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Images and ContextsThe Historiography of Science and Modernity in India$
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Dhruv Raina

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780198068808

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198068808.001.0001

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Reconfiguring the Centre

Reconfiguring the Centre

(p.159) 7 Reconfiguring the Centre
Images and Contexts

Dhruv Raina

Oxford University Press

In India, and elsewhere in the colonial world, scientific claims emerging from the periphery were least problematic once scientists from the periphery gained entry into the ‘invisible colleges’ at the centre. Towards the end of the nineteenth century and the first decades of this century, India was at the periphery of modern science. While ‘collegial ties’ and ‘cosmopolitan ties’ were forged across ‘social distances and long distances’, successive encounters between Yesudas Ramchandra and Augustus De Morgan, Srinivasa Ramanujan and Godfrey Harold Hardy, Prafulla Chandra Ray and Marcelin Berthelot, and Meghnad Saha and his astrophysicist colleagues in the United States reveal much about the ways in which ‘the contemporary global institutional frame shape[d] the communal participation in science’. To go beyond the limitations of the centre-periphery model, it is necessary to recognize the part played by institutions, the experience of colonialism, and the forms of patronage characterizing both colonialism and science.

Keywords:   science, colonialism, patronage, Yesudas Ramchandra, Augustus De Morgan, Srinivasa Ramanujan, Godfrey Harold Hardy, Prafulla Chandra Ray, Marcelin Berthelot, Meghnad Saha

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