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Flowers Fellows Garden, Magdalene College

Dr Gianamar Giovannetti-Singh

Dr Gianamar Giovannetti-Singh is a Junior Research Fellow at Magdalene.

My research seeks to understand how the interaction of different cultures of knowledge produced new sciences that circulated across the world in the early modern period. I am particularly interested in studying the role played by long-distance corporations, such as the Society of Jesus and the Dutch East India Company, in globalising local knowledge traditions.

In 2023, I completed my PhD, titled 'Globalising China: Jesuits, Eurasian Exchanges, and the Early Modern Sciences', in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge. The dissertation reveals how the Manchu conquest of China in 1644 transformed the sciences across Europe. It reorients common accounts of the history of science by showing that several scientific debates typically deemed 'European' originated in China, emerging through local peoples’ interactions with Jesuit missionaries. Focusing on the Jesuit Martino Martini’s writings, my PhD explains how Chinese cultures of knowledge became valuable intellectual and political resources in Enlightenment Europe.

My postdoctoral project, supported by a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship, instead, aims to examine how early modern Europeans drew on their knowledge of East Asia to make sense of the unfamiliar at the Cape of Good Hope. Almost every traveller voyaging between Europe and the East Indies spent time at the Cape, where they engaged with the Indigenous Khoekhoen, enslaved Malays, and European settlers, producing new, hybrid knowledges in the process. The project seeks to understand how new knowledge was produced through a triangular Asian-African-European arrangement.

In Autumn 2021, I was a Visiting Predoctoral Fellow in Department III at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, where I led the project 'Of Soils and Stars: Jesuit Perceptions of Chinese Agricultural Practices through Calendrical Construction'. In Spring 2022, I was a Junior Fellow at the Descartes Centre at Universiteit Utrecht, where I studied early modern Dutch representations of southern Africa and its inhabitants. In June 2022, I received a Lisa Jardine Award to study the reception of Chinese astronomy at the Royal Society in London.

Research Interests

  • Global history
  • History of science
  • History of colonialism
  • History of the Jesuit missions
  • Early modern history
  • History of intercultural encounters
  • Enlightenment history
  • History of early modern Chinese-European interactions
  • History of astronomy
  • South African history
  • History of globalisation


  • BA (Hons) Natural Sciences, Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge
  • MPhil History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine, Wolfson College, University of Cambridge
  • PhD History and Philosophy of Science, St Edmund's College, University of Cambridge

Career/Research Highlights

  • 2023-26 Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship at the Faculty of History, University of Cambridge
  • 2022-23 Freer Prize Fellowship at The Royal Institution
  • 2023 Shortlisted as a BBC AHRC New Generation Thinker
  • 2022 Lisa Jardine Award, The Royal Society
  • 2022 Junior Fellow, Descartes Centre, Universiteit Utrecht
  • 2021 Visiting Predoctoral Fellow, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin
  • 2018 Jacob Bronowski Prize, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge

Professional Affiliations

  • Early Career Member of the Royal Historical Society
  • Member of the History of Science Society
  • Member of the British Society for the History of Science
  • Member of the European Society for the History of Science

Selected Publications

Key Publications

Journal articles and book chapters
(with James Poskett), 'Global History of Science', in Lukas Verburgt ed., Debating Contemporary Approaches to the History of Science (London: Bloomsbury, forthcoming 2024)

'Astronomical Chronology, the Jesuit China Mission, and Enlightenment History', Journal of the History of Ideas, vol. 84 no. 3 (forthcoming 2023)

'Chinese Heavens in European Literature, c. 1650-1700', in Florian Klaeger and Dirk Vanderbeke eds., Writing the Heavens: Celestial Observations in Literature, 800-1800 (Berlin: De Gruyter, forthcoming 2023)

'Racial Capitalism in Voltaire's Enlightenment', History Workshop Journal, vol. 94 (2022), pp. 22-41

'Rethinking the Rites Controversy: Kilian Stumpf's Acta Pekinensia and the Historical Dimensions of a Religious Quarrel', Modern Intellectual History, vol. 19 no. 1 (2022), pp. 29-53

'Galenizing the New World: Joseph-François Lafitau's "Galenization" of Canadian Ginseng, ca. 1716-1724', Notes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science, vol. 75 no. 1 (2021), pp. 59-72

Public Engagement

'Crush the Despicable! Voltaire's Enlightened Racism', History Workshop Digital Magazine, November 2022

'Empire of Learning', Royal Society Blog, November 2022

'The Heavenly Politics of History in Early Modern Eurasia', Journal of the History of Ideas Blog, September 2022
(with Rory Kent and Swathi Manivannan)

'Hidden Figures: The Erasure of Scientific Labour and the Hope of Decolonisation', BlueSci, 2021