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Africa as a Living LaboratoryEmpire, Development, and the Problem of Scientific Knowledge, 1870-1950$
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Helen Tilley

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780226803463

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226803487.001.0001

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An Imperial Laboratory

An Imperial Laboratory

Scientific Societies, Geopolitics, and Territorial Acquisitions

(p.31) Chapter One An Imperial Laboratory
Africa as a Living Laboratory
University of Chicago Press

This chapter addresses the multifaceted preoccupations of geographical societies and the field expeditions they sponsored in tropical Africa, showing the longevity of concern for the development of Africa and the integral part scientists played in forming its epistemological content. It is believed that naturalists and scientists of all sorts would be important players in the “opening up” of Africa. Complicating the inherent tensions between multinational and national rights was the problem of how to set limits on geographical expeditions and scientific activities. The national jealousies and the impetus to seize lands that British officials had feared soon materialized. The African Society's objective to assess “indigenous” culture and institutions would thus help to “disperse many errors and dispel many illusions”.

Keywords:   tropical Africa, multinational rights, national rights, geographical expeditions, national jealousies, African Society

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