The history of science beyond Europe has traditionally been understood through heroic narratives of discovery and exploration. But in the early modern Atlantic world, it was commercial travel, back and forth across the ocean to the "New World," that made new knowledge of all kinds.
Science and Empire in the Atlantic World is the first book to examine the making of scientific knowledge in the early modern Americas from a comparative and international perspective. Twelve essays from leading scholars range from the science of navigation in Seville to the creation of medical knowledge in Brazil, from experiments with electricity in British America to the practice of Mesmerism in Haiti. Connecting Atlantic history with the history of science, the chapters explore how knowledge and the colonial order were made together, through complex interactions between metropolitan travelers, Creole settlers, Amerindians, and African slaves.
Re-orienting our view of knowledge's movement along the networks between center and periphery, Science and Empire in the Atlantic World shows just how challenging it was to make knowledge - and impose control - at a distance.
James Delbourgo is Assistant Professor of History and Chair of History and Philosophy of Science at McGill University. He is the author of A Most Amazing Scene of Wonders: Electricity and Enlightenment in Early America.
Nicholas Dew is Assistant Professor of History at McGill University, where he teaches early modern European history and history of science. He is the author of Orientalism in Louis XIV's France.