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Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
April 2024
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Book description

This rich, deeply researched study offers the first comprehensive exploration of cross-cultural plant knowledge in eighteenth-century Mauritius. Using the concept of creolisation – the process by which elements of different cultures are brought together to create entangled and evolving new entities – Brixius examines the production of knowledge on an island without long-established traditions of botany as understood by Europeans. Once foreign plants and knowledge arrived in Mauritius, they were adapted to new environmental circumstances and a new socio-cultural space. Brixius explores how French colonists, settlers, mediators, labourers and enslaved people experienced and shaped the island's botanical past, centring the contributions of subaltern actors. By foregrounding neglected non-European actors from both Africa and Asia, within a melting pot of cultivation traditions from around the world, she presents a truly global history of botanical knowledge.

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