Africa as a Living Laboratory: Empire, Development, and the by Helen Tilley

By Helen Tilley

Tropical Africa used to be one of many final areas of the realm to adventure formal ecu colonialism, a method that coincided with the appearance of various new clinical specialties and learn equipment. Africa as a residing Laboratory is a far-reaching examine of the thorny dating among imperialism and the function of clinical expertise—environmental, clinical, racial, and anthropological—in the colonization of British Africa.

A key resource for Helen Tilley’s research is the African learn Survey, a undertaking undertaken within the Nineteen Thirties to discover how smooth technology used to be being utilized to African difficulties. This undertaking either embraced and advised an interdisciplinary method of study on Africa that, Tilley argues, underscored the heterogeneity of African environments and the interrelations one of the difficulties being studied. whereas the purpose of British colonialists was once undoubtedly to remodel and modernize Africa, their efforts, Tilley contends, have been frequently abruptly subverted by means of clinical matters with the neighborhood and vernacular. Meticulously researched and gracefully argued, Africa as a dwelling Laboratory transforms our figuring out of imperial background, colonial improvement, and the position technology performed in both.

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Africa as a Living Laboratory: Empire, Development, and the Problem of Scientific Knowledge, 1870-1950

Tropical Africa used to be one of many final areas of the realm to adventure formal eu colonialism, a procedure that coincided with the appearance of various new medical specialties and study tools. Africa as a residing Laboratory is a far-reaching research of the thorny courting among imperialism and the function of medical expertise—environmental, clinical, racial, and anthropological—in the colonization of British Africa.

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Extra info for Africa as a Living Laboratory: Empire, Development, and the Problem of Scientific Knowledge, 1870-1950

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Unless we consider all these dynamics in a single frame, we risk doing a serious disservice to the historical record. Chapter one considers the multifaceted preoccupations of geographical societies and the field expeditions they sponsored in tropical Africa. Had these societies not proliferated so rapidly across Europe at the end of the nineteenth century and had their membership not superseded those of other scientific societies, it seems unlikely that the juridical partition of tropical Africa would have begun when (and where) it did.

Interpretations of science and empire have thus concentrated on three central issues: the power colonialism conferred on science, the ways in which sciences were used as “tools of empire,” and the agency of non-European peoples and places to reshape the sciences. For those who examine these complexities in historical contexts, one of the major theoretical and methodological questions hinges on the commensurability of divergent knowledge systems. 48 Ideas operate for different ends in different systems and cannot be translated smoothly from one system to another.

7 Although the Royal Society had sponsored small-scale studies of malaria and disease-carrying tsetse flies in the 1890s, its Sleeping Sickness Commissions launched between 1902 and 1914 represented its first large-scale undertaking within the continent itself. 8 Likewise, the leadership of the Royal Anthropological Institute and the British Museum expressed some interest in African ethnography prior to the 1890s, but it took an outsider to the profession, Mary Kingsley, to popularize the idea that the sociocultural aspects of African societies deserved greater attention.

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