1st Edition

Science, Religion and Nationalism Local Perceptions and Global Historiographies

Edited By Jaume Navarro, Kostas Tampakis Copyright 2024
    268 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    “Science” and “Religion” have been two major elements in the building of modern nation-states. While contemporary historiography of science has studied the interactions between nation building and the construction of modern scientific and technological institutions, “science-and-religion” is still largely based on a supposed universal historiography in which global notions of “science” and of “religion” are seldom challenged.

    This book explores the interface between science, religion and nationalism at a local level, paying attention to the roles religious institutions, specific confessional traditions, or an undefined notion of “religion” played in the construction of modern science in national contexts: the use of anti-clerical rhetoric as scapegoat for a perceived scientific and technological backwardness; the part of religious tropes in the emergence of a sense of belonging in new states; the creation of “invented traditions” that included religious and scientific myths so as to promote new identities; the struggles among different confessional traditions in their claims to pre-eminence within a specific nation-state, etc.

    Moreover, the chapters in this book illuminate the processes by which religious myths and institutions were largely substituted by stories of progress in science and technology which often contributed to nationalistic ideologies.

    1. Introduction. Science, Religion and Nationalism, or the Entanglement of Mythical Narratives.
    Jaume Navarro and Kostas Tampakis

    2. “Ibn Sina the Turk”: Early Twentieth-Century Turkish Nationalism, Islam and the Historiography of Science
    M. Alper Yalçınkaya

    3. Science in Utopia: Tommaso Campanella’s City of the Sun in the Thought of Luigi Firpo
    Neil Tarrant

    4. Catholics, Natural Science, and National Belonging in Germany, 1830–1914
    Jeffrey T. Zalar

    5. John William Draper and "Thoughts on the Future Civil Policy of America”
    James C. Ungureanu

    6. Building a Nation. Spanish Engineers in the Science-and-Religion Narratives.
    Jaume Navarro

    7. The Education of the Argentine Nation. Positivists and Catholics on Science and Religion.
    Ignacio Silva

    8. Nineteenth-Century Mexican Nationalism, between Liberalism and Conservatism: Positivism as the Force of the Nation.
    Juan Manuel Rodríguez Caso

    9. Being Orthodox, Greek and Modern: Scientists and Theologians in Nineteenth- and early Twentieth-Century Greece
    Kostas Tampakis

    10. Between Darwin and Religion. Nation-Building and the Future of Poland.
    Michał Wagner

    11. “Serving God, Fatherland, and Language”: Alcover, Catalan, and Science.
    Agustín Ceba Herrero and Joan March Noguera

    12. Scientific Atheism Seen Through the Lens of Historical Museums.
    Katarzyna Jarosz


    Jaume Navarro is an Ikerbasque Research Professor at the University of the Basque Country. A historian of science, his interests lay in the history of physics and in the historiography of science and religion. He is author of, among others, A History of the Electron: J.J. and G.P. Thomson (2012) and Ether and Modernity (2018).


    Kostas Tampakis is a Senior Researcher in the National Hellenic Research Foundation. His research interests include the history of the relations of Orthodox Christianity and the sciences and the history of science in Southeastern Europe. He has coauthored, among others, Science and Orthodox Christianity: An Overview (2016).