Article

History of Science

Susan Scott Parrish

in Atlantic History

ISBN: 9780199730414
Published online May 2010 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199730414-0031
History of Science

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  • History of the Americas
  • European History
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The prevailing model that addressed the intertwined topics of science and empire until the 1980s was that of “diffusion,” the idea being that scientific knowledge flowed from metropolitan centers to imperial peripheries, where it gradually matured into independent scientific institutions. Along with this hubris about the superiority of European models and practices of knowledge was an uncomplicated Whiggish narrative about scientific progress. A first wave of dissent to this model appeared in the early 1990s as scholars saw the relation between center and periphery as one of domination and erasure of indigenous knowledge systems and practices. Much of this work involved 19th- and 20th-century colonial history in Asia and Africa. In the early 21st century, scholars investigating the early modern Atlantic world have shown that not only “things,” or raw stuff, emerged from non-European locales but also forms of knowledge (both indigenous and Creole) that contributed to the development of science. A more anthropological method studying cultural, or epistemological, exchange has tended to replace the narrow chronology of “scientific progress.”

Article.  5753 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas ; European History ; African History ; History ; Regional and National History

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