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Luthfi Adam

"Cultivating Power: Botanic Gardens and Empire-Building in the Netherlands East Indies, 1744–1942"

Luthfi Adam

Fellow, Garden and Landscape Studies

Luthfi's book project examines the role of Buitenzorg botanic gardens in the Dutch growing power in knowing, exploiting, and managing the Netherlands Indies’ nature. He demonstrates how botanical practices such as excursion, classification, gardening, and acclimatization dovetailed with the Dutch colonists’ economic interests in the territories they controlled. This book is also about the botanic gardens’ movement in colonial policy and practice: from supporting plantation economy expansion, redirecting agricultural policy, to influencing environmental management.

Luthfi Adam (PhD Northwestern University, 2020) is a historian of modern Southeast Asian and environmental history. His PhD dissertation, “Cultivating Power: Buitenzorg Botanic Garden and Empire-Building in the Netherlands East Indies, 1745–1917,” won the Harold Perkin Prize for the best dissertation in the Department of History, Northwestern University, in 2020. Currently, Luthfi is a research fellow at Monash University, Indonesia. Before joining Monash, Luthfi was an Arryman Scholar and a research fellow at Buffet Institute for Global Affairs, Northwestern University.