Minakshi Menon

Visiting Scholar
Visiting Scholars are established scholars, as evidenced by significant publications and broad academic experience, spending a fixed term as guests at the MPIWG for research purposes. They may be externally funded or receive a Research Fellowship from the MPIWG.
Department II
PhD
Residence:
September 1, 2017 to August 31, 2018
Profile

I am working on a book manuscript, which explores the natural knowledge-making strategies of British savants in eighteenth and nineteenth century colonial India. In it I argue that colonial natural history was a hybrid way of knowing that brought together different types of knowledge, European and indigenous, in the service of the English East India Company state; and that it was knowledge directed to specific contexts of use without necessarily affecting natural knowledge making in Britain.

I have also begun research on a second project on the role of the Calcutta Botanic Garden in the making of the Indian Ocean World environment. This project tests three interlinked theses: (i) that the Garden played a central role in shaping the environmental changes brought about in the IOW under British imperialism; (ii) that such changes were related to efforts to stabilize the British Empire at a moment when Caribbean sugar plantations were under threat from the revolution in Saint Domingue (1790s) and strong abolitionist sentiment at home; (iii) that botanical and agronomical research at the Garden was also simultaneously an effort to embed the Company state in its Indian milieu.

Forthcoming Publications:

Medicine, Money and the Making of the East India Company State: William Roxburgh in Madras, c. 1790, in Anna Elizabeth Winterbottom & Facil Tesfaye (eds.) Histories of Medicine in the Indian Ocean World, Palgrave MacMillan, 2015

Scottish Enlightenment Travels: Francis Buchanan in South India, in Jean-François Dunyach & Richard B. Sher (eds.) Scots and Empire in the Long Eighteenth Century: Enlightenment and Imperialism, Bucknell University Press, 2015

Presentations
16/10/2014
Eighteenth Century Scottish Studies Society, Annual Meeting
Surveying the State: Francis Buchanan’s A Journey from Madras through the countries of Mysore, Canara, and Malabar (1807)
10/9/2013
International Conference: The European Impact on the Indian Ocean World, Indian Ocean World Centre, McGill University
Natural Knowledge and the Making of Madras, c. 1680-1790 (with Anna Elizabeth Winterbottom)
26/04/2013
International Conference: Histories of Medicine in the Indian Ocean World, Indian Ocean World Center, McGill University
Medicine, Money and the Making of the East India Company State, c. 1790: William Roxburgh at Madras
18/12/2012
History of Science Society Annual Meeting, San Diego
Surveying the State: Francis Buchanan’s A Journey from Madras through the countries of Mysore, Canara, and Malabar (1807)
15/04/2011
McGill University, History and Philosophy of Science Colloquium
Orientalism, Language and Botanical Knowledge-Making: William Jones in Bengal, 1784-1794

Contact

Max Planck Institute for the History of Science 
Boltzmannstraße 22 
14195 Berlin 
Germany