Sandra

Welcome to my personal website!

As a European scholar of German origin based in Madrid, Spain, with a strong interest in nineteenth-century transatlantic scientific collaboration, I seek to understand the specific ways in which American and European scholarly communities were connected.

Trained as an anthropologist and sociologist, I work in the field of history of modern science, doing research that crosses the boundaries of nations and disciplines, as I map the networks and exchanges that emerged in Europe and the Americas after the French Revolution.  My approach to the history of science is at once social, cultural, and intellectual.  At the center of what I do is an understanding of science as a body of knowledge that is mediated across and between empires and colonies, Europe and America, high academic culture and more popular milieux.

In keeping with this approach, I have always been attracted to studying voyages of exploration as a mode of the production of knowledge, as well as to international forms of scholarly collaboration as the vehicles for the circulation of knowledge on a larger scale. The cosmopolitan component of science beyond national borders and the international exchange of knowledge and ideas are therefore of special interest to me.

My own education has been thoroughly cosmopolitan.  German by nationality, I earned my Ph.D. at the University of Heidelberg. I have also studied at the Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca in Madrid, and the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. From 1998 to 2016 I worked at the Spanish National Research Council in Madrid and have held significant fellowships mainly in Germany, Spain, France and the United States. My work has been published in German, Spanish, English, and French; and since 2000 I have participated in 42 conferences, and given 44 lectures in 19 different countries in Europe, North America, South America, Africa and Australia. Thanks to these transnational experiences, and to being familiar with academic communities on both sides of the Atlantic, I have been challenged to rethink the intersecting of local cultures or societies and the development of the sciences. Studying historical questions from different angles in the context of transnational scholarship has affected my work considerably and provided me a great intellectual benefit. Aware of the importance of dissemination of science among different audiences, I am also familiar with outreach activities such as exhibitions, lectures for a non-specialized public, as well as publications, workshops and documentaries directed to the broader society.

Much of my scholarship in the last two decades has focused on the figure of Alexander von Humboldt, and for good reason: he was the ultimate European cosmopolitan of the post 1800 period in European science, someone who became closely familiar with Spanish intellectual life before traveling to the Spanish colonies in the New World and, thereafter, to the United States, the nation that turned out to be the ideal place for the implementation of Humboldtian Science. In the context of my research, Humboldt stands out as a key figure for collaborative and open science, and therefore for this type of international and interdisciplinary study of the globalization of knowledge.