Trained as an anthropologist and sociologist, I work in the field of history of modern science, doing research that crosses national and international boundaries 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 studiedat the Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca in Madrid, and the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. Since 1998 I have been working at the Spanish National Research Council in Madrid and have held significant fellowships in Germany, Spain and the United States. My work has been published in German, Spanish, English, and French; and since 2000 I have participated in 41 conferences, and given 42 lectures in 17 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 or publications directed to the broader society.
Much of my scholarship 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. In the context of my research context he stands out as a key figure for this type of international and interdisciplinary study of the globalization of science.
Current research areas:
· History of knowledge and globalization of science
· Atlantic History
· Cultural transfers and intellectual networks
· Transnational scientific collaboration (19th century)
· Exploration of the American West
Rebok, Sandra (ed.), En defensa de Darwin. Fritz Müller y su trabajo pionero del evolucionismo darwinista. Madrid: CSIC, 2018 (in press).
Rebok, Sandra, “The Power of Knowledge: Humboldt’s navigation between Science and Politics”, submitted to Profs. Jakob Vogel (Sciences Po, Paris) and Olivier Compagnon (IHEAL, Paris), chapter for a publication on Sciences, savoirs et politique (submitted)
Rebok, Sandra, “Die Humboldt-Ausstellungen“, in: Ottmar Ette (ed.), Alexander von Humboldt. Metzler Handbuch. Metzler Verlag, Stuttgart, 2018 (in Press)
Rebok, Sandra, “Exploration at a distance: Alexander von Humboldt and the American West”, New Cultures of Natural History, edited by J. Secord, H. Curry et al, Cambridge Univers. Press, 2018 (in press)
Rebok, Sandra, “Constantine Hering: German doctor and founder of American Homeopathy”, in Immigrant Entrepreneurship: German-American Business Biographies, 1720 to the Present, vol. 2, edited by William J. Hausman. German Historical Institute, 2018 (in press).
Rebok, Sandra,“ "Ja, er war unser!": Humboldt and the Freemasons”, submitted to the Yearbook of German American Studies, 2018.
Humboldt’s Empire of Knowledge: From the Spanish Royal Court to the White House (book project, manuscript submitted)