I am a Freer Prize Fellow of the Royal Institution and the incoming Lumley Junior Research Fellow in History at Magdalene College, Cambridge and a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow in the Faculty of History, University of Cambridge (2023-26).
In 2023, I completed my PhD, titled 'Globalising China: Jesuits, Eurasian Exchanges, and the Early Modern Sciences', in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge. The dissertation reveals how the Manchu conquest of China in 1644 transformed the sciences across Europe. It reorients common accounts of the history of science by showing that several scientific debates typically deemed 'European' originated in China, emerging through local peoples’ interactions with Jesuit missionaries. Focusing on the Jesuit Martino Martini’s writings, my PhD explains how Chinese cultures of knowledge became valuable intellectual and political resources in early modern Europe.
My postdoctoral project, 'Southern Africa and the Early Modern Globalization of Knowledge', supported by a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship, instead, aims to examine how early modern Europeans drew on their knowledge of East Asia to make sense of the unfamiliar at the Cape of Good Hope. Almost every traveller voyaging between Europe and the East Indies spent time at the Cape, where they engaged with the Indigenous Khoekhoen, enslaved Malays, and European settlers, producing new, hybrid knowledges in the process. The project seeks to understand how new knowledge was produced through a triangular Asian-African-European arrangement.
In Autumn 2021, I was a Visiting Predoctoral Fellow in Department III at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, where I led the project 'Of Soils and Stars: Jesuit Perceptions of Chinese Agricultural Practices through Calendrical Construction'. The project examined how Jesuit missionaries made sense of the historical connections between agriculture and astronomy in late Ming and early Qing China. In Spring 2022, I was a Junior Fellow at the Descartes Centre for the History and Philosophy of the Science and the Humanities at Universiteit Utrecht, where I studied early modern Dutch representations of southern Africa and its inhabitants. In June 2022, I won a Lisa Jardine Grant Award to study the reception of Chinese astronomy at the Royal Society in London.
I am passionate about decolonising research and pedagogy in the history of science and provincialising European contributions to 'science' and 'modernity'. My research interests include cultural and intellectual histories of colonial encounters, the Jesuit China mission, history of natural history, history of scholarship, histories of race, science and empire studies, and the sociology of scientific knowledge.
Research trip to the Archivio de Propaganda Fide in December 2019
Biblioteca Casanatense, December 2019
The Imperial Astronomical Bureau of Beijing, taken from the French Jesuit Louis Le Comte's (1655-1728) Memoirs and observations topographical, physical, mathematical, mechanical, natural, civil, and ecclesiastical (London: 1698).
I can be contacted by email at gg410[at]cam.ac.uk (replace [at] with @)