Science in Latin America has roots that reach back to the
information gathering and recording practices of the Maya, Aztec,
and Inca civilizations. Spanish and Portuguese conquerors and
colonists introduced European scientific practices to the
continent, where they hybridized with local traditions to form the
beginnings of a truly Latin American science. As countries achieved
their independence in the nineteenth century, they turned to
science as a vehicle for modernizing education and forwarding
"progress." In the twentieth century, science and technology became
as omnipresent in Latin America as in the United States and Europe.
Yet despite a history that stretches across five centuries, science
in Latin America has traditionally been viewed as derivative of and
peripheral to Euro-American science.
To correct that mistaken view, this book provides the first
comprehensive overview of the history of science in Latin America
from the sixteenth century to the present. Eleven leading Latin
American historians assess the part that science played in Latin
American society during the colonial, independence, national, and
modern eras, investigating science's role in such areas as natural
history, medicine and public health, the eighteenth-century
Enlightenment, politics and nation-building, educational reform,
and contemporary academic research. The comparative approach of the
essays creates a continent-spanning picture of Latin American
science that clearly establishes its autonomous history and its
right to be studied within a Latin American context.
Subjects: History of Science & Technology
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