Re-post from H-Environment
We are looking for participants for our ESEH 2017 panel "Empires of Knowledge. Environments Between the Colony and the Globe."
Empires of Knowledge. Environments Between the Colony and the Globe
During what has been termed the long nineteenth century the practices of scientific research have been affected by radical changes in scope and scale that brought with them a transformation of the Earth into a world of lines, definitions, criteria, data, and taxonomies. The drive towards an increased standardization of data and metrics and the professionalization of scientific endeavors went hand in hand with new conceptions of environments – or indeed the global environment in the singular – as connected, interdependent, fragile, and malleable. These parallel developments were embedded in a new wave of explorations, the crystallization of new institutional frameworks, new technologies of communication and analysis, and the nature of imperial power relations. Economic and political reasons alike stood behind the imperial and colonial endeavors of the time and consequently influenced both the development of science and new visions of the environment.
New scholarly networks and infrastructures, encompassing an increasing number of nation-states, regions, and colonies were, indeed, needed to make it possible to collect data and specimens on the scale required to finally envision the whole world as one, while also helping states and colonial administrations to make it more legible and manageable. How this new system of scientific data production was deployed depended however, quite naturally, on existing political, economic, and social conditions, in particular with respect to the role of existing and developing transnational and global tensions. This panel aims to look specifically at the role of empires, world politics, and the revolutionarily global dimensions of nineteenth century science in determining how new conceptions of environments beyond the local scale developed – be they regional, continental, oceanic, or planetary.