I am a historian of science, empire, geography and environment. I am currently an Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of History, University College Dublin. In September and October 2022, I will be a Richard L. Purdy Memorial Fellow at the Beinecke Library, Yale University before joining LMU Munich with an MSCA/Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship. I completed my PhD in History at the University of Cambridge in 2020.
My first book, Science on the Roof of the World: Empire and the Remaking of the Himalaya, was published by Cambridge University Press in May 2022.
You can read a summary of my research on science, empire, indigenous labour and how altitude became the category that defines mountains in “Why does Everest Matter?”, an essay published by Himal Southasian in August 2022.
I have previously published parts of my research – on scientific instruments and altitude sickness – in the journals History of Science and Itinerario. I also recently published an article on war, violence and natural history collecting in Afghanistan in the journal Notes and Records.
My research on the Himalaya was featured on the University of Cambridge homepage. You can read more about it here: “Pride & Prejudice at High Altitude.”
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