James Poskett

Historian of science, empire and print

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I give lectures and seminars in the History Department at the University of Warwick.

I also supervise undergraduate and graduate dissertations on topics related to the global history of science, empire and print.

To complement my teaching, I produce research skills videos which are available online.

Before joining Warwick, I taught for a number of years at the University of Cambridge.

Empire of the Book: The Global Politics of Print

This third-year course takes the history of printing technology as the starting point for rethinking the history of empire.

Beginning with the East India Company and ending in Republican China, we follow an unlikely band of printers, publishers, authors and readers.

There is a strong focus on developing practical skills.

Students work with rare books, hunting for clues in the margins, examining bindings, and even learning to set type.

Science and Modernity

Science is a defining characteristic of modernity. It separates us from an earlier world of superstition and religious orthodoxy.

Or does it?

In this graduate seminar, students challenge such a simplistic understanding of the relationship between science and modernity.

By reading Robert Young’s classic Marxist work, Darwin’s Metaphor, we examine how scientific thought was produced as part of a wider social and cultural world.

The Making of the Modern World

First-year survey course on world history from the Enlightenment to the Cold War.

My lectures introduce the history of the industrial revolution and the history of technology as part of a global history.

Students learn about the wealth and poverty of nations, from Britain and France to China and India.

In doing so, they assess the merits of economic, social and cultural approaches to understanding inequality in the past and present.