Imperialism and Science
Social Impact and Interaction
by George N. Vlahakis, Isabel Maria Malaquias, Nathan M. Brooks, François Regourd, Feza Gunergun, and David Wright Mark A. Largent, Series Editor
April 2006, 384pp, 7x10
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-85109-673-2
$91, £70, 80€, A125
eBook Available: 978-1-85109-678-7
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

From alchemy to the atom bomb, from penicillin to poison gas, the proliferation of Western science throughout the colonial world was driven by imperial imperatives. In 19th-century Greece, science was seen as a weapon in the independence struggle, while America’s transformation from colony to superpower can largely be attributed to its enthusiastic embrace of science and technology.

A unique resource that synthesizes existing primary and secondary sources to provide a fascinating introduction to the development and dissemination of science within history's great empires, as well as the complex interaction between imperialism and scientific progress over two centuries.

Imperialism and Science is a scholarly yet accessible chronicle of the impact of imperialism on science over the past 200 years, from the effect of Catholicism on scientific progress in Latin America to the importance of U.S. government funding of scientific research to America’s preeminent place in the world.

Spanning two centuries of scientific advance throughout the age of empire, Imperialism and Science sheds new light on the spread of scientific thought throughout the former colonial world. Science made enormous advances during this period, often being associated with anti-Imperialist struggle or, as in the case of the science brought to 19th-century China and India by the British, with Western cultural hegemony.


  • Packed with portraits of key scientists, their discoveries, and their achievements, bringing to life the contribution of scientists from even the most far-flung corners of empire
  • Includes a detailed chronology, bibliography, and a glossary of key scientific terms of the era, helping to make the history of science accessible to the general reader
George N. Vlahakis, PhD, is fellow researcher at the Institute of Neohellenic Research/National Hellenic Research Foundation in Athens, Greece and teaches history of Greek philosophy and science at the Greek Open University, Patra, Greece. His published works include History and Philosophy of Sciences in the Greek-Speaking Lands.

Isabel Maria Malaquias teaches history of physics in the Department of Physics, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal. She has written many articles on the history of physics in Portugal.

Nathan M. Brooks is associate professor in the Department of History, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM. He has written articles on the Russian history of chemistry.

François Regourd is Maître de Conférences in modern history at the University of Paris X–Nanterre, Paris, France. He has written many articles on French science and colonization.

Feza Gunergun is professor of history of science at Istanbul University, Istanbul, Turkey. She has written many articles and books on Ottoman science.

David Wright, PhD, teaches chemistry at Kendrick School in Reading, UK. His published works include The Transmission of Western Chemistry in Late Imperial China, 1840–1900.


"College-level audiences seeking references in science and political history will welcome Imperialism and Science. . . . Its revelations and insights are important for understanding the paths, progress, and international influences upon the scientific community as a whole, so college-level holdings shouldn't be without it."—Midwest Book Review, February 1, 2007
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