Spaces of Knowledge

How and to what extent do space and place influence the production of scientific knowledge, the process of its dissemination, and the establishment of what constitutes ‘truth’ and ‘scientific fact?’ To what extent do local circumstances and geographical contingencies play a role in what constitutes knowledge and what counts as scientific fact? Space, location, and place have long been denied any central importance in studies of the production of scientific knowledge. Science, facts, and truth were deemed to be neutral vis-à-vis their site of production and consumption. Since the 1980s, however, this view has come under intense scrutiny.

In 2005, David Livingstone, professor of geography and intellectual history at the Queen’s University of Belfast, asserted that science studies were undergoing a ‘geographical turn.’171 In fact, a ‘spatial turn’ in the history of science had been well under way by then.172 Scholars had been turning towards the specific sites and contexts in which science was produced – concrete localities as well as territorialities (in the case of open field work). Such spatial dimensions had to be taken into account in the reconstruction of the making of knowledge and the establishment of scientific facts.

Historians of the Enlightenment such as Dorinda Outram and Jan Golinski have pointed to the emergence of new spatial settings of knowledge production during the eighteenth century. Taking inspiration from Jürgen Habermas’ work on the changing nature of the public sphere during the eighteenth century, they explore spaces where science was widely discussed, such as cafés and learned societies.173 Other scholars such as Harold Dorn stress the historically changing culture(s) of science and the situatednesss of science in cultures. His study The Geography of Science (1991), moreover, highlighted environmental and material factors shaping the production of knowledge.174

The edited volume Making Space for Science, published in 1998, similarly reflected this emerging, spatially-minded research perspective. This volume brought together work by leading scholars of the history of science and knowledge. Among the contributors to this volume were Simon Schaffer and Ben Marsden. Their research had increasingly turned to topics ranging from scientific travellers and field observations, to the institutionalisation of professional chairs in Engineering and Mathematics in the mid nineteenth century. It had also come to take in the question of scientific credibility in classrooms and laboratories, physics laboratories in Victorian country houses, and the spatial organisation of astronomy observatories at Manchester University in the 1950s.175 These and other contributions echoed some of Livingstone’s central claims. These comprised, for example, the idea that scientific styles vary substantially between regions and places; that scientific projects and endeavours depend on politics’ commitment to science; and that scientific and learned societies differ from one another according to cultural and social factors.176

A most instructive marker of the state of spatially-oriented research in the history of science appeared in 2016 with the publication of A Companion to the History of Science.177 This volume left little room for doubt that the historical geography of science had made their mark on the field. It was edited by Bernard Lightman, professor of humanities, science, and technology at York University, Toronto. The volume’s historiographical overview addresses the social construction of scientific knowledge, practice and materiality, the circulation of knowledge, and questions of scale. Empirical chapters focus on scientific actors on the move, such as travelling scientists, and it also casts (amateur) scientists as ‘cultural brokers’ and ‘go-betweens’ of places and cultures. Other chapters zoom in on specific places of knowledge production. These include the early modern court, academies, the household, the observatory, and the university.178 As the Companion amply demonstrates, space has come to serve as an analytical category for the historicization of knowledge production. Moreover, it also provides a key concept for making sense of sites of consumption and dissemination of knowledge in museums, zoological gardens, world’s fairs and other public spaces.179

Important inspiration for these spatial approaches to the history of knowledge came from French scholarship. As mentioned in the introduction to Doing Spatial History, the French philosopher and historian of science Michel Foucault was of great significance here. His work on hospitals and psychiatry emphasised the role of specific institutional settings in the production of medical knowledge. In works such as The Order of Things (1970, French 1966) and The Archaeology of Knowledge (1972, French 1969), Foucault also questioned the assumption of a linear, teleological, and progressive development of knowledge. Instead, he argued that scientific thought and academic disciplines went through epistemic breaks and shifts (for instance, during the seventeenth century).180

