Edge Prize 2024: Taylor M. Moore

The 2024 Edge Prize Committee is pleased to announce that this year’s prize is awarded to Taylor M. Moore for the article "An (Un)Natural History: Tracing the Magical Rhinoceros Horn in Egypt," Isis: The Journal of the History of Science Society (2023) 114.3: 469-489.

Bringing together a wide range of literatures, Taylor M. Moore offers a fascinating reading of the ethnographic artefact of the rhinoceros horn amulet, which functions as a window onto yet unwritten social histories of the Trans-Saharan slave trade and the healing and divining work of Sudanese wise women--all set against the backdrop of Egypt’s imperial pursuits in East Africa. The rhinoceros horn is one of the magico-medical objects collected by the British anthropologist Winifred Blackman during her fieldwork in Egypt in the late 1920s and held at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford. The article traces the rhinoceros horn back to the site of its collection in Egypt to reveal non-Western histories of science/magic/medicine, gender, race, and enslavement. Moore uses STS methodologies to read this object in a new way that illuminates the "networks, actors, and economies whose bodies and labour are generally rendered invisible in Eurocentric histories of global science." She draws on an eclectic blend of archival material from Egypt, Turkey, and the UK to uncover the untold histories of marginalised actors such as Egyptian peasants and Sudanese wise women as producers of scientific knowledge. The fact that the paper can make these connections, speaks to Moore's masterful "reading against the grain" of existing historical documents to centre the experiences of the enslaved and formerly enslaved in Egypt. The jury was impressed by this very ambitious piece and would like to commend Moore for her analytic engagement with an impressive breadth of scholarly and archival sources to tell new stories about secret histories.

Acceptance Statement

I am honored to accept the 2024 4S David Edge Prize and thank the prize committee for this recognition. This article has benefitted from the influence of countless colleagues, friends, and mentors who contributed to the development of the manuscript. I am grateful to you all. I would like to thank the editors of Isis, Alexandra Hui and Matthew Lavine, and the anonymous reviewers whose generous feedback greatly improved the article. I also thank the collections staff at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford for their hospitality during my visit to the Blackman collection. I appreciate 4S’s commitment to supporting engaged STS scholarship that foregrounds the insidious infrastructures of genocide, war, enslavement, and anti-blackness in the past and present.


Taylor M. Moore is an Assistant Professor in the History Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research and teaching focus on histories of science, race, and gender in the modern Middle East, with a particular interest in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Egypt. Her first book project utilizes amuletic objects as archives to reconstruct how women healers shaped the global development of anthropological expertise in 19th and 20th century Egypt.

Honorable Mention

The David Edge Prize Committee would like to extend an Honorable Mention to Daniel Greene for the paper "Landlords of the internet: Big data and big real estate," Social Studies of Science journal (2022). The Committee recognize this paper for its impactful, rigorous and fascinating analysis of the history, business models and power relations underlying the materiality of the internet and the landlords that claim ownership over it.

The 2024 David Edge Prize committee: Lucy van de Wiel (chair), Zheng "Vincent" Li, Jaimie Morse, and Emily Wanderer