Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation


Main content start

Natural Things | Ad Fontes Naturae is a global natural history project originally based out of Stanford’s Program in History & Philosophy of Science.

Our goal is to trace how natural objects from around the world took on new meaning through the rise of modernity. Our project charts the people, places, and, above all, things that symbolized and composed the natural world during the rise of modern science around the globe. In a newly connected era, local conceptions of nature from across the world transformed the practice of natural history. By digitally tracing natural objects (plants, animals, minerals) in motion throughout the early modern world and beyond using published natural histories as a primary source base, our project uncovers how these natural objects accumulated meaning in both local and global contexts. Our collaborative research aims to reimagine the early modern investigation of nature as global nature studies, decentering European approaches and considering both manuscript and print sources.

Our current focus is the publication of an illustrated edited volume featuring chapters and designs from our contributors. Natural Things: In and Beyond Ecologies of Knowledge is expected in 2023 with Routledge Books.