This excellent interdisciplinary history by distinguished historians of rural (Beinart) and intellectual (Dubow) South Africa covers most branches of science throughout the last three centuries. Early chapters trace the rise of modern science among eighteenth-century Cape Enlightenment travelers to the emergence of scientific governance rooted in colonial institutions, and then to technological innovation in mining and agriculture. Later chapters treat the apartheid (1948–1990) and post–apartheid periods. Botany, zoology, agriculture, mining, and astronomy are common threads across most chapters. South African plants and animals intrigued Europeans, who later exploited its rich natural resources; the geographical location made it an important site for stellar observations. Science, which was crucial for imperial conquest, was misused to propagate racist theories such as eugenics, segregation, and apartheid, although some scientists used their knowledge to speak out against racism. The final chapter sensitively covers the development of the new scientific institutions that arose after apartheid and...
The Scientific Imagination in South Africa: 1700 to the Present by William Beinart and Saul Dubow
Peter Limb; The Scientific Imagination in South Africa: 1700 to the Present by William Beinart and Saul Dubow. The Journal of Interdisciplinary History 2022; 53 (1): 179–181. doi: https://doi.org/10.1162/jinh_r_01824
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