Chapter

From West to Non-West

Dhruv Raina

in Images and Contexts

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780198068808
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080113 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198068808.003.0008
From West to Non-West

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The diffusion of modern science to the ‘new’ and ‘ancient’ worlds from Europe in the nineteenth century constitutes a rapidly developing area of research in the history of science. Depending on the discipline, the focus of investigation is either the transmission of modern science and technology to the non-West or the globalization of modern scientific practice. Studies cognizant of the political entanglements of scientific knowledge reckoned with the circumstance that science in the process of its transmission served as an instrument of cultural imperialism and colonial expansion. A strain of scholarship rooted in the comparative sociology of science and history highlighted the contingent character of the scientific revolution in the West. This chapter examines the three-stage diffusionist model proposed by the historian of science George Basalla, the Eurocentrism of this model, elements of diffusionism, the political colonization of science, and the future of diffusionist history.

Keywords: West; Europe; George Basalla; science; diffusion; colonization; non-West; history; scientific knowledge; Eurocentrism

Chapter.  5915 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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