The Postcolonial Science and Technology Studies Reader

The Postcolonial Science and Technology Studies Reader

Book Pages: 504 Illustrations: 3 maps, 3 figures, 3 tables Published: September 2011

Gender and Sexuality > Feminism and Women’s Studies, Postcolonial and Colonial Studies, Science and Technology Studies > History of Technology

For twenty years, the renowned philosopher of science Sandra Harding has argued that science and technology studies, postcolonial studies, and feminist critique must inform one another. In The Postcolonial Science and Technology Studies Reader, Harding puts those fields in critical conversation, assembling the anthology that she has long wanted for classroom use. In classic and recent essays, international scholars from a range of disciplines think through a broad array of science and technology philosophies and practices. The contributors reevaluate conventional accounts of the West’s scientific and technological projects in the past and present, rethink the strengths and limitations of non-Western societies’ knowledge traditions, and assess the legacies of colonialism and imperialism. The collection concludes with forward-looking essays, which explore strategies for cultivating new visions of a multicultural, democratic world of sciences and for turning those visions into realities. Feminist science and technology concerns run throughout the reader and are the focus of several essays. Harding provides helpful background for each essay in her introductions to the reader’s four sections.

Helen Appleton
Karen Bäckstrand
Lucille H. Brockway
Stephen B. Brush
Judith Carney
Committee on Women, Population, and the Environment
Arturo Escobar
Maria E. Fernandez
Ward H. Goodenough
Susantha Goonatilake
Sandra Harding
Steven J. Harris
Betsy Hartmann
Cori Hayden
Catherine L. M. Hill
John M. Hobson
Peter Mühlhäusler
Catherine A. Odora Hoppers
Consuelo Quiroz
Jenny Reardon
Ella Reitsma
Ziauddin Sardar
Daniel Sarewitz
Londa Schiebinger
Catherine V. Scott
Colin Scott
Mary Terrall
D. Michael Warren


“The anthology lives up to its aspirations of providing an accessible compass to issues and questions that have been approached with a ‘‘postcolonial sensibility’’... By highlighting cross-connections between contributions of different sections, Harding succeeds in bringing the texts of diverse disciplinary backgrounds into conversation with each other and thus underscores the postcolonialist need for a trans-disciplinary cooperation.” — Anna Mohr, Science and Education

“…Harding has succeeded in representing great geographical variety and historical depth, making her compilation an important reference book in the field of STS.”  — Harry Yi-Jui Wu, East Asian Science, Technology and Society

“The book will serve admirably in classes for advanced undergraduates and graduate students in which the history and future of global science and technology policy are discussed.” — William Kelleher Story, Technology and Culture

“This magisterial, compelling, and important collection pushes the boundaries of postcolonial studies in urgent ways. It charts the richness and depth of knowledge systems across the non-Western world, delineating their differences from, contributions to, and marginalization by what is thought of as Western science. This book makes it impossible to ignore the interconnections between long histories of imperialism, the dynamics of the Cold War, and the asymmetries of globalization, or to isolate science from social relations. It also maps the ground on which we can imagine a different future.” — Ania Loomba, co-editor of South Asian Feminisms

The Postcolonial Science and Technology Studies Reader succeeds in mapping a new field of inquiry for those of us working in science and technology studies. This brilliant collection of essays successfully bridges postcolonialist and feminist approaches to science and technology studies and provides the foundation for essential transformations of curriculum and research in this area. The essays provoke examination of how different knowledge systems function, and they call into question who benefits and is disadvantaged by those systems. For those committed to the tenet that just societies require just practices of science, this collection is indispensable. No science and technology studies curriculum is complete without it.” — Nancy Tuana, Dupont/Class of 1949 Professor of Philosophy, Pennsylvania State University


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Sandra Harding is Professor of Education and Women’s Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her many books include Sciences from Below: Feminisms, Postcolonialities, and Modernities, also published by Duke University Press; The Feminist Standpoint Theory Reader: Intellectual and Political Controversies; Is Science Multicultural? Postcolonialisms, Feminisms, and Epistemologies; and The Science Question in Feminism.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Preface ix

Acknowledgments xv

Introduction. Beyond Postcolonial Theory: Two Undertheorized Perspectives on Science and Technology 1

I. Counterhistories 33

1. Discovering the Oriental West / John M. Hobson 39

2. Long-Distance Corporations, Big Sciences, and the Geography of Knowledge / Steven J. Harris 61

3. Heroic Narratives of Quest and Discovery / Mary Terrall 84

4. Maria Sibylla Merian: A Woman of Art and Science / Ella Reitsma 103

5. Prospecting for Drugs: European Naturalists in the West Indies / Londa Schiebinger 110

6. Science and Colonial Expansion: The Role of the British Royal Botanical Gardens / Lucille H. Brockway 127

7. Out of Africa: Colonial Rice History in the Black Atlantic / Judith Carney 140

II. Other Cultures' Sciences 151

8. Navigation in the Western Carolines: A Traditional Science / Ward H. Goodenough 159

9. Science for the West, Myth for the Rest? / Colin Scott 175

10. Ecolinguistics, Linguistic Diversity, Ecological Diversity / Peter Mühlhäusler 198

11. Gender and Indigenous Knowledge / Helen Appleton, Maria E. Fernandez, Catherine L. M. Hill, and Consuelo Quiroz 211

12. Whose Knowledge, Whose Genes, Whose Rights? / Stephen B. Brush 225

13. The Role of the Global Network of Indigenous Knowledge Resource Centers in the Conservation of Cultural and Biological Diversity / D. Michael Warren 247

III. Residues and Reinventions

14. Development and the Anthropology of Modernity / Arturo Escobar 269

15. Tradition and Gender in Modernization Theory / Catherine V. Scott 290

16. Security and Survival: Why Do Poor People Have Many Children? / Betsy Hartmann 310

17. Call for a New Approach / Committee on Women, Population, and the Environment 318

18. The Human Genome Diversity Project: What Went Wrong? / Jenny Reardon 321

19. Bioprospecting's Representational Dilemma / Cori Hayden 343

IV. Moving Forward: Possible Pathways 365

20. Islamic Science: The Contemporary Debate / Ziauddin Sardar 383

21. Mining Civilizational Knowledge / Susantha Goonatilake 380

22. Toward the Integration of Knowledge Systems: Challenges to Thought and Practice / Catherine A. Odora Hoppers 388

23. Human Well-Being and Federal Science: What's the Connection? / Daniel Sarewitz 403

24. Science in a Era of Globalization: Alternative Pathways / David J. Hess 419

25. Civic Science for Sustainability: Reframing the Role of Experts, Policymakers, and Citizens in Environmental Governance / Karen Bäckstrand 439

Copyright Acknowledgments 459

Index 463
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-4957-0 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-4936-5
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