Anna Winterbottom

Anna Winterbottom works on the early modern Indian Ocean region and the European colonial presence there, with a focus on the history of medicine, science, and environment. Her current research focuses on multi-directional exchanges of materia medica and healing objects, ideas, and practices in and beyond the Indian Ocean region between 1500 and 1800 CE.

Anna is currently a Research Associate with the SSHRC-funded project ‘Women, Environment, and Networks of Empire‘ based in the Rare Books and Special Collections within the McGill Library. She is also an affiliate member of the History Department at McGill. Anna studied at the universities of Oxford (BA) and London (MA, PhD) in the UK. She first came to Canada in 2012 for a postdoctoral fellowship at the Indian Ocean World Centre in McGill and held a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Centre for World Environmental History at the University of Sussex between 2014 and 2018.

She is the author of Hybrid Knowledge in the Early East India Company World (Palgrave, 2016) and the co-editor of Histories of Medicine and Healing in the Indian Ocean World (Palgrave 2015) and The East India Company and the Natural World (Palgrave, 2014). In 2017, she won the J. Worth Estes Prize of the American Society for the History of Medicine for her journal article, ‘Of the China Root: a Case Study of the Early Modern Circulation of Materia Medica’, published in Social History of Medicine.


Monograph Anna Winterbottom, Hybrid Knowledge in the Early East India Company World (London and New York: Palgrave, 2016)

Edited books Anna Winterbottom and Facil Tesfaye, Histories of Medicine and Healing in the Indian Ocean World (New York: Palgrave, 2015)

Vinita Damodaran, Anna Winterbottom and Alan Lester, The East India Company and the Natural World (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014)

Articles in peer-reviewed journals

Anna Winterbottom, ‘Becoming “Traditional”: A Transnational History of Neem and Biopiracy Discourse’, Osiris, 36 (2021), 262-283

Anna Winterbottom, ‘Material Culture and Healing Practice: Museum Objects from Kandyan-Period Sri Lanka (c. 1595-1815)’, Asian Medicine 15.2 (2021), 251-290

Anna Winterbottom, ‘An experimental community: the East India Company in London, 1600–1800′, British Journal for the History of Science, 52: 2 (2019), 323-343 (

Anna Winterbottom, ‘Of the China root: a case study of the early modern circulation of materia medica’ Social History of Medicine, 28:1 (2015): 22-44 (

Anna Winterbottom, ‘Auto-Ethnography and Self-Fashioning in Samuel Baron’s Description of Tonqueen’, Journeys: The International Journal of Travel & Travel Writing, 14:2 (2013): 85–105. (

Anna Winterbottom, ‘Producing and Using the Historical Account of Ceylon: Robert Knox, the East India Company and the Royal Society’, British Journal for the History of Science, 42:4, (2009), 515-538. (

Anna Winterbottom, Jonneke Koomen, and Gemma Burford, ‘Cultural Rights and Rites of Defiance: FGC in Northern Tanzania’, African Studies Review, 52:2 (2009), 47-71. (

Chapters in edited volumes

Anna Winterbottom and Ranee Prakash, ‘Samuel Browne’ in Mark A. Carine ed. ‘The Collectors Creating Hans Sloane’s Extraordinary Herbarium’ (Natural History Museum, 2020).

Anna Winterbottom, ‘The Frankish Disease and its Cures in the Indian Ocean Region’ in Eva Marie Knoll and Gwyn Campbell eds. Disease Dispersion and Impact in the Indian Ocean World (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020), 59-84

Anna Winterbottom, ‘Science’, in W. Pettigrew and D. Veevers eds. Transoceanic Constitutions: The Corporation as a Protagonist in Global History 1550 – 1750 (Brill, 2018).

Anna Winterbottom, ‘Medicine and Botany in the Making of Madras, 1680–1720’, in Damodaran, Winterbottom and Lester eds. The East India Company and the Natural World (2014).

Anna Winterbottom, ‘From Hold to Foredeck: Slave Professions in the Maritime World of the East India Company 1660-1720’, Maritime History as Global History, Series: Research in Maritime History No. 43 (St. John’s: International Maritime Economic History Association, 2011).

Book reviews

Anna Winterbottom, “Zachary Dorner. Merchants of Medicines: The Commerce and Coercion of Health in Britain’s Long Eighteenth Century…” The American Historical Review, 126.3 (2021), pp. 1241–1243, https://doi-org/10.1093/ahr/rhab425

Anna Winterbottom, ‘Matthew James Crawford; Joseph M. Gabriel (Editors). Drugs on the Page: Pharmacopoeias and Healing Knowledge in the Early Modern Atlantic World…’, Isis 111.4 (2020) (

Anna Winterbottom, ‘The Body in Balance: Humoral Medicines in Practice: Peregrine Horden, Elisabeth Hsu’, Social History of Medicine, 29.3 (2016) (

Anna Winterbottom, ‘Medicine, Trade and Empire: Garcia de Orta’s Colloquies on the Simples and Drugs of India’, Annals of Science, 73.3 (2016). (

Anna Winterbottom ‘Hybrid Knowledge’, Review essay on Simon Schaffer, Lissa Roberts, Kapil Raj and James Delbourgo, The Brokered World: Go-Betweens and Global Intelligence, 1770-1820, Sagamore Beach, 2010. History Workshop Journal, 71 (2011). (