Natural Things | Ad Fontes Naturae is a global natural history project in the digital humanities 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 first step is to develop a cogent bibliography of natural histories from around the world. As we embark on this step, we welcome collaborators from institutions across the globe. If you are interested in joining our project, please get in touch.