Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society
Website URL
British, Dutch, and German empires, natural history collecting and collections, non-human and multispecies histories, botany and botanic gardens, biodiversity and climate change in the Cape Floristic Region, environmental humanities, southern Africa, material culture, urban/spatial history, transnational and global history, the long nineteenth century.
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

Katherine Arnold is a historian of the German, British, and Dutch Empires, the history of science and the environment, and transnational and global history of the nineteenth century. She is primarily interested in subjects related to natural history collecting and collections; nonhuman and multispecies histories; museums, botany and botanic gardens; taxonomic debates; and biodiversity loss and climate change. Katherine holds BA degrees in history and anthropology from the University of South Carolina, an MA in European history from University College London, and has undertaken research through affiliations with the University of Cape Town and the Free University of Berlin. She completed her PhD in international history at the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2021.

Katherine is currently transforming her PhD research into a monograph entitled Economies of Nature: German Expertise and Natural History Collecting in Southern Africa.

Recent Publications

‘Book Review: Matthew P. Fitzpatrick, The Kaiser and the Colonies: Monarchy in the Age of Empire (Oxford University Press, 2022)’, Cultural and Social History, 21:1 (2024), 133-135. DOI:

‘Book Review: Holger Droessler, Coconut Colonialism: Workers and the Globalization of Samoa (Harvard University Press, 2022)’, Central European History, 56:4 (2023), 638-640. DOI:

‘Book Review: Lachlan Fleetwood, Science on the Roof of the World: Empire and the Remaking of the Himalaya (Cambridge University Press, 2022)’, British Journal for the History of Science, 56:4 (2023), 582-583. DOI:

‘Book Review: Klemens Wedekind, Impfe und herrsche. Veterinärmedizinisches Wissen und Herrschaft im kolonialen Namibia 1887-1929 (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2021)’, German History, 41:4 (2023), 620-622. DOI:

‘Fashioning an Imperial Metropolis at the 1896 Berliner Gewerbeausstellung’, The Historical Journal, 65:3 (2022), 685–706.

Hydnora Africana: The “Hieroglyphic Key” to Plant Parasitism’, Journal of the History of Ideas Blog, 21 July 2021.

‘Book Review: John West-Sooby (ed.), Discovery and Empire: The French in the South Seas’, Journal of New Zealand and Pacific Studies, 7:1 (2019). DOI:

with Dominic Alessio and Patricia Ollé Tejero, ‘Spain, Germany and the United States in the Marshall Islands: Re-Imagining the Imperil in the Pacific’, Journal of New Zealand & Pacific Studies, 4:2 (2016): 115–36.

Media Coverage
Country Focus
Germany, United Kingdom, South Africa, Namibia
Expertise by Geography
Africa, Germany, United Kingdom, Western Europe
Expertise by Chronology
18th century, 19th century, Modern, 20th century
Expertise by Topic
Colonialism, Diplomacy, Environment, Indigenous Peoples, Libraries & Archives, Material Culture, Migration & Immigration, Museums, Public History, Race, Science, Urban History