Nature and Medicine

The Nature and Medicine Working Group (NMWG) responds to the historical fact that as a ‘New World’ in which Old World scholastic traditions wrestled with local knowledge and collecting Latin America has long been critical to the study and uses of nature and medicine but rarely recognized as more than a colonial ‘field’ or ‘garden’ for European observation and collecting. Nevertheless, prospecting and experimentation in materia medica, natural history and mineral cabinets, epidemic disease research and control, and pictorial, verbal, and architectural representations of nature, all have deep and complex histories in the region. NMWG will identify interlocking moments in the histories of knowledge of nature and medicine, and the means by which these were or were not circulated and recognized abroad. The group will hold a workshop linked to an open conference in Rio de Janeiro on August 2-4, 2017.



Linda Newson

Director of the Institute of Latin American Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London and author of Conquest and Pestilence in the Early Spanish Philippines (University of Hawaii Press, 2009).


Marcos Cueto

Professor of History of Science at Casa de Oswaldo Cruz/Fiocruz and author—with Steven Palmer—of Medicine and Public Health in Latin America: A History (Cambridge University Press, 2014).



Daniela Bleichmar (University of Southern California, US)

Samir Boumediene (IHRIM-ENS Lyon)

Benjamin Breen (University of California, Santa Cruz, US)

Pablo Gomez (University of Wisconsin-Madison, US)

Lorelai Brilhante Kury (Casa de Oswaldo Cruz, Brazil)

Iris Montero (Brown University, US)

Magali Romero Sá (Casa de Oswaldo Cruz, Brazil)