Another key figure has been Bruno Latour, a philosopher, anthropologist, and sociologist of science. Latour is best-known as one of the early proponents of actor-network-theory (ANT). He has also been a major reference point with respect to questions around the institutions of scientific knowledge production. In 1979, Latour and Steve Woolgar published Laboratory Life: The Social Construction of Scientific Facts. The two authors carried out an anthropological investigation of scientists at Roger Guillemin’s laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. They approached the Salk researchers as a foreign ‘tribe,’ and interviewed them in this spirit. Latour and Woolgar showed how, in many respects, a laboratory culture follows unwritten rules and modes of conduct – as does any other culture in a specific place or setting. In terms of the laboratory, these unwritten rules centred on data collection, the manufacturing of ‘raw material,’ and the production of research papers.181

Latour’s Science in Action (1987) and The Pasteurization of France (1988) made a profound impact on the otherwise largely Anglophone field of the history of science. As Latour shows, Louis Pasteur’s scientific discovery of microbes has multiple spatial implications. First, microbes are analysed as (non-human) actors in their own right. They need their own experimental spatial arrangements. Observations of microbes take place in specifically arranged and constructed laboratory settings. These serve as ‘rooms,’ in which knowledge is produced and a microbe defined. Furthermore, the laboratory setting serves as a ‘theatre of proof’ to a scientific audience and wider public.182

Latour also laid bare the extent to which, in late nineteenth-century France, the acceptance of a novel scientific fact followed a geographically uneven trajectory. Rejection or acceptance frequently proceeded according to ideological, religious or other factors. Both the production and dissemination of scientific facts were uneven and variegated processes. Site, place, and cultural situatedness played an important role.183

When Latour was working on these studies, Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer published Leviathan and the Air Pump (1985). This too has since become a classic. The book focuses on a seventeenth-century debate between Robert Boyle and Thomas Hobbes around the existence and features of the vacuum as a phenomenon. The authors show in great detail that spatial settings and arrangements mattered in the creation of ‘truth’ and ‘scientific fact.’ Laboratory science was more than just a source of ‘objective knowledge.’ It was also a place of spectacle, where experiments were witnessed by trustworthy ‘gentlemen scientists’ and members of learned societies such as the Royal Society in London.184

The analysis of the spatial settings of laboratories helped develop and differentiate previous explanations of the evolution of science. For example, Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962) followed the transition of periods of ‘normal science’ alongside accepted norms and parameters to relatively sudden ruptures over time. While Kuhn’s theory was more time- than space-oriented, his account identified distinct communities of science that operated according to their own internal codes of practice. These and other insights have been further elaborated by sociologist Thomas Gieryn. His concept of ‘truth-spots’ encapsulates the idea that science is not everywhere the same but differently defined and practiced both across time and space.185

If we seek to understand the new avenues that have helped answer spatial questions in the geography of science, then the move by sociologists of knowledge and institutions towards anthropology cannot be underestimated. Fieldwork has provided myriad cultural explanations for the study of ‘endangered knowledges’ and ‘cultures of knowledge.’186 The notion of the ‘field’ (Pierre Bourdieu) as a messy, uncontrollable site, and a relatively autonomous social space, has thus become an important analytical and heuristic tool for historians of science.187 Scholars have drawn on this concept in order to understand the specificity of local knowledge, or cultures of knowledge. We might think here of the work of Fredrik Barth, a Norwegian anthropologist, who explored knowledge in diverse societies and social settings from Indonesia to New Guinea in the 1970s and 1980s. Also relevant is Clifford Geertz’ notion of ‘local knowledge,’ which was later appropriated into spatially-informed histories of science.188

An account of the multi-faceted reorientation of the history of knowledge towards spatial questions would be incomplete without transnational and global history. From the early 2000s, both approaches have blossomed, as have related concepts ranging from ‘entangled history’ to ‘new imperial history.’ These have profoundly impacted the study of the history of science. From the start, transnational and global history emphasised the study of connections across territorial borders. The underlying notion and argument here is that polities, nations, empires, and cultures are not sealed-off containers. In fact, they are porous and, at least, partially shaped by the movement of people, and with them ideas, goods, and commodities.

