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Dr Christina Skott

Dr Christina Skott is a Life Fellow at Magdalene. Her work focuses on the history of Southeast Asia and European colonialism in Asia in the long Early Modern era.

Christina Skott holds degrees from the Sibelius Academy of Music, Helsinki, and Hum. Cand. and Mag. Phil. degrees in history and art history from the University of Helsinki. In the 1980s and 1990s she published and taught art history in Finland, Singapore and the Philippines. She subsequently embarked on a doctorate in history at the University of Cambridge, where her 2004 dissertation examined early modern European knowledge of Southeast Asia. She was a Fellow, Tutor and Director of Studies in History at Wolfson College, Cambridge, between 2005 and 2017. In 2012-2013 she held the post of Junior Proctor of the University of Cambridge. She became a Life Fellow at Magdalene in 2022.

Christina directed studies in history at Magdalene since 2008, and was also Director of Studies for the joint degree History and Politics. She was an Affiliated Lecturer at the Faculty of History, where she lectured on European expansion in early modern Asia and supervised undergraduate papers on world history.


Research Interests

  • Global history in the long early modern era
  • European colonialism in Asia
  • The history of early modern Southeast Asia, in particular the ‘Malay World’
  • The history of anthropology and natural history in the eighteenth century
  • Colonial agriculture and ecology
  • Economic botany and global botanical exchange


Kantor-organist degree, Sibelius Academy of Music, Helsinki.

Cand. Phil., Art history, University of Helsinki.

Mag. Phil., Art history & European history, University of Helsinki.

PhD, History, University of Cambridge.

Professional Affiliations

Member of the editorial board, Indonesia and the Malay World

Selected Publications

'Human taxonomies: Carl Linnaeus, Swedish travel in Asia and the classification of man', Itinerario, 43(2), 2019, pp. 218-242.

'The Regio Femarum and its warrior women: Images and encounters in European sources', in Vina Lanzona & Fredrik Rettig (eds.), Women warriors in Southeast Asia (Routledge, 2019), pp. 81-112. 

Editor, Interpreting diversity: Europe and the Malay world (Routledge, 2017). 

‘A view from the Hill: Romantic imaginings and ‘Improvement’ in early Penang’, in Yeoh Seng Guan & Peter Zabielskis (eds.), Penang and its Networks of Knowledge  (Areca Books, 2017), pp. 104-130.

With Rotem Kowner, ’East Asians in Linnaean taxonomy: sources and implications of racial images’, in Rotem Kowner & Walter Demel (eds.), Race and Racism in Modern East Asia. Vol. II: Interactions, Nationalism, Gender and Lineage  (Brill: 2015), pp. 23-54.

'Linnaeus and the troglodyte: early European encounters with the Malay world and the natural history of man', Indonesia and the Malay world 42 (123), 2014, pp. 141-169.

‘Expanding Flora's Empire. Linnaean science and the Swedish East India Company', in Kirsten McKenzie & Robert Aldrich (eds.), The Routledge History of Western Empires (Routledge, 2013), pp. 238-254.

’Ask about everything’: Clas Fredrik Hornstedt in Java, 1783-84’, in Tara Alberts & D. R. M. Irving (eds.), Intercultural Exchange in Southeast Asia: History and Society in the Early Modern World  (I. B. Tauris, 2013), pp. 161-202