Geographies of Nineteenth-Century Science
In Geographies of Nineteenth-Century Science, David N. Livingstone and Charles W. J. Withers gather essays that deftly navigate the spaces of science in this significant period and reveal how each is embedded in wider systems of meaning, authority, and identity. Chapters from a distinguished range of contributors explore the places of creation, the paths of knowledge transmission and reception, and the import of exchange networks at various scales. Studies range from the inspection of the places of London science, which show how different scientific sites operated different moral and epistemic economies, to the scrutiny of the ways in which the museum space of the Smithsonian Institution and the expansive space of the American West produced science and framed geographical understanding. This volume makes clear that the science of this era varied in its constitution and reputation in relation to place and personnel, in its nature by virtue of its different epistemic practices, in its audiences, and in the ways in which it was put to work.
“The first hesitant efforts to write the geography of science addressed a point of principle: could one intelligibly say that apparently universal knowledge bore the marks of the particular places in which it was made and justified? About a quarter of a century later, the field has matured, and this more confident collection largely sets aside matters of philosophical principle in favor of a series of rich and resonant empirical inquiries about how nineteenth-century scientific knowledge traveled and how, in traveling, it was made, made authoritative, maintained, and modified. In the geography of science, these essays are state-of-the-art.”
“Scientific practices are developed in particular places and diffused to others, which their interpretation reflects in the local context. This excellent volume of essays illustrates that argument with a fascinating range of nineteenth-century examples that more than sustain the argument that science is a form of ‘situated knowledge.’ These essays are essential reading for all interested in the when, what, and why of scientific practices; they will be left in no doubt that ‘where’ is just as important.”
“Science with a capital S barged into the nineteenth century, elbowing aside competing knowledge-claims and laying siege to the heights of Western intellectual culture. Such a transformation had not been seen for 1,500 years, since the Roman emperor Constantine’s conversion to Christianity, and Geographies of Nineteenth-Century Science is its ground-breaking gazetteer. More encyclopedia than directory, this richly detailed work, brimful of the latest scholarship, is a cornucopia of fresh insights into where today’s mighty ‘Science’ came from in the age of its first ascendancy. Chapter by chapter, abstract ‘Science’ is disaggregated into local knowledges; spaces within places and places within spaces fall into focus like the fragments of a kaleidoscope: islands and continents, cities and farms, theaters and museums, laboratories and lecture halls, tourist guides, and textbooks, even maps. Nineteenth-century scientific knowledge came into existence to be mobilized at countless such loci, then to be amended and refined elsewhere and finally forged into ‘the view from nowhere,’ the objectivity of modern ‘Science.’ As a resource for studying this manifold process, Geographies of Nineteenth-Century Science has no peer.”
“A rich collection of essays by some of the leading historians and historical geographers in the field, Geographies of Nineteenth-Century Science explores the diverse spatial contexts and geographical mobility of scientific knowledge during the nineteenth century. This book confirms that questions of geography—of place, space, translation, and circulation—belong at the heart of the history of science in this period.”