Until the 1980s, historians tended to foreground the nation as the spatial framework for Enlightenment studies and the ‘Scientific Revolution,’ to name just two examples. However, transnational perspectives question the nation as the primary scale of investigation (though they do not necessarily deny its importance).189 With its emphasis on movement and connectivity (rather than spatial stasis), there is an inbuilt – yet often implicit – spatial momentum and dynamic in global and transnational history. Only more recently have scholars like Antje Dietze, Katja Naumann, and Ángel Alcalde made the link between space and transnational actors more explicit. They have called for an intensified focus on the arenas in which transnational actors operate, such as congresses or ‘epistemic communities.’190

Perspectives from both transnational and spatial history have merged to provide a most impactful springboard for historians of science. After all, explorers, travellers, and scientists all travel, as do ideas, instruments, and texts – if not entire laboratories. A key analytical perspective borrowed from transnational history is the concept of ‘circulation’ as proposed by Pierre-Yves Saunier.191 Circulation invites the historian to track the translocation of people, ideas, and (scientific) objects across space, place, and borders (state, linguistic, cultural), and to analyse their meaning in the new host society. Moreover, it is a call to trace local interactions in the ‘field’ between different actors involved in the (co-)production of medical, botanical, or cartographic knowledge.

Saunier comes from an urban history background. He does not regard the city as a closed space, but as open to external influences. He also views the city as an entity with the potential to radiate outwards.192 When Saunier discusses human and non-human connections, his theoretical borrowings from Bruno Latour are abundantly apparent. Indeed, in The Pasteurization of France, a key aspect of analysis was the very idea of the translocation and spatially contingent reappropriation of scientific knowledge. And yet, transnational history and the study of ‘circulations’ have taken this idea a step further. This has occurred both at the level of scales and beyond territorial borders.193

More traditional models tended to posit a diffusion of knowledge or ideas from a centre outward to a periphery. But in the wake of the intellectual developments sketched out above, these models have lost analytical traction.194 For instance, the nexus between colonialism and scientific knowledge (as power and a tool to run empires) has long been established.195 Historians of science, however, have asked more explicitly about the where and the how of knowledge production. Martha Few, for instance, has analysed the nature of medical knowledge about a smallpox epidemic in Guatemala, then a Spanish colony, around 1800. She shows how this knowledge was produced as needed on the ground. European notions of science and vaccination certainly played a role here. However, under locally specific circumstances and in the ‘field,’ Spanish doctors experimented with different vaccines and medications. They did so both in collaboration with and learning from Indigenous medics, and in the face of local resistance.196 As Londa Schiebinger has shown, local knowledge about the abortive potential of the peacock flower among Amerindians and enslaved women was largely ignored (or unseen) by European explorers and botanists. Transferred from its Caribbean origin, the plant held a primarily aesthetic value and quality in the context of European households and plant collectors.197

The vast spatial distance between botanists on both sides of the Atlantic or in far-away colonial outposts in the Caribbean posed both challenges and opportunities. As Sarah Easterby-Smith has demonstrated in Cultivating Commerce (2017), long distances gave leeway and thus agency to natural historians on the ground, whether in a colonial botanical garden or among female amateur scientists in England. At the same time, slow communication and the absence of face-to-face communication produced tension, if not mistrust. Distance, space, and a sense of locality thus place in question interpretations that regarded the production of colonial knowledge as a tightly controlled exercise from metropolitan centres.198

Such empirical examples pay close attention to the making of knowledge in often far-away locations and under culturally diverse circumstances. They represent a challenge to common ideas about what constituted European knowledge and the Enlightenment. Such forms of knowledge can, it seems, ultimately be better understood as hybridised products of both European and local, Indigenous knowledge. Indeed, locality and space, as well as the circulation of people, ideas, and objects, matter, in particular, for scholars working on the history of knowledge production in a postcolonial perspective. In Relocating Modern Science (2007), Kapil Raj draws on both Latour’s work on networks and on Saunier’s formulations around the circulation of people and practices in map making. Raj argues that, during the early modern period, ‘Western’ cartographic techniques were constantly reassembled, adapted, and reformulated in the process of cartographic practices in India. Imperial cartographic knowledge emerged from a constant negotiation between ‘power resistance, negotiation, and reconfiguration.’199

