Professor Listing


Lesley Cormack, PhD University of Toronto, MA University of Toronto, BA Honors University of Calgary

Professor, Dean of Arts


History and Classics

About Me

I am an historian of science, interested in the history of geography and mathematics in early modern England and Europe. My first book examined the teaching of geography at Oxford and Cambridge in this period, demonstrating that geographical study was an important locale for the interaction of scholarly and craft traditions of knowledge. Since then, I have been interested in that interchange, sometimes called the 'scholar-craftsman debate'. I am editing a book which looks at the role of mathematical practitioners in the 'scientific revolution'. I am also working on a book examining the first English terrestrial and celestial globes, the Molyneux Globes, which were built in 1592. These globes allow us to see the interaction between different communities and publics who thought about globes and used them in different social, economic and ideological circumstances.



A History of Science in Society: From Philosophy to Utility. With Andrew Ede. Peterborough: Broadview Press, 2004. 458 pp. (Nominated for an Alberta Book Award, 2004). Second edition, University of Toronto Press, 2012.

A History of Science in Society: A Reader. With Andrew Ede. Peterborough: Broadview Press, 2007. 470 pp.

Making Contact: Maps, Identity, and Travel, co-edited with Glenn Burger, Jonathan Hart, and Natalia Pylypuik. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 2003. xxx, 269 pp.

Charting an Empire: Geography at the English Universities 1580-1620. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997. xiii, 281 pp.


“The role of Mathematical Practitioners and Mathematical Practice in developing Mathematics as the Language of Nature”, The Language of Nature: Reassessing the Mathematization of Natural Philosophy, ed. Geoffrey Gorham and Benjamin Hill. University of Minnesota Press, 2015 forthcoming.

 "That before Columbus geographers and other educated people thought that the Earth was flat." Newton’s Apple and other Myths about Science, edited by Ronald Numbers and Kostas Kampourakis. Harvard University Press, 2015 forthcoming.

“Forms of Nation and Forms of Geography: Chorography and its publics in Early Modern England”, in Forms of Association: Making Publics in Early Modern Europe, volume in honour of Richard Helgerson, eds. Paul Yachnin and Marlene Eberhart. University of Massachusetts Press, 2015: pp. 155-175.

“Ptolemy at Work: The role of the Geographia in Geography and Mathematics Teaching in Early Modern England”, Ptolemy's Geography in the Renaissance, Z. Shalev and C. Burnett, eds. London: Warburg Institute, 2010, pp. 207-224.

“The World at your fingertips: Renaissance Globes as Cosmographical, Mathematical and Pedagogical Instruments”, in Current Issues in Early Modern Cosmography, ed. Sven Dupré. Special issue of Archives Internationales d'Histoire des Sciences 59 (no. 163, 2009): pp. 485-497. 

“Glob(al) Visions: Globes and their Publics in early modern Europe”. In Making Publics in Early Modern Europe: People, Things, Forms of Knowledge. Eds. Paul Yachnin and Bronwen Wilson. Routledge University Press, 2009, pp. 138-156. 

Papers Presented:

“The whole earth, a present for a Prince: Molyneux’s Globes and the creation of a global vision in Renaissance England", Invited keynote address at Pacific Northwest Renaissance Conference, UBC-O, October, 2014.

“Globes on Shipboard. Mathematical Instruments and their Embodied Uses, 16th – 17th centuries”, Situating Science Workshop: Spaces of Science, University of Saskatchewan, September, 2014.

“That before Columbus geographers and other educated people thought the Earth Was Flat”, Historical Myths about Science, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, May 2014.

“The Molyneux Globes and the Vision of Empire” From Defining Lines to Lines of Control: Cartography and the British Empire, Duke University, January, 2014.

 Panel participant, “The Future of the PhD in the Humanities”, McGill University, October, 2013; ACUTE/CSHPS joint session, Congress for the Humanities and Social Sciences, Brock University, 2014.

Public Lectures:

“Anatomy, Humours, and Chemical interventions: The changing face of Medicine in the Elizabethan Age”, for “And there’s the humour of it: Shakespeare and the Four Humours” exhibition, University of Alberta, February 21, 2014. 

“The Real Philosopher's Stone: Natural Philosophy and Natural Magic in the Middle Ages and Renaissance” Harry Potter exhibition, University of Alberta, January, 2012.

“Kepler and the Music of the Spheres”, Montreal Baroque Music Festival, June 2010.

“Galileo and the church in the international year of the telescope”, Vancouver Space and Science Centre, November 2009.