Career-Building across the Oceans in the Eighteenth Century: A Review of Marie-Christine Skuncke's Carl Peter Thunberg: Botanist and Physician
Societate şi Politică
Universitatea de Vest Vasile Goldis din Arad
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Kroupa, S. (2017). Career-Building across the Oceans in the Eighteenth Century: A Review of Marie-Christine Skuncke's Carl Peter Thunberg: Botanist and Physician. Societate şi Politică, 11 (1), 88-90. https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.31537
Carl Peter Thunberg (1743–1828): Botanist and Physician is a thoroughly researched and engagingly written account of the career of this prominent Apostle of Linnaeus, best known for his work on South African and Japanese flora. This beautifully illustrated book is arranged chronologically and subdivided into geographically distinctive chapters, as we accompany Thunberg on his voyage across half the world and find out what was involved in building a successful career in medicine and botany. Having been trained under Carl Linnaeus in Uppsala, Thunberg was invited in 1771, upon recommendation of his mentor, to travel to Japan and collect specimens for Dutch botanical gardens. In the same year, Thunberg signed up as a surgeon with the Dutch East India Company (VOC) and embarked on an eight-year long journey which took him to South Africa, Java, Japan and Ceylon. Following Thunberg on his travels, Skuncke masterfully uses an individual biography as a keyhole through which to capture the cross-cultural encounters in different parts of the globe, in which Thunberg was involved. In a distinct move away from Eurocentric narratives of great men of science, rather than on Thunberg himself the author focuses on the network he built and the actors involved. Skuncke’s meticulous reconstruction of the relations of power and patronage within Thunberg’s network highlights that his skills in network-building were at least as important as his intellectual abilities in paving a successful career, which culminated shortly after his return to Europe with a professorship in Medicine and Natural Philosophy at his alma mater.
This record's DOI: https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.31537
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/284167