In 2008, Robert Kohler observed that the wave of ‘Lab History’ à la Latour may be fading away.200 But this judgement may have been premature. Katharina Kreuder-Sonnen has explored Polish bacteriologists such as Odo Bujwid, who studied with Robert Koch in Berlin and later Louis Pasteur in 1880s Paris. Kreuder-Sonnen investigates, in particular, how microbes, instruments, and sketches of laboratories travelled to Warsaw. In the early twentieth century, other places such as Kraków and Lemberg became key centres of Polish science and medicine.201 These and other scientific centres, from Athens to Barcelona and Dublin to Buenos Aires, were not marginal, imitative places of science, in the shadow of Paris or London. In fact, and as Oliver Hochadel and Agustí Nieto-Galan have shown, they were highly dynamic and innovative hubs of scientific knowledge in their own right.202 In regions like East Central Europe, scientific practices and places of learning, including universities and academies of science, became expressions and symbols of the respective nation, however embedded they were in transnational practices.203

Putting Science in Its Place

David Livingstone’s Putting Science in Its Place (2003) is a work of synthesis and offers an effective entry point to much of the scholarship discussed and hinted at above. It first explores some of the sites of scientific endeavour, not least the laboratory. Livingstone traces these from the basements of individual homes to the domain of the modern university. A recurring theme here is the interplay between private and public spaces, with scientists relying on the latter as a source of external validity for their otherwise rather solitary endeavours. In a bid to impress ‘the experimental public,’ the laboratory has even served as a theatrical space. Scientists have used laboratories to perform public ‘spectacles’ – though they sometimes considered such spectacles beneath their dignity. Even more so than laboratories, museums were strongly exposed to the public eye. Livingstone’s book shows that curators’ ‘mental geographies,’ i.e. the theories they adopted or co-produced, and the way they selected and arranged artefacts and specimens, did not always sit easily with audience expectations. At times, the museum became a veritable ‘arena of struggle.’204

Livingstone also turns his attention to hospitals and asylums, and their Janus-faced curative and disciplinary functions as ‘spaces of diagnosis.’ He illuminates the ways in which the very architecture of these regulatory spaces was designed to shape the intended, discipline-centred, morally charged social interaction unfolding within them. They served as ‘a sermon in bricks and mortar on the medical benefits of moral discipline.’205 As well as these brick-and-mortar spaces, Livingstone explores other, more mobile spaces of knowledge production, such as the ship and the tent. He also casts light on the surprising uses of the pub as a site of working-class amateur botany.

A particularly instructive section of Putting Science in Its Place considers the regionally constituted nature of scientific knowledge. Livingston does not adopt the deceptive rhetoric of a ‘European Scientific Revolution,’ which has tended to neglect the wealth of inspiration coming from outside of Europe. Instead, he makes a case for locating science along ‘spatio-temporal coordinates,’ from ‘Edinburgh science’ in Enlightenment Scotland to ‘Charleston science’ in antebellum America. In the case of the ‘Manchester model’ (Arnold Thackray), a new commercial elite directed its energies towards issues deemed relevant to the industrialised Victorian city. Air pollution and housing quality were of special significance here. In this way, new knowledge was generated and subsequently deployed for purposes of social reform. Furthermore, the reception of scientific theories was often dependent on regional factors. To illustrate these distinct ‘geographies of reading,’ Livingstone tells ‘a tale of three cities,’ a comparative account of how Darwinian evolution was sympathetically received by religious leaders in Presbyterian Edinburgh, just as it was spurned in both Princeton and Belfast, with their politically and religiously contrasting atmospheres.206

The circulation of knowledge is a further important focus of Livingstone’s book. It investigates, for instance, the ways in which knowledge was transferred home from distant places. It also considers the challenges posed in terms of the validity of knowledge and the trustworthiness of sources. As he observes, ‘distance and doubt have always been close companions.’ In order to alleviate the dependency on far-off witnesses, scientists resorted to drawings, as well as mapping and photographic techniques, in an attempt to ‘obliterate, as far as possible, the space between near and far, here and there, presence and absence.’207

