Scott Backrath

Scott Backrath

Twitter: @SBackrath

Thesis Title

Global Biopiracy in the Age of Empire: Indigeneity, Decolonisation, and the Politics of Botanical Knowledge in the British World, c.1600–1800


The University of Manchester


Dr. Stefan Hanß
Dr. Rachel Winchcombe
Dr. Alex Alberda

Research Summary

My project will demonstrate that biopiracy, the theft of botanical knowledge and materials, occurred in the early-modern period and before the current consensus of 1876 (Henry Wickham). It will be the first monograph-length study of early modern biopiracy and its entanglement with colonialism and the ‘scientific revolution’, including its consequences for Indigenous communities and museum collections. The project also aims to help recover Indigenous botanical knowledge obscured by the British Empire and decolonise botanical collections.

Research Interests

History of science,
indigenous perspectives,
and imperialism.


coming soon


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