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Tutor: David Lambert ( )

Please note that this session will meet at a different time:

Tuesday 6th December, 1-3
Ramphal Building, R0.13

In this session, we will examine recent developments in global histories of science. By stressing circulation rather than diffusion, these serve to question and contest Eurocentric accounts of science. They also challenge distinctions between categories of ‘Western science’ and ‘indigenous knowledge’, and downplay the role of the (white) ‘great men’ of science for accounts where the role of all manner of brokers and intermediaries come to the fore.

We will also consider the conceptual and methodological challenges of bringing histories of science and global histories together.


Did modern science have Western origins?· What does a circulatory perspective bring the global history of science?· What are the methodological challenges of writing the global histories of science?

Key Readings

Sujit Sivasundaram (ed.), focus section on 'Global histories of science', Isis 101 (2010) – 6 articles in total

Further Readings

Delbourgo, James and Nicholas Dew (eds), Science and empire in the Atlantic world (Routledge, 2008)

Fan, Fa-Ti, “The Global Turn in the History of Science,” East Asian Science, Technology, and Society 6 (2012) 249-258.

Fan, Fa-Ti, British Naturalists in Qing China: Science, Empire, and Cultural Encounter (Harvard University Press, 2004)

Gascoigne, John, Science in the service of empire: Joseph Banks, the British state and the uses of science in the age of revolution (Cambridge University Press, 1998)

Livingstone, David, Putting Science in its Place: Geographies of Scientific Knowledge (Chicago University Press, 2003)

Raj, Kapil, ‘Beyond postcolonialism…and postpositivism: circulation and the global history of science’, Isis 104 (2013) 337-347

Raj, Kapil, Relocating modern science: Circulation and the construction of knowledge in South Asia and Europe, 1650-1900 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007)

Safier, Neil, Measuring the New World: Enlightenment Science and South America (University of Chicago Press, 2008)

Schaffer, Simon et al. (eds), The brokered world: go-betweens and global intelligence, 1770-1820 (Science History Publications, 2009)

Schiebinger, Londa and Claudia Swan (eds), Colonial botany: science, commerce, and politics in the early modern world (University Presses Marketing, 2007)