At the outset of his book, Livingstone muses on whether ‘the craft competencies of the geographer, with an interest in space and place, [could] throw some light on the history of scientific enterprise.’ From the point of view of this volume, it would surely be beneficial if some of those ‘craft competencies’ were to rub off on historians. After all, scientific understanding, as a subject of historical enquiry, is indeed ‘always a view from somewhere.’208

  1. David N. Livingstone, ‘Science, Text and Space: Thoughts on the Geography of Reading,’ Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 30, 2005, 391-401; see also Diarmid A. Finnegan, ‘The Spatial Turn: Geographical Approaches in the History of Science,’ Journal of the History of Biology 41, 2008, 369-88; Simon Naylor, ‘Historical Geographies of Science: Places, Contexts, Cartographies,’ The British Journal for the History of Science 38, 2005, 1-12; Richard C. Powell, ‘Geographies of Science: Histories, Localities, Practices, Futures,’ Progress in Human Geography 31, 2007, 309-29; Pascal Schillings and Alexander van Wickeren, ‘Towards a Material and Spatial History of Knowledge Production,’ Historical Social Research 40, 2015, 203-18; as well as Christian Jacob, Qu’est-ce qu’un lieu de savoir?, Marseille: Open Edition Press, 2014; id. (ed.), Lieux de Savoir. Vol. 1: Espaces et Communités, Paris: Albin Michel, 2007; Hans-Jörg Rheinberger, Michael Hagner and Bettina Wahrig-Schmidt (eds.), Räume des Wissens: Repräsentation, Codierung, Spur, Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1997. The book series Knowledge and Space (Springer) was launched in 2008, first edited by Peter Meusburger (vols. 1-13, 2008-18), and since 2019 by Johannes Glückler (vols. 14-17, 2019-21).↩︎

  2. See, for instance, the earlier articles by David N. Livingstone, ‘The History of Science and the History of Geography: Interactions and Implications,’ History of Science 22, 1984, 271-302; id., ‘The Spaces of Knowledge: Contributions Towards a Historical Geography of Science,’ Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 13, 1995, 5-34.↩︎

  3. Dorinda Outram, The Enlightenment, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012, pp. 10-25; id., ‘New Spaces in Natural History,’ in Nicholas Jardine, James A. Secord and Emma C. Spary (eds.), Cultures of Natural History, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996, pp. 249-65; Jan Golinski, Science as Public Culture: Chemistry and Enlightenment in Britain, 1760-1820, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992; Jürgen Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society, Cambridge: Polity, 1989, German 1962; Thomas Broman, ‘The Habermasian Public Sphere and “Science in the Enlightenment,”’ History of Science 36, 1998, 123-49.↩︎

  4. Harold Dorn, The Geography of Science, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991; see also David N. Livingstone and Charles W.J. Withers (eds.), Geography and Enlightenment, Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1999; Charles W.J. Withers, Placing the Enlightenment: Thinking Geographically about the Age of Reason, Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2007; Charles W.J. Withers and Robert J Mayhew, ‘Geography: Space, Place and Intellectual History in the Eighteenth Century,’ Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies 34, 2011, 445-52; for an important methodological intervention, see Adi Ophir and Steven Shapin, ‘The Place of Knowledge: A Methodological Survey,’ Science in Context 4, 1991, 3-21.↩︎

  5. Crosbie Smith and Jon Agar (eds), Making Space for Science: Territorial Themes in the Shaping of Knowledge, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 1998; see also Adriana Craciun and Simon Schaffer (eds.), The Material Cultures of Enlightenment Arts and Sciences, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016; Ben Marsden, ‘Engineering Science in Glasgow: Economy, Efficiency and Measurement as Prime Movers in the Differentiation of an Academic Discipline,’ The British Journal for the History of Science 25, 1992, 319-46.↩︎

