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Global histories, vernacular science, and African genealogies; or, is the history of science ready for the world?

Tilley, Helen (2010) Global histories, vernacular science, and African genealogies; or, is the history of science ready for the world? Isis 101 (1), pp. 110-119. ISSN 0021-1753.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/652692

Abstract

Scholars in imperial and science studies have recently begun to examine more systematically the different ways knowledge systems around the world have intersected. This essay concentrates on one aspect of this process, the codification of research into “primitive” or “indigenous” knowledge, especially knowledge that was transmitted orally, and argues that such investigations were a by-product of four interrelated phenomena: the globalization of the sciences themselves, particularly those fields that took the earth and its inhabitants as their object of analysis; the professionalization of anthropology and its growing emphasis on studying other cultures' medical, technical, and natural knowledge; the European push, in the late nineteenth century, toward “global colonialism” and the ethnographic research that accompanied colonial state building; and, finally, colonized and marginalized peoples' challenges to scientific epistemologies and their paradoxical call that scientists study their knowledge systems more carefully. These phenomena came together on a global scale in the decades surrounding the turn of the twentieth century to produce a subgenre of research within the sciences, here labeled “vernacular science,” focused explicitly on “native” knowledge.

Item Type: Article
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > History, Classics and Archaeology
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2011 08:44
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:20
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/3437

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