About

My name is Sienna Latham, and I am currently a history Ph.D. student at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. I grew up in California, spent a handful of happy years in the glorious Southwest and now divide my time between two capitals across the sea. You can also find me struggling against verbosity on Twitter, writing book reviews on Goodreads, posting photos to Flickr and acting scholarly on Academia.edu.

This blog is something of an experiment. The header that appears on every page is itself a nod to history: my own. The photograph, taken in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 2009, depicts flowers I had gathered and pressed in northern Arizona two decades earlier. It will likely include writing related to my research, which examines the relationship between gender and the application of alchemical knowledge and techniques by both women and men in early modern England, but I hope it also provides a home for other interests, ideas and itinerant storytelling. My first project is an alphabetical exploration of Katharine Brigg’s Encyclopedia of Fairies.

All words and images are my own unless otherwise noted.

4 Responses to About

  1. Robert Macfarlane says:

    Dear Sienna

    It’s Robert Macfarlane here. My mother, who notices such things, pointed me to your review of my book, and I wanted to say, well, thank you. It was a beautiful, acute and very generous piece of writing, and I read it knowing that my book had been lucky enough to find its way to a right reader. I was thrilled by your sensitivity to its reflexivities, delighted by your response to the book’s stylistic aspiration to exist, at times, as a kind of prose-poetry, and fascinated to be introduced to the concept of “snake’s hands”, which more concisely than any other image or annotation sums up what I’d hoped the book to do, structurally and conceptually. There we have it: my profound thanks, and warm wishes from Cambridge all the way to New Zealand.

  2. Dear Sienna,
    just stumbled across your blog and research passions. I am a London-based Irish Alchemist, classically trained in Anal. chemistry. I’ve published on traditional Chinese herbal medicines in clinical use (The drugs don’t work?) and African herbal medicines as passed down through oral history (No money? no problem). Finally, Ireland being a tiny nation of Saints & Scholars and exporter of world-renowned Irish Nurses, I have fallen back in love with indigenous knowledge of our ancestors. We recently published a witty little review in Drug Discovery Today on “Anglo-Saxon pharmacopoieas revisited: a potential treasure in drug discovery”. Many aspects of your work are also of interest to us, in that the primary healthcare academic practitioners of the English Dark Ages were mostly literate men in positions of power (courts, religious) and the rest of the poor population relied mostly on mothers (Superiors in Convents! and mums in general). The origination of the term First Aid? and charity begins at home. Thank you for giving me some reading material over the Christmas, I am travelling to my Parents in rural Ireland for a break from academia (or not!). Enjoy yours.

  3. Hi Sienna

    This is an elegant and engaging blog, love your style and your writing. Can I ask if this is a custom-built Worpress theme? Cheers from Australia.

    • Sienna Latham says:

      Hi Robert, thanks so much! The WordPress theme I use is called Brunelleschi. I’ve customized it slightly (header image, CSS) but have left it mostly as-is. Cheers.

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