Deaprtment of History, York University
Research keywords: Maritime history; trade and colonialism in Indian Ocean world; early modern history of science and technology; history of the book and information; digital humanities
Margaret E. Schotte is an associate professor in the Department of History. She holds a PhD in the history of science from Princeton University (2014). Her first book, Sailing School: Navigating Science and Skill, 1550–1800(Johns Hopkins, 2019), won the American Historical Association’s 2020 Leo Gershoy Award and the 2019 Lyman Award in the category of Naval and Maritime Science and Technology from the North American Society for Ocean History. Sailing School is a comparative study of the development and dissemination of Dutch, English, and French sailors’ navigational practices—in the classroom, on board ship, and across international borders. It traces the impact of print culture on navigational instruction and reconsiders the rise of mathematics in European intellectual and artisanal cultures. She has also published on maritime and colonial record-keeping, ship’s instruments and navigation as “big science. Professor Schotte seeks out early modern individuals who have engaged with science and technology in unexpected ways. In examining books and manuscripts from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, she uncovers stories of men and women who invented, adapted and disseminated new technologies. Her current research explores these themes in the multicultural Indian Ocean world. As Europeans sought to trade with and exploit populations in the region, they relied on Asian mariners and other local experts. Professor Schotte draws on archival records from the French Compagnie des Indes to recover the stories of women, stowaways, soldiers and enslaved individuals. By enhancing these case studies with digital and cartographic analysis, this project will generate new understandings of the ways in which race, gender and identity shaped conditions of labour in the Indian Ocean world.