  6. On the variety of sites of knowledge see, for instance, Anne Secord, ‘Science in the Pub: Artisan Botanists in Early Nineteenth-Century Lancashire,’ History of Science 32, 1994, 269-315; Steven Shapin, ‘The House of Experiment in Seventeenth-Century England,’ Isis 79, 1988, 373-404; Jan Surman, Universities in Imperial Austria 1848-1918: A Social History of a Multilingual Space, West Lafayette: Purdue University Press, 2018; Simon Naylor, ‘The Field, the Museum and the Lecture Hall: The Spaces of Natural History in Victorian Cornwell,’ Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 27, 2002, 494-513; on nineteenth-century American lecture platforms, see now Diarmid A. Finnegan, The Voice of Science: British Scientists on the Lecture Circuit in Gilded Age America, Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021.↩︎

  7. Bernard Lightman (ed.), A Companion to the History of Science, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2016; see also the important volumes by David N. Livingstone and Charles W. J. Withers (eds.), Geographies of Nineteenth-Century Science, Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2011; Martin Mahony and Samuel Randalls (eds.), Weather, Climate, and the Geographical Imagination: Placing Atmospheric Knowledges, Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2020; Robert J. Mayhew and Charles W. J. Withers (eds.), Geographies of Knowledge: Science, Scale, and Spatiality in the Nineteenth Century, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2020; Simon Naylor and James R. Ryan (eds.), New Spaces of Exploration: Geographies of Discovery in the Twentieth Century, London and New York: I.B. Tauris, 2010; as well as the pathbreaking study by Felix Driver, Geography Militant: Cultures of Exploration and Empire, Oxford: Blackwell, 2001; and the more recent monograph by Johanna Skurnik, Making Geographies: The Circulation of British Geographical Knowledge of Australia, 1829-1863, Turku: University of Turku, 2017.↩︎

  8. Lightman (ed.), Companion to the History of Science; see also Lorraine Daston and Elizabeth Lunbeck (eds.), Histories of Scientific Observation, Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2011; on the household see Alix Cooper, ‘Homes and Households,’ in Katharine Park and Lorraine Daston (eds.), The Cambridge History of Science, vol. 3, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006, pp. 224-37; Mary Terrall, Catching Nature in the Act: Réaumur and the Practice of Natural History in the Eighteenth Century, Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2014.↩︎

  9. Ian Jared Miller, The Nature of the Beasts: Empire and Exhibition at the Tokyo Imperial Zoo, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013; Kirk A. Denton, Exhibiting the Past: Historical Memory and the Politics of Museums in Postsocialist China, Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2014; Kendall H. Brown, ‘Fair Japan: Japanese Gardens at American World’s Fairs, 1876–1940,’ SiteLINES: A Journal of Place 4/1, 2008, 13–16; Christian Tagsold, Spaces in Translation: Japanese Gardens and the West, Philadelphia: University of Philadelphia Press, 2017; Mauricio Tenorio-Trillo, Mexico at the World’s Fairs: Crafting a Modern Nation, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996.↩︎

  10. From the perspective of historical and cultural geography, see Chris Philo, ‘“A Great Space of Murmurings”: Madness, Romance and Geography,’ Progress in Human Geography 37, 2012, 167-94; id., ‘A “New Foucault” with Lively Implications: Or “the Crawfish Advances Sideways,”’ Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 37, 2012, 496-514; see also id., A Geographical History of Institutional Provision for the Insane from Medieval Times to the 1860s in England and Wales: The Space Reserved for Insanity, Lampeter: Edwin Mellen, 2004. Foucault’s concept ‘heterotopia’ is taken up by Matt Ylitalo and Sarah Easterby-Smith in Bavaj, Lawson and Struck (eds.), Doing Spatial History.↩︎

  11. Bruno Latour and Steve Woolgar, Laboratory Life: The Social Construction of Scientific Facts, London: Sage, 1979.↩︎

  12. Bruno Latour, The Pasteurization of France, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1988, p. 81; see also Simon Schaffer, ‘The Eighteenth Brumaire of Bruno Latour,’ Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 22/1, 1991, 175-92.↩︎

  13. Bruno Latour, Science in Action: How to Follow Scientists and Engineers through Society, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1987; on the influence of Latour on the geography of science see also Diarmid A. Finnegan, ‘Geography of Science,’ in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 2nd ed., vol. 21, London: Elsevier, 2015, pp. 236-40.↩︎

