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ABSTRACT This introductory essay discusses the origins of current interest in performances and performativity in the history of science as an outcome of the concern with understanding science as practice that emerged from the 1980s onward. The language of performance, it suggests, provides useful analytic tools for historians of science because it focuses our attention on the bodies of practitioners, their embodied practices, and their presentation of self to different audiences. It provides a new approach to understanding the politics of knowledge production and dissemination. Lastly, the essay suggests, the emphasis on performance invites us to develop new, nontextual strategies for representing our own researches.
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