Daily Archives: September 17, 2021

Slavery in the Age of Revolution exhibition | Balliol College, University of Oxford

11 September 2021 and other dates until 10 December

Balliol Historic Collections Centre, St Cross Road, Oxford OX1 3TP

Slavery in the Age of Revolution examines the Transatlantic Slave Trade at the turbulent end of the 18th century through the lens of Balliol College’s collections.

Taking the long view from 15th-century encounters between established African societies and emerging European nation states to the legacies of Transatlantic slavery in our present, it foregrounds narratives of resistance to slavery and the voices of enslaved people, as well as exploring how slavery was viewed by those consuming its products in Europe.

The exhibition is co-curated by Professor Marisa Fuentes (Associate Professor in History at Rutgers University and Oliver Smithies Visiting Fellow at Balliol 2019/2020), Dr Sudhir Hazareesingh (CUF Lecturer in Politics and Tutorial Fellow in Politics), Aishah Olubaji (Library team), Professor Seamus Perry (Massey Fellow and Tutor in English) and Naomi Tiley (Library team).

Opening times:

Saturday 11 September 11.00am-4.00pm
Sunday 12 September 11.00am-4-00pm
Wednesday 22 September 3.00-7.00pm
Thursday 30 September 11.00am-4.00pm
Tuesday 19 October 3.00-7.00pm
Friday 29 October 11.00am-4.00pm
Monday 15 November 11.00am-4.00pm
Saturday 27 November 11.00am-4.00pm

Open to the public on other weekdays by appointment until Friday 10 December. Please email library to arrange an appointment and with any questions. Here is information about getting to the Historic Collections Centre.

An exhibition catalogue is available as a PDF below (or a higher-resolution PDF for download). Physical copies of the catalogue will be available for sale at the exhibition for £5, payment by cash only.

See related:

The Frigid Golden Age: Climate Change, the Little Ice Age, and the Dutch Republic, 1560–1720 (Studies in Environment and History) Dagomar Degroot

Dagomar Degroot offers the first detailed analysis of how a society thrived amid the Little Ice Age, a period of climatic cooling that reached its chilliest point between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. The precocious economy, unusual environment, and dynamic intellectual culture of the Dutch Republic in its seventeenth-century Golden Age allowed it to thrive as neighboring societies unraveled in the face of extremes in temperature and precipitation. By tracing the occasionally counterintuitive manifestations of climate change from global to local scales, Degroot finds that the Little Ice Age presented not only challenges for Dutch citizens but also opportunities that they aggressively exploited in conducting commerce, waging war, and creating culture. The overall success of their Republic in coping with climate change offers lessons that we would be wise to heed today, as we confront the growing crisis of global warming.


‘Degroot offers surprising insights into links between weather variations during the chilliest phase of the Little Ice Age and the Dutch Golden Age by exploring how merchants, soldiers and investors exploited new opportunities resulting from to climate change. The book is well-researched and exciting to read.’ Christian Pfister, Universität Bern, Switzerland

‘In The Frigid Golden Age Dagomar Degroot, a leading climate historian, presents a highly original perspective on an unusually cold era when Europe was immersed in a series of devastating wars on land and the Dutch were becoming the greatest maritime capitalist power from the Atlantic to the East Indies. In compelling prose, he expands our understanding of how climate cycles, economic and political rivalries, and environmental history interact.’ Richard Tucker, University of Michigan

‘Dagomar Degroot has written a powerful addition to the emerging literature on the wider human impacts of the Little Ice Age, in a book that will have a major impact on the field. His argument that the Dutch of the Golden Age responded creatively and successfully to the challenge of cold climate will have an important place in our evolved discussion of climate change in the twenty-first century.’ John Brooke, Ohio State University

‘Skillfully wielding diverse interdisciplinary tools, Dagomar Degroot breaks with clichés of the Little Ice Age as unrelenting social catastrophe to reveal Dutch communities mitigating negative effects of climate change while exploiting new possibilities available to the perceptive and adaptive. The Frigid Golden Age establishes a new benchmark in the environmental history of early modern Europe.’ Richard C. Hoffmann, FRSC, Professor Emeritus and Senior Scholar, Department of History, York University, Toronto

‘While most historians have focused on correlating early modern climate cooling with unrest, crisis, and decline across the Northern Hemisphere, The Frigid Golden Age offers a more sanguine appraisal of an aggressively commercial, modernizing nation’s adaptation to climate change, albeit at the expense of some of its own citizens and untold others. … As a historian engaged in ongoing collaboration with historical climatologists, Degroot is skillful in his interpretation of state-of-the-art climate science, some of which is presented in statistical graphs, charts, and time series that integrate documentary sources with studies of instrumental and proxy data relevant to the history of the Netherlands.’ Anya Zilberstein, Environmental History

