Resources of the Southern Fields and Forests: Botany, the American Civil War, and the Limits of Regional Analysis
Driggers’ talk focuses on the work of Francis Peyre Porcher, a 19th-century physician who believed that the increased knowledge of the medicinal uses of plants could improve medical care and raise economic fortunes. Porcher began his botanic work for the American Medical Association prior to the American Civil War (1861–1865) and refashioned the project to fit the needs of the Confederate Medical Department in his book Resources of the Southern Fields and Forests. However, other historians examining Porcher see his work only in terms of the construction of Confederate nationalism and do not contextualize his larger botanical project going on prior to and after the Civil War. It is only by seeing the whole project beyond regional contexts that historians can appreciate the entire medical and botanical work of Porcher.
About the Speaker
Allen Driggers is assistant professor of history at Tennessee Tech University. His forthcoming book is titled No Stone Unturned: Chemistry and the Republic of Medicine. Driggers was a 2014–2015 Edelstein Fellow at the Institute.
About the Series
Now combined with our Saturday Speaker Series, Lunchtime Lectures take a rigorous and entertaining approach to exploring topics for scholars and anyone interested in stories about the history of science. The talks help expand perceptions of the nature of science and how it’s done. This season, our speakers are exploring issues of gender, race, and colonialism in the history of the physical and biological sciences from the early modern period to the 21st century.