Contact details


Herter Hall

161 Presidents Drive
Amherst, MA 01003-9312
United States



Brian Ogilvie is professor and chair of the Department of History at UMass Amherst. He is an internationally known historian of science and ideas in early modern Europe, c. 1450-1800; in recent years he has presented his research at conferences and colloquia in Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, London, Oslo, Florence, and elsewhere. He has published numerous articles and chapters on early modern natural history, as well as on religious history, scientific correspondence networks, and the use of Latin in early modern science.

Professor Ogilvie came to UMass in 1997 after earning his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. at the University of Chicago. He has also studied at Cambridge University and at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. At UMass he has been Graduate Program Director and Associate Chair of History, Co-Director of the Digital Humanities Initiative in CHFA, and Director of the university’s Oxford Summer Seminar.

Ogilvie has collaborated on international research teams on Animal Studies (based at the University of Oslo) and on the scientific career of Francis Willughby FRS (as part of a Leverhulme International Research Network). He has chaired the Watson Davis and Helen Miles Davis Prize Committee of the History of Science Society and was Co-Program Chair for the Society’s 2016 Annual Meeting.

His current project is titled Nature’s Bible: Insects in European Art, Science, and Religion from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment.



  • The Science of Describing: Natural History in Renaissance Europe (University of Chicago Press, 2006; Chinese translation forthcoming).

Recent articles and chapters:

  • “Stoics, Neoplatonists, Atheists, Politicians: Sources and Uses of Early Modern Jesuit Natural Theology,” in For the Sake of Learning: Essays in Honor of Anthony Grafton, edited by Ann Blair and Anja-Silvia Goeing, 2: 761-79 (Leiden: Brill, 2016).
  • “Willughby on Insects,” in Virtuoso by Nature: The Scientific worlds of Francis Willughby FRS (1635-1672), edited by Tim Birkhead, 335-59 (Leiden: Brill, 2016).
  • “Scientific Archives in the Age of Digitization,” Isis 107, no. 1 (2016): 77-85.
  • “Correspondence Networks,” in A Companion to the History of Science, ed. Bernard V. Lightman, 358-71 (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2016).
  • “Maria Sibylla Merian et la mouche porte-lanterne du Surinam. Naissance et disparition d’un fait scientifique,” in Les savoirs-mondes: Mobilités et circulation des savoirs depuis le Moyen Âge, ed. Pilar González-Bernaldo et Liliane Hilaire-Peréz, 147-57 (Rennes: Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2015).
  • “Science and Medicine,” in The Oxford Handbook of Neo-Latin, ed. Sarah Knight and Stefan Tilg, 263-77 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015).


  • Residential fellowship, Institut d’Études Avancées de Paris (Paris Institute for Advanced Study)
  • Fellowship, National Endowment for the Humanities