Science in the Spanish and Portuguese Empires, 1500-1800

Science in the Spanish and Portuguese Empires, 1500-1800

Science in the Spanish and Portuguese Empires, 1500-1800

Science in the Spanish and Portuguese Empires, 1500-1800

Synopsis

This collection of essays is the first book published in English to provide a thorough survey of the practices of science in the Spanish and Portuguese empires from 1500 to 1800. Authored by an interdisciplinary team of specialists from the United States, Latin America, and Europe, the book consists of fifteen original essays, as well as an introduction and an afterword by renowned scholars in the field. The topics discussed include navigation, exploration, cartography, natural sciences, technology, and medicine. This volume is aimed at both specialists and non-specialists, and is designed to be useful for teaching. It will be a major resource for anyone interested in colonial Latin America.

Excerpt

This volume represents the first English-language anthology of essays by multiple authors that is devoted exclusively to the practices of science in the Spanish and Portuguese empires. the collection covers a wide geographic and chronological range, from Iberia to Latin America to Asia and the Pacific Rim, and from the end of the fifteenth to the beginning of the nineteenth century. the book’s main purpose is to show that the Spanish and Portuguese empires were active participants in the practices of science during the early modern period. in this way, it provides a much needed study of the Spanish and Portuguese contributions to the Scientific Revolution in Europe and abroad, a topic about which very little has been published in English, despite its importance for scholars and for students in the university classroom. Similarly, although in the past few decades the complex relationship between science and empire has received enormous attention from specialists in a wide range of fields, the vast majority of studies have focused on the French, German, and British colonies, while the Iberian colonial experience has received remarkably little treatment in Anglophone literature.

The idea for putting together this volume originated with two different panel presentations on Iberian imperial science on which several of the contributors participated, one at the History of Science Society’s annual meeting in 2002 and the other at the Latin American Studies Association conference of 2003. the enthusiastic response we received for both presentations encouraged us to proceed with this volume. We were further convinced by the fact that over the last ten years, several writers surveying the existing literature on colonial and imperial science have decried the lack of publication on the Iberian cases and emphasized their crucial importance for redressing imbalances and promoting a more global understanding of the development of early modern science. in addition, the proliferation of programs and course offerings in Latin American history and literature, world history, cultural studies . . .

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