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Abstract

This paper considers the eighteenth-century ‘voyages of discovery’ to the Americas within the framework of colonial history and the development of modern scientific practice and method. It uses a feminist methodological approach toward concepts of natural knowledge and knowledge production. The essay looks specifically at knowledges of particular plants from the Caribbean and their properties, focusing on one plant still used for fertility throughout the region. I investigate the centrality of Caribbean natural knowledge to the development of differing historical perspectives on nature as well as the relationship between the development of European botanical sciences and natural knowledge in the Americas.

Note on the Author

Rachel O’Donnell is a doctoral candidate in Political Science at York University, Toronto and a fellow and researcher at the Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean. Her ongoing work is on feminist critiques of science, colonialism, and biotechnology. She has previously published on Sor Juana de La Cruz, revolutionary movements, and migration.

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