  14. Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer, Leviathan and the Air-Pump: Hobbes, Boyle, and the Experimental Life, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985; see also Paula Findlen, ‘History of Science: How Buildings Matter,’ Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 65/1, 2006, 7-8.↩︎

  15. Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Chicago and London: Chicago University Press, 1962; Thomas F. Gieryn, Truth Spots: How Places Make People Believe, Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2018; see also id., Cultural Boundaries of Science: Credibility on the Line, Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1999.↩︎

  16. See also Peter Burke, What is the History of Knowledge?, Cambridge: Polity, 2016, p. 32.↩︎

  17. For an introduction to the notion of ‘field’ in the history of science, see Henrika Kuklick and Robert E. Kohler, ‘Introduction,’ Osiris 11, 1996, 1–14; for empirical studies see André Holenstein, Hubert Steinke and Martin Stuber (eds.), Scholars in Action: The Practice of Knowledge and the Figure of the Savant in the Eighteenth Century, 2 vols., Leiden: Brill, 2013.↩︎

  18. Among the most influential works are Fredrik Barth, Ritual and Knowledge among the Baktaman of New Guinea, Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, 1975; Clifford Geertz, Local Knowledge: Further Essays in Interpretative Anthropology, New York: Basic Books, 1983.↩︎

  19. Roy Porter and Mikuláš Teich (eds.), The Enlightenment in National Context, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981; id. (eds.), The Scientific Revolution in National Context, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992; for a critical reflection, see Carla Hesse, ‘Towards a New Topography of Enlightenment,’ European Review of History 13, 2006, 499-508; Prasenjit Duara, ‘Transnationalism and the Challenge to National Histories,’ in Thomas Bender (ed.), Rethinking American History in a Global Age, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002, pp. 25-46.↩︎

  20. Ángel Alcalde, ‘Spatializing Transnational History: European Spaces and Territories,’ European Review of History 25, 2018, 553–67; Antje Dietze and Katja Naumann, ‘Revisiting Transnational Actors from a Spatial Perspective,’ in ibid., 415–30; on the concept of ‘epistemic communities’ see Peter M. Haas, ‘Introduction: Epistemic Communities and International Policy Coordination,’ International Organization 46/1, 1992, 1–35; Karin Knorr Cetina, Epistemic Cultures: How the Sciences Make Knowledge, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1999; for the connection between spatial and global history see also the section above on ‘Territoriality, Infrastructure and Borders.’↩︎

  21. Pierre-Yves Saunier, ‘Circulations, connexions et espaces transnationaux,’ Genèses 57, 2004, 110–26; id., Transnational History, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, pp. 33-78; James A. Secord, ‘Knowledge in Transit,’ Isis 95, 2004, 654-72; see also Heike Jöns, ‘Transnational Mobility and the Spaces of Knowledge Production: A Comparison of Different Academic Fields,’ Social Geography Discussions 3, 2007, 79-119.↩︎

  22. For examples foregrounding the city as a space of science, knowledge, and technology, see Oliver Hochadel and Agustí Nieto-Galan (eds.), Barcelona: An Urban History of Science and Modernity, 1888-1929, London: Routledge, 2016; Stéphane Van Damme, Paris, capitale philosophique: De la Fronde à la Révolution, Paris: Odile Jacob, 2005.↩︎

  23. See, for instance, Diarmid A. Finnegan and Jonathan Jeffrey Wright (eds.), Spaces of Global Knowledge: Exhibition, Encounter and Exchange in an Age of Empire, Farnham: Ashgate, 2015; Diarmid A. Finnegan, ‘Scale, Territory, and Complexity: Historical Geographies of Science and Religion,’ in Bernard Lightman (ed.), Rethinking History, Science, and Religion: An Exploration of Conflict and the Complexity Principle, Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2019, 206-20.↩︎

  24. See, for instance, George Basalla, ‘The Spread of Western Science,’ Science 156, 1967, 611-22; for a critical review of centre-periphery, see Tessa Hauswedell, Axel Körner and Ulrich Tiedau (eds.), Re-Mapping Centre and Periphery: Asymmetrical Encounters in European and Global Contexts, London: UCL Press, 2019.↩︎

