Skip to content

Research project

Contesting Early Modern Globalism: Exploring an Anti-Globalist perspective in History of Science

Over the last fifteen years the history of the science of the modern era – and particularly of the 18th century – has taken a global turn, expanding the discipline’s horizon of interests. While this turn was initially manifested in a “science and empires” framework and the history of the globalisation of the scientific revolution, an increasing degree of sophistication led to a greater focus on local contexts, trans-imperial trajectories, connections and the local and transnational intermediaries involved in the mobility of science. Starting with the premises that Early Modern scientific authority and credit were made also by conflicts and controversies in and out Europe, the project aims at exploring the tensions within (or surrounding) the Empires of science (being Iberian, Dutch, French, British, Danish) by paying attention to skeptical travelers and their alternative epistemology of science based on the 'cunning of uncertainty' (Nowotny). Far from being neutral, these scholars paved the way for an anti-globalist vision challenging both catholic and absolutist imperial projects. From North America to South-India, from Egypt to Persia, passing by the Levant, Japan and China, they used a vast range of scientific practices (from cartography to natural history, from antiquarianism to astronomy and chemistry) to question the new orders of knowledge and informations. The project will focus in a comparative perspective on the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries.

Go back to top of the page