The century from 1750 to 1850 was a period of dramatic transformations in world history, fostering several types of revolutionary change beyond the political landscape. Independence movements in Europe, the Americas, and other parts of the world were catalysts for radical economic, social, and cultural reform. And it was during this age of revolutions—an era of rapidly expanding scientific investigation—that profound changes in scientific knowledge and practice also took place.
In this volume, an esteemed group of international historians examines key elements of science in societies across Spanish America, Europe, West Africa, India, and Asia as they overlapped each other increasingly. Chapters focus on the range of participants in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century science, their concentrated effort in description and taxonomy, and advances in techniques for sharing knowledge. Together, contributors highlight the role of scientific change and development in tightening global and imperial connections, encouraging a deeper conversation among historians of science and world historians and shedding new light on a pivotal moment in history for both fields.
As these uniformly excellent essays demonstrate, the task of constructing histories of science that provide cogent narratives about scientific practices might be described, in one way or another, as 'global' is hugely demanding. . . . the essays reviewed here represent an exciting beginning to a larger project with much promise.
This is an exciting project that reflects a trend in recent historiography to broaden the scope from microstudies by bringing in perspectives from both global history and the history of knowledge. It is a timely contribution to history more generally and will be warmly welcomed not only by historians of science but also by global and imperial historians as well.
This volume shows convincingly that bringing together perspectives from both history of science and world history opens new and fascinating perspectives on the way scientific knowledge developed within an expanding and more interconnected world. It is a welcome and original contribution to the broad debate on the nature and impact of scientific knowledge in a multifocal, global perspective.
Patrick Manning is Andrew W. Mellon Professor Emeritus of World History at the University of Pittsburgh and founding director of the World History Center there. He is the author or coeditor of numerous books, including Global Scientific Practice in an Age of Revolutions, 1750–1850.learn more
Daniel Rood is assistant professor of history at the University of Georgia, Franklin College.learn more