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 9780415784177
Published September 26, 2018 by Routledge
238 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 In their totality, the ten case studies help to overcome an outdated centre-periphery model.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 Illustrations

Notes on Contributors



Oliver Hochadel and Agustí Nieto-Galan

  1. Envisioning a New European Metropolis. Designing the Athens Observatory (1842)
  2. Maria Rentetzi and Spiros Flevaris

  3. Institutionalizing the ‘metropolis of mechanics’: philosophical engineering in the city of Glasgow c. 1820 – c. 1875
  4. Ben Marsden

  5. Natural Sciences Meeting their Public: The Hungarian Association for the Advancement of Science in Budapest, 1841-1896
  6. Katalin Stráner

  7. Copepods and Fisherboys: Advanced Marine Biological Research and Street Poverty in Naples circa 1890
  8. Katharina Steiner

  9. Locating Dublin in the late nineteenth-century ether
  10. Tanya O’Sullivan

  11. Second city of science? Dublin as a centre of calculation in the British Imperial context, 1886-1912
  12. Juliana Adelman

  13. From capital city to scientific capital. Science, technology and medicine in Lisbon as seen through the press, 1900-1910
  14. Ana Simões

  15. Collective expertise. The urban planning of Munkkiniemi and Haaga, Helsinki (ca. 1915)
  16. Emilia Karppinen

  17. On Hygiene in a Modern Peripheral City: Buenos Aires, 1870-1940
  18. Diego Armus

  19. 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.