  25. See, for example, James E. McClellan III and François Regourd, The Colonial Machine: French Science and Overseas Expansion in the Old Regime, Turnhout: Brepols, 2011.↩︎

  26. Martha Few, ‘Circulating Smallpox Knowledge: Guatemalan Doctors, Maya Indians and Designing Spain’s Smallpox Vaccination Expedition, 1780–1803,’ The British Journal for the History of Science 43, 2010, 519–37; id., For all of Humanity: Mesoamerican and Colonial Medicine in Enlightenment Guatemala, Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2015; on hybridity of knowledge in local and regional settings of empire, see Markku Hokkanen and Kalle Kananoja (eds.), Healers and Empires in Global History: Healing as Hybrid and Contested Knowledge, Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.↩︎

  27. Londa Schiebinger, ‘West Indian Abortifacients and the Making of Ignorance,’ in Robert N. Proctor and Londa Schiebinger (eds.), Agnotology: The Making and Unmaking of Ignorance, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008, pp. 149-62; Londa Schiebinger and Claudia Swan (eds.), Colonial Botany: Science, Commerce, and Politics in the Early Modern World, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005. Eighteenth-century science around botany and natural knowledge paid particularly close attention to specific places and the reappropriation of knowledge. See, for example, Paula Findlen (ed.), Empires of Knowledge: Scientific Networks in the Early Modern World, London and New York: Routledge, 2019; Hanna Hodacs, Kenneth Nyberg and Stéphane Van Damme (eds.), Linnaeus, Natural History and the Circulation of Knowledge, Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, 2018; Johan Östling et al. (eds.), Circulation of Knowledge: Explorations into History of Knowledge, Lund: Nordic Academic Press, 2018. For a critical engagement with the concept of circulation, see Stefanie Gänger, ‘Circulation: Reflections on Circularity, Entity, and Liquidity in the Language of Global History,’ Journal of Global History 12, 2017, 303-18.↩︎

  28. Sarah Easterby-Smith, Cultivating Commerce: Cultures of Botany in Britain and France, 1760-1815, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017; id., ‘Reputation in a Box: Objects, Communication and Trust in Late Eighteenth-Century Botanical Networks,’ History of Science 52, 2015, 180-208.↩︎

  29. Kapil Raj, Relocating Modern Science: Circulation and the Construction of Knowledge in South Asia and Europe, 1650-1900, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007, p. 343; id., ‘Networks of Knowledge, or Spaces of Circulation? The Birth of British Cartography in Colonial South Asia in the Late Eighteenth Century,’ Global Intellectual History 2/1, 2017, 49-66; see also John McAleer, ‘“A Young Slip of Botany”: Botanical Networks, the South Atlantic and Britain’s Maritime Worlds, c. 1790-1810,’ Journal of Global History 11, 2016, 24-43.↩︎

  30. Robert E. Kohler, ‘Lab History: Reflections,’ Isis 99, 2008, 761-8.↩︎

  31. Katharina Kreuder-Sonnen, Wie man Mikroben auf Reisen schickt: Zirkulierendes bakteriologisches Wissen und die polnische Medizin 1885-1939, Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2018; id., ‘From Transnationalism to Olympic Internationalism: Polish Medical Experts and International Scientific Exchange, 1885–1939,’ Contemporary European History 25, 2016, 207–31.↩︎

  32. Oliver Hochadel and Agustí Nieto-Galan (eds.), Urban Histories of Science: Making Knowledge in the City, 1820-1940, London: Routledge, 2019.↩︎

  33. See Mitchell G. Ash and Jan Surman (eds), The Nationalization of Scientific Knowledge in the Habsburg Empire, 1848-1918, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.↩︎

  34. David N. Livingstone, Putting Science in Its Place: Geographies of Scientific Knowledge, Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2003, pp. 23-4, 33-4.↩︎

  35. Ibid., pp. 62, 66.↩︎

  36. Ibid., pp. 89-90, 115-6.↩︎

  37. Ibid., pp. 171, 178.↩︎

  38. Ibid., pp. xii, 81, 184.↩︎