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9781421438542
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v2.1 Reference

Geographies of Knowledge

Science, Scale, and Spatiality in the Nineteenth Century

Over the past twenty years, scholars have increasingly questioned not just historical presumptions about the putative rise of modern science during the long nineteenth century but also the geographical contexts for and variability of science during the era. In Geographies of Knowledge, an internationally distinguished array of historians and geographers examine the spatialization of science in the period, tracing the ways in which scale and space are crucial to understanding the production, dissemination, and reception of scientific knowledge in the nineteenth century.

Engaging with and extending the influential work of David Livingstone and others on science's spatial dimensions, the book touches on themes of empire, gender, religion, Darwinism, and much more. In exploring the practice of science across four continents, these essays illuminate the importance of geographical perspectives to the study of science and knowledge, and how these ideas made and contested locally could travel the globe.

Dealing with everything from the local spaces of the Surrey countryside to the global negotiations that proposed a single prime meridian, from imperial knowledge creation and exploration in Burma, India, and Africa to studies of metropolitan scientific-cum-theological tussles in Belfast and in Confederate America, Geographies of Knowledge outlines an interdisciplinary agenda for the study of science as geographically situated sets of practices in the era of its modern disciplinary construction. More than that, it outlines new possibilities for all those interested in knowledge's spatial characteristics in other periods.

Contributors: John A. Agnew, Vinita Damodaran, Diarmid A. Finnegan, Nuala C. Johnson, Dane Kennedy, Robert J. Mayhew, Mark Noll, Ronald L. Numbers, Nicolaas Rupke, Yvonne Sherratt, Charles W. J. Withers

About the Authors

Robert J. Mayhew is a professor of historical geography and intellectual history at the University of Bristol. He is the author of Malthus: The Life and Legacies of an Untimely Prophet. Charles W. J. Withers is professor emeritus at the University of Edinburgh and Geographer Royal for Scotland. He is the author of Zero Degrees: Geographies of the Prime Meridian.

Endorsements

"An original and substantial contribution to the study of science and place. Each engaging chapter sheds light on another aspect of the topic. The volume covers a lot of ground, from the social sciences to the natural sciences. The book will be of interest to historical geographers and historians of science, as well as to graduate students and advanced undergraduates."

- Bernard Lightman, York University, editor of Companion to the History of Science

"This collection of uniformly excellent essays brings together a really impressive set of historians and geographers."

- Simon Naylor, University of Glasgow, author of Regionalizing Science: Placing Knowledges in Victorian England

"Geographies of Knowledge shows us how, what, why, and most importantly where nineteenth-century science was imagined, tested, lived, and challenged. We are in the company of the world's most exciting historical geographers."

- Alison Bashford, Director, New Earth Histories Research Program, UNSW Sydney

"Geographies of Knowledge continues the conversation about the value of a geographical perspective on the theory and practice of science, focusing especially on the issue of scale. The book provides ample evidence of the influence of the spatial turn on writing in the history of science over the last two decades."

- Felix Driver, Royal Holloway, University of London, coauthor of Hidden Histories of Exploration

"A lively set of studies that brings fresh attention to the problem of scientific geographies: how, exactly, does 'where' matter to science? Full of insights about both nineteenth-century science and its historiography, the volume illustrates how scientists themselves mobilized perceptions of space, place, and scale to frame (and re-frame) their subjects."

- Katharine Anderson, York University, author of Predicting the Weather: Victorians and the Science of Meteorology

"With chapters ranging from Burma to Belfast, this fine collection develops new perspectives—particularly involving the critical issue of scale—to shed light on a transformative period of global history."

- James A. Secord, University of Cambridge, author of Visions of Science: Books and Readers at the Dawn of the Victorian Age
Johns Hopkins University Press
Medicine, Science, and Religion in Historical Context
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