Historical Social Research

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Bernhard C. Schär: Earth Scientists as Time Travelers and Agents of Colonial Conquest. Swiss Naturalists in the Dutch East Indies [Abstract]

This case study on two Swiss naturalists illustrates some of the ways scientific exploration of planet earth was connected to imperial conquest in the Dutch East Indies at around 1900. Looking for answers for zoogeographical problems on the island of Celebes the Swiss benefited from and enabled Dutch colonial invasion of the island. The case illustrates that the Dutch empire was a site of scientific competition among a transnational community of scholars. Finally, the case illustrates how scientific knowledge on planet earth was shaped by and contributed to colonial culture.

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