Knowledge Production in Natural History between Southeast Asia and the Low Countries


  • Maria-Theresia Leuker University of Cologne
  • Charlotte Kießling University of Cologne
  • Anjana Singh University of Groningen



knowledge production, history of science, natural history, colonial networks, print media


Books such as Het Amboinsche Kruid-boek by Georgius Everhardus Rumphius and Oud en Nieuw Oost-Indiën by François Valentyn were pivotal works in the early modern world that contributed to natural-historical knowledge production. Post-colonial historiography has stressed the role of non-European actors in the process of creating knowledge on nature in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Research on spaces of knowledge creation, actors, networks, and mediality have received attention in recent historiography. Individual initiatives and cross-cultural contacts and networks facilitated dissemination of knowledge. This is particularly true for knowledge from the colonies that travelled long distances. The East India companies provided a conduit for the movement of people, books, plants, and animals between Asia and the Low Countries. Knowledge depended on the media of its representation that were often subject to change. Print media played an important role in the preservation and circulation of knowledge. By re-reading the texts of Rumphius and Valentyn through post-colonial perspectives and through new archival research, the articles of this special issue shed new light on networks, actors, spaces, and modes of representation in knowledge production in the early modern world.


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How to Cite

Leuker, M.-T., Kießling, C., & Singh, A. (2019). Knowledge Production in Natural History between Southeast Asia and the Low Countries. Early Modern Low Countries, 3(2), 172–182.