumo, Canadian Journal of History

    "Cooper's study is invaluable, well informed, and, in making a case for the role of German territories and of learned local physicians in the pursuit of natural history, imaginative and challenging in its focus. It brings to light important sources that would otherwise remain obscure and makes a convincing case for their relevance among the practices of natural knowledge in the early modern era."
    -Bruce T. Moran, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

    "This is a highly stimulating history of the indigenous and local in early modern Europe." -Fredrik Albritton Jonsson, Journal of Modern History

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2010
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521124010
    • length: 236 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.35kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    1. Home and the world: debating indigenous nature
    2. Field and garden: the making of local flora
    3. From rocks to riches: the quest for natural wealth
    4. The nature of the territory
    5. Problems of local knowledge
    Works cited.

  • Author

    Alix Cooper, State University of New York, Stony Brook

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×
warning icon

Turn stock notifications on?

You must be signed in to your Cambridge account to turn product stock notifications on or off.

Sign in Create a Cambridge account arrow icon

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.