By Helen Tilley
Tropical Africa was once one of many final areas of the area to event formal ecu colonialism, a strategy that coincided with the arrival of a variety of new clinical specialties and examine equipment. Africa as a residing Laboratory is a far-reaching learn of the thorny courting among imperialism and the function of medical expertise—environmental, clinical, racial, and anthropological—in the colonization of British Africa.
A key resource for Helen Tilley’s research is the African examine Survey, a venture undertaken within the Thirties to discover how smooth technological know-how used to be being utilized to African difficulties. This undertaking either embraced and steered an interdisciplinary method of learn on Africa that, Tilley argues, underscored the heterogeneity of African environments and the interrelations one of the difficulties being studied. whereas the purpose of British colonialists used to be surely to rework and modernize Africa, their efforts, Tilley contends, have been usually without warning subverted through medical issues with the neighborhood and vernacular. Meticulously researched and gracefully argued, Africa as a residing Laboratory transforms our figuring out of imperial historical past, colonial improvement, and the position technological know-how performed in both.
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Additional info for Africa as a Living Laboratory: Empire, Development, and the Problem of Scientific Knowledge, 1870-1950
A new chapter in the history of African exploration now commences. The division of the continent between the various nations is almost complete; the preliminary exploration of the ground follows in the footsteps of giants; scientiﬁc study succeeds it and development (mise en valeur) begins. —Henri Schirmer, “La géographie de l’Afrique,” 1892 In the autumn of 1916, a small group of academics, administrators, and politicians met in London to commemorate the ﬁfteenth anniversary of the founding of Britain’s Royal African Society.
Theories try to say how the world is. Experiment and subsequent technology change the world. We represent and we intervene. ”51 This book explores the points at which “representations” turned into “interventions,” as theory and research were applied in practice. Deﬁned in this way, interventions, including development projects, are part of an ongoing process of knowledge formation and reproduction. ”52 Yet they were states of a particular kind, legally subordinate on the international stage and dependent on imperial authority for their governance.
Signiﬁcant research had previously been undertaken in tropical Africa during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, particularly in geology, botany, medicine, and zoology, and a few individuals had asked similar theoretical questions about Africa. Yet these antecedents differed from developments at the end of the nineteenth century in both their scope and scale. 1 Number of geographical societies by region Location 1870 1890 Europe Asia North Africa North America Central and South America Australia 12 1 0 1 2 0 99 3 3 3 5 2 Total 16 115 Note: The societies in North Africa included one in Egypt founded by the Khédive Isma’il (1875) and two in Algeria, founded in Oran (1878) and Algiers (1879).
Africa as a Living Laboratory: Empire, Development, and the Problem of Scientific Knowledge, 1870-1950 by Helen Tilley