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Local, Global, and Transnational Perspectives on the History of Biology

  • Ana Barahona
Living reference work entry
Part of the Historiography of Science book series (HISTSC, volume 1)

Abstract

The transnational perspective in the history of science has pointed out the need to reconstruct cross-borders narratives that account for how the knowledge produced in developing countries forms part of international knowledge as it circulates in networks of collaboration. This perspective has enabled the production of narratives that go beyond the national framework through analysis of transnational participants and processes and has allowed new ways of thinking about the history of biology in national and regional contexts. This manuscript will focus on the influence that George Basalla’s diffusionist model had on historians of science working in non-US-European science, the abandonment of the nation as the unit of historical analysis, and finally, on the recent trends on the history of biology. When proposed in 1967, the diffusionist model of science offered a new tool for historical analysis that was comparative and transcultural, in which the local element was seen as relevant. Nevertheless, despite having opened a new agenda for the history of science, this model has shown serious historiographical limitations. At the end of the 20 th Century, the center-periphery perspective in the history of science was challenged, and recent studies have tried to introduce a different point of view in which the dynamic of scientific practices and the dismantling of imperial projects are the subjects of historical scrutiny. Recent scholarship has shown that the transnational perspective allows to escape from the tension between the local and the global, and to assume a wider narrative beyond national borders. This shift has allowed giving a richer account of knowledge on the move.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universidad Nacional Autonoma de MexicoMexico CityMexico

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