Urban Histories of Science : Making Knowledge in the City, 1820-1940 book cover
1st Edition

Urban Histories of Science
Making Knowledge in the City, 1820-1940

ISBN 9780367585389
Published June 30, 2020 by Routledge
252 Pages

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Book Description

This book tells ten urban histories of science from nine cities—Athens, Barcelona, Budapest, Buenos Aires, Dublin (2 articles), Glasgow, Helsinki, Lisbon, and Naples—situated on the geographical margins of Europe and beyond. Ranging from the mid-nineteenth to the early twentieth centuries, the contents of this volume debate why and how we should study the scientific culture of cities, often considered "peripheral" in terms of their production of knowledge. How were scientific practices, debates and innovations intertwined with the highly dynamic urban space around 1900? The authors analyze zoological gardens, research stations, observatories, and international exhibitions, along with hospitals, newspapers, backstreets, and private homes while also stressing the importance of concrete urban spaces for the production and appropriation of knowledge. They uncover the diversity of actors and urban publics ranging from engineers, scientists, architects, and physicians to journalists, tuberculosis patients, and fishermen. Looking at these nine cities around 1900 is like glancing at a prism that produces different and even conflicting notions of modernity. In their totality, the ten case studies help to overcome an outdated centre-periphery model. This volume is, thus, able to address far more intriguing historiographical questions. How do science, technology, and medicine shape the debates about modernity and national identity in the urban space? To what degree do cities and the heterogeneous elements they contain have agency? These urban histories show that science and the city are consistently and continuously co-constructing each other.

Table of Contents


List of Figures vii

Notes on Contributors x

Preface xiv

Urban Histories of Science: How to Tell the Tale

Oliver Hochadel and Agustí Nieto-Galan

1 Envisioning a New European Metropolis: Designing the Athens Observatory (1842)

Maria Rentetzi and Spiros Flevaris

2 Institutionalizing the “Metropolis of Mechanics”: Philosophical Engineering in the City of Glasgow c. 1820–c. 1875

Ben Marsden

3 The Natural Sciences and Their Public at the Meetings of the Hungarian Association for the Advancement of Science in Budapest and Beyond, 1841–1896

Katalin Stráner

4 Copepods and Fisher Boys: Advanced Marine Biological Research and Street Poverty in Naples c. 1890

Katharina Steiner

5 Locating Dublin in the Late Nineteenth-Century Ether

Tanya O’Sullivan

6 Second City of Science? Dublin as a Center of Calculation in the British Imperial Context, 1886–1912

Juliana Adelman

7 From Capital City to Scientific Capital: Science, Technology, and Medicine in Lisbon as Seen through the Press, 1900–1910

Ana Simões

8 Collective Expertise behind the Urban Planning of Munkkiniemi and Haaga, Helsinki (c. 1915)

Emilia Karppinen

9 On Hygiene in a Modern Peripheral City: Buenos Aires, 1870–1940

Diego Armus

10 From Electricity to the Photo Archive: National Identity and the Planning of the 1929 Barcelona International Exhibition

Lucila Mallart


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Oliver Hochadel is based at the IMF-CSIC (Spanish National Research Council) in Barcelona.

Agustí Nieto-Galan is Professor of History of Science at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.