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Sebestian Kroupa

Sebestian Kroupa

Department: History and Philosophy of Science

Supervisor: Dr Emma Spary, Prof Jim Secord

College: Darwin

AHRC Subject Area: History

Title of Thesis: Georg Joseph Kamel SJ (1661-1706): negotiating the identity of a Jesuit missionary–naturalist at the frontiers of colonial empires


Originally from Prague, Czech Republic, I have graduated in biology from the University of St Andrews with a thesis looking at the role of punishment in the promotion of cooperative behaviour in humans. Seeking a way to reconcile my fascination with science and passion for the humanities, I decided to move into the history of science and enrolled in the MPhil programme at the University of Cambridge. Intrigued with how the sciences have shaped our society and thought, I have developed a particular interest in the impact of the so-called Age of Discovery and First Scientific Revolution on the early modern world. More specifically, I find questions concerned with how novel knowledge was produced in the colonial context and subsequently transferred to and received in Europe especially compelling. In my Master’s thesis, I investigated the life and work of Georg Joseph Kamel (1661-1706), a Bohemian Jesuit pharmacist and missionary stationed in the Philippines, who entered into exchange of knowledge and materials with leading English naturalists of the period and conveyed the first comprehensive account of the local nature to Europe. This project forms the core of my PhD research.

Other academic interests

Early modern history, global history, history of life sciences, history of natural history, history of evolutionary thought, history of science in science education, public awareness of science.