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Science on local, regional, and national scales: geographies of natural history in the mid- to late Victorian England

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Résumé

The history of science has taken a “geographical turn” at the turn of this century. Since then, historians of science have sought to understand the impact of geography on the practice, organisation and diffusion of scientific knowledge. In this paper, I look into the organisation of amateur science in provincial England through the scales of local, regional and national. The scientific societies established in the Victorian Midlands provide an excellent material to understand the close relationship between the natural history societies and geography, which has usually been taken for granted. In the Victorian Midlands, some sixty scientific societies were established for the study of local natural history during the Victorian period. How did these societies define local, how did its meaning change through time? From the 1860s, regional cooperation began to be promoted among the provincial scientific societies. In 1877, the Midland Union of Scientific Societies was established to bring together some thirty local scientific societies from eleven counties in central England. With an aggregate membership of about four thousand, the Midland Union represented the largest provincial scientific body. Due to its large geographical coverage, the Union sought to help “imagine a community” of Midland naturalists through its monthly publication The Midland Naturalist (1878-1893). Hardly had this regional experiment been set on foot than the British Association for the Advancement of Science (est. 1831) launched its scheme to bring the provincial scientific societies under a national umbrella, its Corresponding Societies (1883). Investigating the Corresponding Societies of the British Association, the regional Midland Union, and a number of local scientific societies, this paper seeks to explore the ways in which the aims and methods of scientific societies at different geographical scales converged in the late Victorian England. To achieve this, it draws on the historical geographies approach and the periodical studies.
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Dates et versions

hal-03911382 , version 1 (22-12-2022)

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Paternité - Pas d'utilisation commerciale - Partage selon les Conditions Initiales - CC BY 4.0

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  • HAL Id : hal-03911382 , version 1

Citer

Ali Hatapçı. Science on local, regional, and national scales: geographies of natural history in the mid- to late Victorian England. Colloque final « Amateurs en sciences : une histoire par en bas », ANR AmateurS — Amateurs en sciences (France, 1850-1950) : une histoire par en bas, Sep 2022, Le Mans, France. ⟨hal-03911382⟩
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