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FORUM: A WORLD OF IDEAS: NEW PATHWAYS IN GLOBAL INTELLECTUAL HISTORY, C.1880–1930*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 July 2013

STEFANIE GÄNGER
Affiliation:
Department of History, University of Konstanz E-mail: stefanie.gaenger@uni-konstanz.de
SU LIN LEWIS
Affiliation:
Department of History, University of Birmingham E-mail: S.Lewis.2@bham.ac.uk

Extract

This forum explores new directions in global intellectual history, engaging with the methodologies of global and transnational history to move beyond conventional territorial boundaries and master narratives. The papers focus on the period between the last decades of the nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth, an era in which the growth of cities, burgeoning print cultures and new transport and communications technology enabled the accelerated circulation and exchange of ideas throughout the globe. The proliferation of conferences, world fairs, and international congresses, the growing professionalization and definition of academic disciplines, and the enhanced circulation of scholarly journals and correspondence enabled intellectuals around the world to converse in shared vocabularies. Much of the scholarship on early twentieth-century intellectual history in the non-Western world has been viewed through the binary relationships of metropole and colony, or as nationalist reactions to colonial domination. This cluster widens the framework to consider the way in which intellectuals formed scholarly networks and gathered multiple influences to articulate new visions of community and society within a wider world of ideas. The multiplicity of imperial and transnational pathways allowed not only for “centers of calculation” in colonial metropoles, but also for points of convergence and encounter outside Europe. As these papers show, the routes by which ideas travelled brought forth a global republic of letters, composed of diverse “centers” for the collection and production of knowledge by intellectuals operating in different parts of the world.

Type
Forum: A World of Ideas: New Pathways in Global Intellectual History, c.1880–1930
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2013 

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Footnotes

*

We are grateful to Andrew Arsan for his comments on multiple versions of this piece.

References

1 Bayly, Christopher A., The Birth of the Modern World, 1780–1914: Global Connections and Comparisons (Oxford, 2004)Google Scholar.

2 We draw inspiration from advances in global intellectual history in recent years particular in the field of Latin American studies and South Asian history. For Latin America, studies on Creole intellectual circuits and the history of Iberian science are a burgeoning field. See, for instance, Bleichmar, Daniela, Vos, Paula de, Huffine, Kristin and Sheehan, Kevin, Science in the Spanish and Portuguese Empires, 1500–1800 (Stanford, 2009)Google Scholar, Pimentel, Juan, “The Iberian Vision: Science and Empire in the Framework of a Universal Monarchy, 1500–1800”, Osiris, 15 (2000), 1730Google Scholar, Esguerra, Jorge Cañizares, “Iberian Colonial Science”, Isis 96 (2005), 6470Google Scholar. For the South Asian context see Kapila, Shrutiet al., An Intellectual History for India, MIH 4/1 (2007)Google Scholar; Manjapra, Kris and Bose, S. Majapra, Cosmopolitan Thought Zones: South Asia and the Global Circulation of Ideas (Basingstoke, 2010)Google Scholar; Sartori, Andrew, Bengal in Global Concept History: Culturalism in the Age of Capital (Chicago, 2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

3 Bruno Latour's concept of the “centre of calculation” refers to a metropolitan center that possesses the power to maintain a cycle of accumulation through a wide network of individuals and institutions. See Latour, B., Science in Action: How to Follow Scientists and Engineers through Society (Cambridge, 1987)Google Scholar. For an application of the concept to the Indian intellectual context see Nair, Savithri Preetha, “Native Collecting and Natural Knowledge (1798–1832): Raja Serfoji II of Tanjore as a ‘Centre of Calculation’”, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 15 (2005), 279302Google Scholar.

4 On the appropriation of scientific practices and networks see especially Roberts, Lissa, “Situating Science in Global History: Local Exchanges and Networks of Circulation”, Itinerario 33 (2009), 930Google Scholar.

5 Moyn, Samuel and Sartori, Andrew, “Approaches to Global Intellectual History,” in Moyn, and Sartori, , eds., Global Intellectual History (New York, 2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

6 Secord, James A., “Knowledge in Transit”, Isis 95 (2004), 654–72Google Scholar. For recent attempts at writing a social history of knowledge production for Latin America see, for instance, Safier, Neil, Measuring the New World: Enlightenment Science and South America (Chicago and London, 2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar. On the role of friendship in global intellectual history see Gandhi, Leela, Affective Communities: Anticolonial Thought, Fin-de-Siècle Radicalism, and the Politics of Friendship (Durham, 2006)Google Scholar; Smith, Vanessa, Intimate Strangers: Friendship, Exchange and Pacific Encounters (Cambridge, 2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

7 For one recent critical discussion of the “mobility bias” in global history see Rockefeller, Stuart A., “Flow,” Current Anthropology 52 (2011), 557–78Google Scholar.

8 As Sujit Sivasundaram points out, inspired by Bruno Latour's work, networks have had a major impact on the history of science, allowing for the possibility of moving beyond centers and peripheries. See Sivasundaram, S., “Sciences and the Global: On Methods, Questions, and Theory”, Isis (2010), 146–58Google Scholar.

9 In this sense, it follows in the wake of a recent collective volume discussing “go-betweens.” See, for instance, Schaffer, Simon, Roberts, Lissa, Raj, Kapil, and Delbourgo, James, “Introduction,” in Schaffer, S., Roberts, L., Raj, K. and Delbourgo, J., eds., The Brokered World: Go-Betweens and Global Intelligence, 1770–1820 (Sagamore Beach, 2009), xivGoogle Scholar.

10 On “fragmenting” traditions of knowledge see Sivasundaram, “Sciences and the Global.”

9
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FORUM: A WORLD OF IDEAS: NEW PATHWAYS IN GLOBAL INTELLECTUAL HISTORY, C.1880–1930*
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