University of Oulu

Kananoja, K. (2021). Local environmental knowledge, cultural go-betweens and Linnaean scientists in the Dutch colonial world. In In Pursuit of Healthy Environments (pp. 157–175). Routledge.

Local environmental knowledge, cultural go-betweens and Linnaean scientists in the Dutch colonial world

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Author: Kananoja, Kalle1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Routledge, 2021
Publish Date: 2022-05-13


The aim of early modern natural historians was a universal system of classification encompassing the natural resources of the whole world. The only feasible way to write global natural histories was through networks of collectors. The creation of the Linnaean Taxonomic system was achieved through a knowledge network that included correspondents and field workers sent out to explore the natural resources of different parts of the world. Although historians of science have remarked on Linnaeus’ and his students’ proclivity to rely on local knowledge and adopt its elements, for the most part this historiography is a celebration of European conquest over nature. This chapter examines how Linnaeus and his disciples set out to solve these disparities by silencing dissonant voices in the writing of global natural history. Yet, they could not camouflage the crucial role of cultural go-betweens in providing local environmental and medical knowledge to scientists, who were essentially outsiders in the multiple spaces of natural historical investigation.

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ISBN: 978-0-367-25909-9
ISBN Print: 978-0-367-25905-1
Pages: 157 - 175
DOI: 10.4324/9780367259099-13
Host publication: In pursuit of healthy environments : historical cases on the environment-health nexus
Host publication editor: Ruuskanen, Esa
Hakosalo, Heini
Type of Publication: A3 Book chapter
Field of Science: 615 History and archaeology
Copyright information: © 2021 The Author. This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in In Pursuit of Healthy Environments on 13 November 2020, available online: