Science and society in southern Africa

Editor: Saul Dubow

The history and sociology of science has not been well developed in southern Africa as compared to India, Australia or Latin America. This book deals with case studies drawn from South Africa, Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia), Mozambique and Mauritius, and examines the relationship between scientific claims and practices, and the exercise of colonial power. European intellectuals saw in Africa images of their own prehistory and societal development. The book reveals the work of the Swiss naturalist and anthropologist Henri Junod. The relative status of Franco-Mauritian, Creoles and Indo-Mauritian peasants was an important factor in gaining knowledge of and access to canes. After the Boer War, science was one of the regenerating forces, and the British Association found it appropriate to hold its 1905 meetings in the Southern African subcontinent. White farmers in the Cape Colony in the late nineteenth century often greeted with suspicion the enumeration of livestock and crop. The book focuses on the connections between the apartheid state's capacity to count and to control. Apartheid statecraft included aspirations of totalising modes of racialised knowledge. Included in the theme of state rationality and techniques of domination is the specialized use of dogs by police in apprehending black alleged criminals. The book discusses the Race Welfare Society, which turned to eugenics for a blueprint on how to cultivate a healthy and productive white population. However, George Gale and Sidney and Emily Kark advocated socialised medicine, and had a genuine desire to promote the broad health needs of Africans.

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