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Overview

The story of African scientists in the 19th and 20th centuries, and how European science was shaped by colonial and postcolonial contexts.

The story of the historical relationship between science and empire is often told in brushstrokes, with scientists who originated from outside Europe being relegated to supporting roles. In recent years this approach has been challenged both inside and outside the academy, with scholars and journalists alike calling for more studies which seek to understand the proactive roles played by individual scientists who originated from indigenous colonial communities.

This conference responds to this important concern within the history of science by highlighting the lives and careers of African scientists who lived during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The papers address how scientists from Africa who were Black, indigenous, or other people of colour defined 'science' and how they drew from local knowledge about the natural world and the human body. The overarching aim is to create new routes of historical enquiry that afford deeper insight into the personal and professional ways in which European science was shaped by colonial and postcolonial contexts.

Conference organiser: Professor Matthew Daniel Eddy, Durham University.

Attending this event