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Earth scientists as time travelers and agents of colonial conquest: Swiss naturalists in the Dutch East Indies

Erdwissenschafter als Zeitreisende und Akteure des Kolonialismus: Schweizer Naturforschende in Niederländisch-Ostindien
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Schär, Bernhard C.

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Abstract This case study on two Swiss naturalists illustrates some of the ways scientific exploration of planet earth was connected to imperial conquest in the Dutch East Indies at around 1900. Looking for answers for zoogeographical problems on the island of Celebes the Swiss benefited from and enabled Dutch colonial invasion of the island. The case illustrates that the Dutch empire was a site of scientific competition among a transnational community of scholars. Finally, the case illustrates how scientific knowledge on planet earth was shaped by and contributed to colonial culture.
Keywords natural scientist; colonialism; Indonesia
Classification General History; Natural Science and Engineering, Applied Sciences
Free Keywords postcolonial history; Paul Sarasin; Fritz Sarasin; transnational understanding of Empire
Document language English
Publication Year 2015
Page/Pages p. 67-80
Journal Historical Social Research, 40 (2015) 2
Issue topic Climate and beyond: knowledge production about the earth as a signpost of social change
ISSN 0172-6404
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works