‘The Frigid Golden Age demonstrates that climate should play a larger role in Golden Age historiography, and the book’s interdisciplinary approach, its clear and careful methodology, and diverse use of sources establish an effective approach.’ Adam Sundberg, The Journal of Interdisciplinary History

‘The Frigid Golden Age is essential reading for anyone interested in pursuing research in the field of climate history.’ Nicholas J. Cunigan, H-Environment Roundtable Reviews

‘Degroot has uncovered a fascinating element of climate history, and it is a testament to his archival prowess that he has found this treasure trove of observations from a variety of sources, and that these sources were probably not all sitting in the same archive, much less in a folder labeled ‘Weather’.’ James Bergman, H-Environment Roundtable Reviews

‘In his book, Dagomar Degroot makes a strong argument for bringing the humanities and the natural sciences closer together to produce interdisciplinary studies that can generate new perspectives.’ Katrin Kleemann, H-Environment Roundtable Reviews

‘Degroot’s Frigid Golden Age is an invaluable model for scholars doing climate history, but it is hardly the last word, and its publication should create opportunities for scholars of gender, indigeneity, or empire to push forward the research.’ Thomas Wickman, H-Environment Roundtable Reviews

‘… this book successfully brings together different methodological approaches, draws on a variety of source material and provides an engaging historical narrative which embraces a wide range of subject areas … it will be of interest to historians of the Dutch Republic and Europe as well as environmental historians, particularly those interested in the relationship between weather, climate change and human society.’ James P. Bowen, European History Quarterly

‘… this book offers a measured and painstaking reconstruction of some of the climate-related challenges facing Dutch society, as probably the most prosperous of the early modern period, in an age of comparatively cool and stormy weather … The book opens with a very clear explanation of the complex dynamics of climate change and climatic systems that governed prevailing winds and pressure systems in north-west Europe … Nevertheless, what this book demonstrates as effectively as any other is the overwhelming significance of the weather and the seasons in early modern European life, and for that reason alone, it deserves to be widely read and lauded.’ Paul Warde, Metascience

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Cambridge University Press (February 28, 2019)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 386 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1108410413
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1108410410
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.1 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6 x 0.86 x 9 inches

Empires of Knowledge: Scientific Networks in the Early Modern World

Empires of Knowledge charts the emergence of different kinds of scientific networks – local and long-distance, informal and institutional, religious and secular – as one of the important phenomena of the early modern world. It seeks to answer questions about what role these networks played in making knowledge, how information traveled, how it was transformed by travel, and who the brokers of this world were.

Bringing together an international group of historians of science and medicine, this book looks at the changing relationship between knowledge and community in the early modern period through case studies connecting Europe, Asia, the Ottoman Empire, and the Americas. It explores a landscape of understanding (and misunderstanding) nature through examinations of well-known intelligencers such as overseas missions, trading companies, and empires while incorporating more recent scholarship on the many less prominent go-betweens, such as translators and local experts, which made these networks of knowledge vibrant and truly global institutions.

Empires of Knowledge is the perfect introduction to the global history of early modern science and medicine.


“Empires of Knowledge reflects the idea – sadly too rare today – of an historiographical experiment. Drawing on the methodological and theoretical resources of the new history of information and the Republic of letters, and on network-based approaches reflecting the material turn, the book seeks, at different levels, to problematize the notion of the scientific network in the modern period, showing the patient work of composing and recomposing the naturalist world between the Renaissance and the Enlightenment and mapping in detail the circulatory paths that enabled the establishment of long distance relations and maintained the perception of globalisation. Tracking the progress of a letter, agent, object, or idea becomes a means to repopulate the global history of science with a variety of agencies and to create a materially-based geospatial archive. From Renaissance Italy to the China of Emperor Qianlong, taking in the England of Samuel Hartlib and Henry Oldenburg, and the Jesuit networks of Kircher in the Napoleonic period, Empires of Knowledge rejects any separation between Europe and elsewhere to show the entanglement of different worlds. Where historians used to contrast two geographies, two historiographies, the book manages to articulate the long networks of empires with those shorter of the European Republic of letters. From antiquarian culture to geology, linguistics to natural history, and medicine to astronomy, the book reflects a vast, shimmering, varied landscape of practices and disciplines that are not all intended to be cumulative, but which, through their contact, deconstruct the usual narratives. Underpinned by the digital turn and spatial history, this book offers a different vision of the globalization of science that, rather than focusing on integration, infinite conquest, and completeness, is concerned to provide an image of the naturalist world based on interconnecting networks.”

Stéphane van Damme, European University Institute, Italy

About the Author

Paula Findlen is Ubaldo Pierotti Professor of Italian History at Stanford University, USA. Her research focuses on science and culture in early modern Italy. She is the 2016 recipient of the Premio Galileo. Recent publications include Early Modern Things: Objects and Their Histories, 1500–1800.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Routledge; 1st edition (November 5, 2018)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 412 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1138207136
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1138207134
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.8 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches