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Sebestian Kroupa

PhD student

College: Darwin

Supervisors: Emma Spary, Jim Secord, Nick Jardine

Thesis topic: Georg Joseph Kamel (1661–1706): A Jesuit pharmacist at the frontiers of colonial empires

My PhD has addressed the career of the Jesuit pharmacist Georg Joseph Kamel (1661-1706). Sent as a missionary to the Spanish colony in the Philippines, Kamel found himself engaged in encounters between European medicine and local traditions, and in global networks of knowledge exchange that spanned three colonial empires (Spanish, English and Dutch). I explore how Kamel used his involvement as a trader in useful and curious naturalia and as a mediator between agents of European powers and local communities to carve out a position for himself within hierarchies of knowledge, status and patronage.

Research interests: Early modern history of natural history; early modern history of medicine; cross-cultural histories of science; networks of knowledge communication, geographies of knowledge.






- 'Science and Islands in Indo-Pacific Worlds', with Stephanie Mawson and Dorit Brixius, Special Issue of British Journal for the History of Science, 51:4 (2018), 541-558.
- 'Humanists and Travellers, Gorgons and Gorillas: Hanno the Navigator's Periplus and Early Modern Geography', International History Review (2018), pp. 1-28.
- 'Ex Epistulis Philippinensibus: Georg Joseph Kamel SJ (1661-1706) and his Correspondence Network', Centaurus, 57 (2016), pp. 229-259.
- 'Love or Fear: Can Punishment Promote Cooperation?', Evolutionary Anthropology, 23:6 (2014), pp. 229-240.


- 'Anna Winterbottom's Hybrid Knowledge in the Early East India Company World', Early Science and Medicine, 23:3 (2018), pp. 295-297.
- 'A Review of Marie-Christine Skuncke's Carl Peter Thunberg: Botanist and Physician', Society and Politics, 11:1 (2017), pp. 88-91.


Other activities

Affiliate of the Natural History Museum, London (2017 - present).

Member of the Conference Committee, British Society for the History of Science (2017 - present).



2015      Rausing Prize for the Best Performance on the MPhil Dissertation, HPS Department

2015      Graduate Tutors' Prize for Distinction in MPhil, Fitzwilliam College

2014      Society of Biology Top Student Award for the highest grade in Bioscience degree, University of St Andrews