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Postcolonial narratives of modern science in the making : the exchange of scientific knowledge between India and Europe (1700-1950)

Postkoloniale Beschreibungen der entstehenden modernen Wissenschaft: der Austausch wissenschaftlichen Wissens zwischen Indien und Europa (1700-1950)
[conference paper]

Raina, Dhruv

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Corporate Editor Deutsche Gesellschaft für Soziologie (DGS)
Abstract "Postcolonial theory of science professes to mark a departure in the way science and modernity in non-Western regions is either narrativised or discussed. This papertakes up the particular case of India, and proposes that over the last two and a half centuries three frames have historically been available for the understanding of science and modernity. These broad historical frames are those of orientalism, nationalism and post-colonialism. Each of these in turn is marked by a multiplicity of investigative themes and theories. This paper specifically looks at historical writing on the subject of science and modernity in India, the historiographic and thematic variations and differences marking these broad frames. Further, it explores the continuities and relationships both in theme and theory between this multiplicity of theories of science and Indian modernity. For it becomes evident that what we have is a criss-crossing of genealogical lines across the three frames, rather than a distinct evolution along each of the registers of the triptych. Thus the nationalist discourse on science in India itself emerges out of different strands of Orientalist scholarship. Nationalist historiography of the pre-colonial period itself is fractured along several lines, though each of them shares the same theory of science. In the post-colonial accounts, which are themselves informed by the nationalist historiographie(s) of the previous periods, thisborder-crossing is complicated by the crumbling of the positivist theory of science and the emergence of embodied conceptions of science and scientific knowledge." (author's abstract)
Keywords Europe; India; knowledge; science; scientific progress; history of science; knowledge transfer; colonization; colonialism; colony; nationalism; modernization; South Asia; developing country; Asia
Classification Sociology of Science, Sociology of Technology, Research on Science and Technology; Social History, Historical Social Research
Method descriptive study; historical
Collection Title Soziale Ungleichheit, kulturelle Unterschiede: Verhandlungen des 32. Kongresses der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Soziologie in München. Teilbd. 1 und 2
Editor Rehberg, Karl-Siegbert
Conference 32. Kongress der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Soziologie "Soziale Ungleichheit - kulturelle Unterschiede". München, 2004
Document language English
Publication Year 2006
Publisher Campus Verl.
City Frankfurt am Main
Page/Pages p. 4306-4315
ISBN 3-593-37887-6
Status Published Version; reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications