By Helen Tilley
Tropical Africa was once one of many final areas of the realm to event formal ecu colonialism, a approach that coincided with the arrival of a number of new clinical specialties and study tools. Africa as a residing Laboratory is a far-reaching examine of the thorny courting among imperialism and the position of clinical expertise—environmental, clinical, racial, and anthropological—in the colonization of British Africa.
A key resource for Helen Tilley’s research is the African learn Survey, a venture undertaken within the Thirties to discover how glossy technology was once being utilized to African difficulties. This venture either embraced and prompt an interdisciplinary method of study on Africa that, Tilley argues, underscored the heterogeneity of African environments and the interrelations one of the difficulties being studied. whereas the purpose of British colonialists used to be undoubtedly to rework and modernize Africa, their efforts, Tilley contends, have been frequently unexpectedly subverted by means of medical issues with the neighborhood and vernacular. Meticulously researched and gracefully argued, Africa as a dwelling Laboratory transforms our knowing of imperial heritage, colonial improvement, and the function technology performed in both.
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Extra info for Africa as a Living Laboratory: Empire, Development, and the Problem of Scientific Knowledge, 1870-1950
In contrast, this book demonstrates that processes of knowledge production subversive of the status quo could emanate directly from epicenters of colonial power in Britain and tropical Africa. 77 We need not lose sight of the exploitative nature of colonialism or endorse previous scientiﬁc perspectives to see that their interactions played a role in undermining colonialism. During the 1920s and 1930s many certainties regarding industrialization, agriculture, labor, natural resources, and human identities were destabilized.
But their commentary and observations often inadvertently drew attention to its injustices. Even as they helped to reify ethnic and tribal identities and codify assumptions about authentic versus invalid patterns of social organization, they brought questions of Africans’ agency, autonomy, and knowledge to the forefront. More than any other ﬁeld science, anthropological research helped to challenge both cultural and cognitive absolutes, leaving the door open for pluralistic perspectives of all kinds.
In fact, by the early twentieth century scientists and politicians involved in imperial affairs were beginning to challenge racial categories more systematically, with policy makers expressing concerns about racial bias, antipathy, hatred, and prejudice and scientists challenging race as a conceptual system for differentiating among human groups. Chapter ﬁve examines these dual dynamics, exploring the mixed fortunes of racial pol- 30 / Introduction itics and racial science, and illustrates just how ambivalent imperial authorities were about privileging race as a primary prism for settling colonial questions.
Africa as a Living Laboratory: Empire, Development, and the Problem of Scientific Knowledge, 1870-1950 by Helen Tilley