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Sciences and the Global: On Methods, Questions, and Theory

Sujit Sivasundaram
Isis
Vol. 101, No. 1 (March 2010), pp. 146-158
DOI: 10.1086/652694
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/652694
Page Count: 13
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Sciences and the Global: On Methods, Questions, and
Theory
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Abstract

ABSTRACT This essay explores the mechanics of researching and writing globally oriented histories of science. Thinking about how to approach sources is vital, especially given how often historians of science use the excuse of a lack of sources for constraining their projects to European topics. The first section suggests a method of cross-contextualization, where scarce and unorthodox sources are read within and alongside more plentiful and traditional ones. The next section considers historiography, critiquing the continuing hold of the terms “colonial” and “national” in current work that aspires to be more global. The final section considers practice and network theory, asking whether the way we utilize these tools in fact returns us, instinctively, to European and Eurocentric ways of conceiving how science works.

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