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James Poskett

College Fellow

Adrian Research Fellow, Darwin College

Research interests: Global and imperial history of science, 1750–1900

My research engages broadly with the global and imperial history of science, from 1750 to 1900. I also have particular research interests in the history of race and the history of the book.

In 2015 I was appointed as the Adrian Research Fellow at Darwin College. Previously, I held research fellowships at Harvard University (2014) and the Philadelphia Area Center for the History of Science (2013).

At the moment I am working on two projects. First, I am revising my doctoral thesis on the global history of phrenology for publication. Second, I am beginning a new project on the global history of science and print, with a particular focus on evolution and the useful knowledge movement in the nineteenth century.

I am also an advocate of public engagement, writing for national newspapers, websites and magazines. In 2013 I was shortlisted for the BBC New Generation Thinker Award.


'Phrenology, Correspondence, and the Global Politics of Reform, 1815–1848', The Historical Journal, published online July 2016, forthcoming in print

'National Types: The Transatlantic Publication and Reception of Crania Americana (1839)'History of Science 53 (2015): 264–295

'Sounding in Silence: Men, Machines and the Changing Environment of Naval Discipline, 1796–1815'The British Journal for the History of Science 48 (2015): 213–232

'Forgotten Dreams: Recalling the Patient in British Psychotherapy, 1945–1960'Medical History 59 (2015): 241–254

Book reviews

Review of What is Global History? by Sebastian Conrad (Princeton, NJ, 2016), Itinerario 40 (2016): 334–335

Review of The Scientific Revolution in Global Perspective by William Burns (Oxford, 2015), The British Journal for the History of Science 48 (2015): 689–690

Review of Mastering the Niger: James MacQueen's African Geography and the Struggle over Atlantic Slavery by David Lambert (Chicago, 2013)Reviews in History, review no. 1655 (2014)

Review of The Circulation of Knowledge between Britain, India and China, edited by Bernard Lightman, Gordon McOuat and Larry Stewart (Brill, 2013)The British Journal for the History of Science 47 (2014): 567–569


'Phrenology', BBC History Magazine, 3 December 2015

'Skulls in Print'University of Cambridge: Research News, 19 February 2014

'Django Unchained and Phrenology'The Guardian, 5 February 2013

'Mathematics: A Life Computed'Nature 486 (2012): 321

'From Arabick Roots to the Arab Spring'The Guardian, 25 July 2011

'Big Science in a Big World'Physics World, 30 September 2011