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Semester 1

Science and Empire: from Enlightenment to Decolonisation, 1750-1965 (HIST10434)







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Visiting students must have completed at least 3 History courses at grade B or above. We will only consider University/College level courses. Applicants should note that, as with other popular courses, meeting the minimum academic entry requirements does NOT guarantee admission. **Please note that 3rd year History courses have extremely limited spaces available, and are very popular, so students cannot be guaranteed a space in any 3rd year History course.** These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the History department directly to request additional spaces.

Course Summary

This honours course will introduce the relationship between science and imperialism from the late eighteenth century to the era of independence in the 1960s. Students will examine the relationship between scientific knowledge and imperial expansion and decline. A key theme running through the course will be the influence of scientific ideas on the interaction between colonial subjects and metropolitan powers.

Course Description

This course aims to introduce students to the themes and methods of the history of science with specific reference to imperialism and the development of colonial empires. To achieve this aim we will examine a variety of scientific disciplines, spaces and time periods, from roughly 1750 until the 1960s. We will consider examples from the main colonial empires of the period including, Britain, France, Portugal, Germany and the United States. Students will be introduced to key approaches and trends in the historiography of science. The seminar portions of the course will involve working with primary source material, with students introducing sources and discussing their interpretation. Primary sources from the later period (i.e., the twentieth century) may include video and audio resources. Our concerns in this course will include: - Past and current trends in the historiography of science and empire; - How science as a social institution was influenced, and was influenced by, imperialism and colonialism; - Race, Darwin and imperialism; - Relationships between scientific knowledge and colonial power; - The role of local knowledge as a contributor or challenger to 'Western' science; - History of development schemes in colonies and the necessity of understanding this history for current development policy and analysis.

Assessment Information

Written Exam 0%, Coursework 80%, Practical Exam 20%

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