Through ten case studies by international specialists, this book investigates the circulation and production of scientific knowledge between 1750 and 1945 in the fields of agriculture, astronomy, botany, cartography, medicine, statistics, and zoology.
In this period, most of the world was under some form of imperial control, while science emerged as a discrete field of activity. What was the relationship between empire and science? Was science just an instrument for imperial domination? While such guiding questions place the book in the tradition of science and empire studies, it offers a fresh perspective in dialogue with global history and circulatory approaches. The book demonstrates, not by theoretical discourse but through detailed historical case studies, that the adoption of a global scale of analysis or an emphasis on circulatory processes does not entail analytical vagueness, diffusionism in disguise, or complacency with imperialism. The chapters show scientific knowledge emerging from the actions of little-known individuals moving across several Empires—European, Asian, and South American alike—in unanticipated places and institutions, and through complex processes of exchange, competition, collaboration, and circulation of knowledge.
The book will interest scholars and undergraduate and graduate students concerned with the connections between the history of science, imperial history, and global history.
1. Science and Empire: Past and Present Questions
Matheus Alves Duarte da Silva, Thomás A. S. Haddad, and Kapil Raj
Part 1: Knowledge Production on Imperial Landscapes
2. Putting Ships to New Uses: "Floating Gardens" and the Circulation of Knowledge at Sea and on Land, 1790-1800
3. Regional Knowledge in the Empire: Tobacco Cultivation during the Napoleonic Era
Alexander van Wickeren
4. Global Communication and Construction of Knowledge in French Naval Medicine: Pierre-François Kéraudren and the Health Department of French Navy, 1813-1845
Daniel Dutra Coelho Braga
5. Positioning the North: Making British Geographical Knowledge of Australia in the Mid-Nineteenth Century
6. Maps and the Man on the Spot: Bio-geographies, Knowledge, and Authority around and about the Zambezi
7. The Global Dimensions of the Rome Zoological Garden and Italian Colonialism in Africa
Mauro Capocci and Daniele Cozzoli
Part 2: Knowledge Production at Imperial Crossroads
8. The Astronomical Observations of Bento Sanches Dorta in Rio de Janeiro, 1781-1787
Heloisa Meireles Gesteira
9. Auguste de Saint-Hilaire’s writings between European and Brazilian Audiences, 1816-1850
10. Commercial Statistics of Late Qing China Between Global Interest and Local Irrelevance, 1860-1910
Stacie A. Kent
11. Plague and the Global Emergence of Microbiology, 1894-1920
Shiori Nosaka and Matheus Alves Duarte da Silva