Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxiv
  2. Tanja Hammel
    Pages 1-36 Open Access
  3. African Experts and Science in the Cape

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 37-37
    2. Tanja Hammel
      Pages 39-74 Open Access
    3. Tanja Hammel
      Pages 75-99 Open Access
  4. From Providing Data to Forging New Practices and Theories

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 101-101
    2. Tanja Hammel
      Pages 103-146 Open Access
    3. Tanja Hammel
      Pages 147-185 Open Access
    4. Tanja Hammel
      Pages 187-220 Open Access
  5. Negotiating Belonging Through Science

  6. Tanja Hammel
    Pages C1-C2 Open Access
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 347-360

About this book


“Hammel successfully illuminates how the production and circulation of Barber’s work was deeply affected by contemporary attitudes towards gender and race within the colonial context of the nineteenth-century Cape. This fascinating book is destined to become a landmark in the history of science in South Africa.”

Nigel Penn, University of Cape Town, South Africa

“This book is an original study of the contributions of a woman scientist. It is the most detailed study of its kind...The book will make a significant addition to the global literature that examines the colonial and gendered dimensions of the history of science.”

William Beinart, University of Oxford, UK

“Moving seamlessly between biographical, local and international frames, this book provides a fresh look at the global knowledge transformations of the nineteenth century.”

Kirsten McKenzie, University of Sydney, Australia

This book explores the life and work of Mary Elizabeth Barber, a British-born settler scientist who lived in the Cape during the nineteenth century. It provides a lens into a range of subjects within the history of knowledge and science, gender and social history, postcolonial, critical heritage and archival studies. The book examines the international importance of a marginalized scientist, the instrumentalisation of science to settlers' political concerns and reveals the pivotal but largely silenced contribution of indigenous African experts. Including a variety of material, visual and textual sources, this study explores how these artefacts are archived in museums and critically analyses their content and silences. The book traces Barber’s legacy across three continents, offering insights into the politics of memory and history-making. 


Women and science Victorian period South Africa South-North knowledge networks Global South Colonial dispossession Settler colonialism Ornithology Botany Darwinism Entomology Archives and collections Memory and history-making Open Access

Authors and affiliations

  • Tanja Hammel
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of HistoryUniversity of BaselBaselSwitzerland

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2019
  • License CC BY
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-3-030-22638-1
  • Online ISBN 978-3-030-22639-8
  • Buy this book on publisher's site