Nieuw boek: Proefschrift over C.G.C. Reinwardt

Caspar Georg Carl Reinwardt (1773-1854) was a productive and versatile scientist-administrator who pursued a multi-faceted career in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century Netherlands. As an expert in botany in chemistry, he received positions as academic in Harderwijk, as royal gardener in Haarlem, and eventually as high-ranked advisor to the colonial government in the Netherlands Indies. Since Reinwardt never managed to transform his observations and field notes collected in the Netherlands and its colonies in the East into ‘scientific’ articles and monographs, his life and career has hardly received attention by historians of science and colonialism.

Historian Andreas Weber devoted his PhD research to this fascinating figure and defended it today at Leiden University. His dissertation is published by Leiden University Press as Hybrid Ambitions. Science, Governance, and Empire in the Career of Caspar G.C. Reinwardt (1773-1854). By providing and in-depth analysis of Reinwardts career, it sheds light on the co-evolutionary character of science, governance, and empire in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century Netherlands and its possessions in the East.

Together with the recently published excerpts of Reinwardt’s correspondence by Teunis Willem van Heiningen, this study hopefully encourages further research into the well-documented, but largely unexplored activities of similar scientist-administrators in the Netherlands Indies.

Illustration on top: Caspar G. C. Reinwardt, designed by M.J. van Brée, engraved by R. Vinkeles @ Wikimedia Commons