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, botany and botanic gardens, and taxonomic debates. 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 focusing on a set of “entrepreneurial” natural-history collectors in nineteenth-century southern Africa. It will focus on the devastating nature of their collecting practices: their violence toward the Khoekhoe, San, and Xhosa peoples, uninhibited extraction from the environment, and ultimately the failure of their work to contribute to the production of knowledge on South African flora.

Recent Publications

Review of The Kaiser and the Colonies: Monarchy in the Age of Empire, by Matthew P. Fitzpatrick. Cultural and Social History (forthcoming, 2023).

Review of Coconut Colonialism: Workers and the Globalization of Samoa, by Holger Droessler. Central European History (forthcoming, December 2023).

“Fashioning an Imperial Metropolis at the 1896 Berliner Gewerbeausstellung.” The Historical Journal 65, no. 3 (2022): 685–706.

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

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, no. 2 (2016): 115–36.

Media Coverage
Country Focus
Germany, United Kingdom, South Africa, Namibia
Expertise by Geography
Africa, British Isles, Germany, Western Europe
Expertise by Chronology
3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Expertise by Topic
Colonialism, Diplomacy, Environment, Indigenous Peoples, Libraries & Archives, Material Culture, Migration & Immigration, Museums, Public History, Race, Science