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Science without Empire: Science, Medicine, Scientific networks and the Danish Halle Mission in the Danish East Indies, 1770-1845


The project investigates the construction of science, medicine and scientific networks in colonial India in the period ca. 1770-1845 from a new perspective: the Danish Halle Mission and the Danish East Indies. Resent research has recognised that science and medicine were not neutral elements in the colonization but were used by the colonial powers to gain control of both the inhabitants and the environment of the colonies. However, the diffusion of science and medicine was not unidirectional from the European metropoles to the colonial peripheries. The production and spread of the so-called “colonial sciences”, which had a profound impact on the development of western society, was a much more complex process in which European and indigenous actors in the periphery had great significance. The colonised inhabitants often succeeded in reinterpreting and utilizing western science and medicine for their own purposes. The project will investigate these issues through four main objectives: - To establish all scientific and medical activities in and networks via the Danish East Indies in the period. On this basis to determine which groups participated in science, how they participated and what the intentions were behind their participation. - To investigate the networks connecting the scientific agents in the Danish East Indies to similar individuals and organisations in other parts of India and the rest of the world. On this basis to determine (using the method of Social Network Analysis) how these networks were structured and functioned. - To compare the characteristics of the scientific activities and network in the Danish East Indies with similar activities and networks based in other European colonies in India. On this basis to reveal the characteristics and results of ‘Science without Empire’. - To explore the special characteristics of religious international scientific networks by comparing the protestant Danish Halle missionaries of India with the Jesuits.

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Via Dei Roccettini 9
50014 Fiesole
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 154 254,02
Administrative Contact
Serena Scarselli (Ms.)