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About Nathan 

Current Work

Nathan Bossoh is a Research Fellow in the History Department at Southampton University. There he is undertaking a project which investigates the historical uses and circulation of various medicinal plants found across Western Africa in order to analyse the wider relationship between ethnobotany,  museums, pharmacology, religion, and drug commercialisation. Centring on four botanical case studies - kola nut, bitter cola, Calabar bean and Morinda - his project utilises both material cultural and applied historical approaches in order to 1) shed light on the development of colonial and postcolonial plant-medicine research in Anglophone West Africa, and 2) highlight the value of museum biocollections as significant resources for innovative interdisciplinary ecological and health research outputs. His project is titled From African plants to plant-based pharmaceuticals: re-examining the growth of plant medicine research in West Africa through colonial botanical collections (1880 - 1997)

Previous to this Nathan was the first ever appointed African Collections Research Curator at the London Science Museum between September 2022 and September 2023. In this role he conducted a major collections-based investigation into the almost 5000 object records of the Museum’s ‘Wellcome’ African material (formally belonging to the Wellcome Trust). This role led to his over fifty-page Report appraising the collection and recommending steps for its future enhancement. Nathan has written on various history of science topics for both academic and public audiences, and in his curatorial capacity is in the process of developing a new exhibition display surrounding his research interests (more information to come soon).

Nathan's broad Research 

Nathan earned his PhD in History and Philosophy of Science from UCL in 2022 and is an STS Honorary Research Fellow at UCL. In broad terms his research situates around the intersecting themes of empire, race, and religion as entangled operations in the historical production and transmission of science, medicine and museums. A core component of his work explores the ways in which African knowledge and practice, as well as European perceptions of Africanness, influenced and shaped numerous historical developments in science, medicine, and Western museums. His main period of interest is roughly 1750 to the present, and regionally he focuses on Britain and West Africa but has secondary interests in modern Japan as well. Nathan utilises postcolonial, decolonial, and material cultural approaches, and as an applied historian engaged in interdisciplinary research he actively draws on perspectives gathered from a range of fields including science and religion; science and technology studies; environmental humanities; African studies; and museum studies.

About Me: Bio
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