Sex, Botany, and Empire by Patricia Fara

As Heard on The Daily Gardener Podcast:

Copy of Grow That #Garden Library (3)

Today's book recommendation: Sex, Botany, and Empire: The Story of Carl Linnaeus and Joseph Banks by Patricia Fara
Fara said,

"Banks provided a marvelous illustration of how science and the British Empire grew rich and powerful together."

Fara reveals how Enlightenment botany, under the veil of rationality, manifested a drive to conquer, subdue, and deflower―all in the name of British empire.
Linnaeus trained his traveling disciples in a double mission―to bring back specimens for the benefit of the Swedish economy and to spread the gospel of Linnaean taxonomy.

Based in London at the hub of an international exchange and correspondence network, Banks ensured that Linnaeus's ideas became established throughout the world. As the president of the Royal Society for more than forty years, Banks revolutionized British science, and his innovations placed science at the heart of trade and politics. He made it a policy to collect and control resources not only for the sake of knowledge but also for the advancement of the empire.

Although Linnaeus is often celebrated as modern botany's true founder, Banks has had a greater long-term impact.

It was Banks who ensured that science and imperialism flourished together, and it was he who first forged the interdependent relationship between scientific inquiry and the state that endures to this day.


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