About

I am a historian of science, empire and geography. I am currently an Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of History, University College Dublin. I joined UCD following the completion of my PhD at the University of Cambridge, where I was a Cambridge Trust Scholar.

I have published parts of my research – on scientific instruments and altitude sickness – in the journals History of Science and Itinerario. I have also published an article on war, violence and natural history collecting in Afghanistan in the journal Notes and Records. I am currently completing a book on the role of global comparison in early scientific and imperial understandings of the Himalaya.

My research was recently featured on the University of Cambridge homepage. You can read more about it here: “Pride & Prejudice at High Altitude” (or in Spanish here).


More broadly, I am interested in developing new methodologies for using geographical features like mountains and deserts as sites and scales for global histories. Following from this, my current postdoctoral project traces contested ideas of the ‘Habitable Globe’ across Central Asia, Persia and Arabia in the nineteenth century.


“The Snowy Range from Tyne or Marma,” from George Francis White’s Views in India (1838). This is a typically romanticised image of Himalayan exploration, centred on a European traveller gazing heroically out to the mountains through a telescope. However, the Bhotiya porters in the foreground reveal the way he depended heavily on local expertise and labour.

Header Image: www.davidrumsey.com