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Photo of Dr John Lidwell-Durnin

Dr John Lidwell-Durnin


I specialise in the history of science and the environment (roughly from 1780-1850). I am particularly interested in how eighteenth-century efforts to develop statistical approaches land management, food production, and to understand the natural wealth of countries informed present-day ideas about food security, environment, and global food markets. My forthcoming book explores the global and imperial reach of Britain's first Board of Agriculture (founded in 1793). I am also interested in contemporary debates over food security, crop genetic diversity, and conservation. 


Research interests

  • History of Science
  • Environmental History
  • Global and Imperial History
  • History of food security
  • History of racial science
  • History of heredity & genetics

Research collaborations

In 2020, I collaborated with economists at Frontier Economics to produce research on the relationship between genetic crop diversity and efforts to combat crop diseases. I am currently working with colleagues at the Botanic Gardens at the University of Oxford to develop a project on the history of the Green Revolution.

Research supervision

I would be very happy to hear from students interested in researching topics related to:

  • Science and the public, c.1700-1950
  • Environmental history
  • History of food security
  • The history of racial science & eugenics
  • Citizenship and science, c.1780-1950

Please send a CV and an outline (no more than 500 words) of your proposed topic.


Interview, 'The Great Caterpillar Outbreak of 1782', Dan Snow's History Hit, ep.1280, 13 Sep 2023

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