In this major retelling of the history of science from 1450 to the present day, James Poskett explodes the myth that science began in Europe.
The blinkered Western gaze focusing on individual 'genius' - Copernicus, Newton, Darwin, Einstein - was only one part of the story. The reality was an utterly global, non-linear pattern of cross-fertilization, competition, cooperation and outright conflict. Each rupture in history carved fresh channels for global exchange.
Here, for the first time, Poskett celebrates how scientists from Africa, America, Asia and the Pacific were integral to this very human story. We meet Graman Kwasi, the African botanist who discovered a new cure for malaria; Hantaro Nagaoka, the Japanese scientist who first described the structure of the atom; and Zhao Zhongyao, the Chinese physicist who discovered antimatter.
Winner of the 2023 Jerry Bentley Prize in World History, American Historical Association.
Shortlisted for the 2022 British Academy Book Prize for Global Cultural Understanding.
Translated into French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Romanian, Greek, Chinese, and Korean.
Phrenology was the most popular mental science of the Victorian age. From American senators to Indian social reformers, this new mental science found supporters around the globe. Materials of the Mind tells the story of how phrenology changed the world—and how the world changed phrenology.
This is a story of skulls from the Arctic, plaster casts from Haiti, books from Bengal, and letters from the Pacific. Drawing on far-flung museum and archival collections, and addressing sources in six different languages, Materials of the Mind is an impressively innovative account of science in the nineteenth century as part of global history. It shows how the circulation of material culture underpinned the emergence of a new materialist philosophy of the mind, while also demonstrating how a global approach to history can help us reassess issues such as race, technology, and politics today.
Winner of the 2020 President's Book Award, Social Science History Association.