Lesley B. Cormack

Dean of Arts, Simon Fraser University

Departmental profile

Research interests and projects

  • The Molyneux Globes: Mathematical Practice and Theory. This is a book-length project, examining the community of mathematicians, natural philosophers, instrument-makers, and gentlemen-virtuosi that developed around the creation of a pair of English made globes. These globes, built by Emery Molyneux and completed in 1592, were the first English globes. Four men wrote treatises about these globes and their history, and that of the larger mathematical community, form the bulk of my research agenda.
  • Mathematical Practitioners and the Transformation of Natural Knowledge in Early Modern Europe. This is an edited book project, looking at the role of mathematical practitioners throughout Europe. We will be examining their role as translators of knowledge and practice from the scholarly communities of natural philosophers and university teachers on the one hand, and artisanal communities on the other.
  • “The Problem of the Three Kingdoms: Geography and the Creation of Britain”. This article examines the role of geography in creating a sense of the Empire of Great Britain in the early days of James’ rule as king of England and Scotland, through the work of John Speed.


  • As dean, I teach very little. I recently taught a graduate course/senior seminar on the history of science in Britain from 1550-1750 in which we looked at the interaction between the study of nature and the socio-economic, political, religious and cultural context of the time.


  • Tonya Lambert, PhD student: her topic is the changing attitudes towards rape and women’s bodies in 17th century England.
  • I am also supervising an MA student examining the creation of Puritan identities, both within Puritan communities, and against the more main-stream religious cultures of church of England participants.