Surekha Davies studied History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge. She obtained her PhD from the Warburg Institute, University of London (2009) for a dissertation on representations of peoples of the Americas on early modern maps. She has held fellowships at the John Carter Brown Library, the Library of Congress, the Folger Library, and the Newberry Library. She was a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at Birkbeck College, University of London, and is currently an Assistant Professor at Western Connecticut State University.
Surekha’s current project, Collecting Artifacts in the Age of Empire, examines travel and geographical literature, inventories, artifacts, and archives in order to understand how European travelers, collectors, and scholars described, classified and organized overseas artifacts, and how they attempted to distinguish them from the relics of Europe’s own past. It argues that collections were forms of cultural memory that imagined communities, ideas of civilized and barbarous societies, and, eventually, “modern” citizens and “indigenous” peoples. Surekha will be working on this book project at the MPIWG. She will also be a member of the Art of Judgment Working Group in Department III.
Surekha is the author of Renaissance Ethnography and the Invention of the Human: New Worlds, Maps and Monsters (Cambridge University Press, 2016). Her articles have appeared in, for example, The Historical Journal, Journal of Early Modern History, History and Anthropology, and Renaissance Studies. She is a founding editor of the book series Maps, Spaces, Cultures, and is on the editorial advisory board of the book series Monsters, Prodigies, and Demons: Medieval and Early Modern Constructions of Alterity. During 2017–8, she will be a Mellon Longterm Fellow at the Folger Library. You can find out more about her work at www.surekhadavies.org