Surekha Davies

Warner Hall 225a
Office Phone: 203-837-3912



Cambridge University Press site for Renaissance Ethnography and the Invention of the Human:


PhD in Combined Historical Studies, Warburg Institute, University of London, 2009
M.Phil in History and Philosophy of Science, Cambridge University, 1997
BA (Hons.) (Cantab.) History and Philosophy of Science, Robinson College, Cambridge University, 1996

Renaissance and early modern Europe 
Science, medicine and technology
Empire and cultural encounters
Travel and exploration
Witchcraft and society
History of cartography
History of knowledge


Surekha Davies is a cultural historian and historian of science. Her interests include exploration, observational sciences, monstrosity and the history of mentalities c.1400–1800. Formerly a British Library Curator and a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, she is a founding editor of the book series Maps, Spaces, Cultures (Brill). She has held fellowships at the John Carter Brown Library, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Library of Congress and the Newberry Library. Her research has also been funded by the American Historical Association and the American Philosophical Society.


Selected Publications

Collecting Technology in the Age of Empire: Global Encounters and the Transformation of Nature (in progress).
2016    Renaissance Ethnography and the Invention of the Human: New Worlds, Maps and
Monsters – in production with Cambridge University Press; publication Spring 2016.

Guest-edited journals
2014    Science, New Worlds and the Classical Tradition, 1450-1850, special double issue,
Journal of Early Modern History, 18:1-2.
2012    Encounters, Ethnography and Ethnology: Continuities and Ruptures,
            special issue, History and Anthropology, 23:2, co-edited with Neil L. Whitehead.

Articles in peer-reviewed journals
2014    ‘Science, New Worlds and the Classical Tradition: An Introduction’,
Journal of Early Modern History, 18:1, 1-13.
2012    ‘Depictions of Brazilians on French Maps, 1542-1555’, The Historical Journal,
            55:2, 217-48.
2012‘The Wondrous East in the Renaissance Geographical Imagination: Marco Polo,
            Fra Mauro and Giovanni Battista Ramusio’, History and Anthropology, 23:2, 215-34.
2012    ‘From Maps to Mummy-Curses: Rethinking Encounters, Ethnography and Ethnology’ (with Neil L. Whitehead), History and Anthropology, 23:2, 173-82.
2011    ‘America and Amerindians in Sebastian Münster’s Cosmographiae universalis libri VI,
1550’, Renaissance Studies, 25:3, 351-73.

2003    ‘The Navigational Iconography of Diogo Ribeiro’s 1529 Vatican Planisphere’,
            Imago Mundi: The International Journal for the History of Cartography,55, 103-112.

2001    ‘Agency and Awareness in Cross-Cultural Encounters’, Terrae Incognitae: Journal of the
            Society for the History of Discoveries
, 34, 1-16.

Chapters in edited books
2012    ‘The Unlucky, the Bad and the Ugly: Categories of Monstrosity from the
            Renaissance to the Enlightenment’, Ashgate Research Companion to Monsters and the Monstrous,ed. Asa Simon Mittman with Peter Dendle (Farnham & Burlington, VT),
2012    ‘L’Iconographie des nouveau mondes’, transl. Laurent Bury, inL’âge d’or des cartes
marines - Quand l’Europe découvrait le monde
, ed. C. Hofmann et al. (Paris), 160-71.

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