Contact Zone' or 'Middle Ground'? Capturing the Heterogeneity and Intermediation of Skilled Practices in Urban Contexts
Kapil Raj is Professor of the History of Science at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (The School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences) in Paris.
Coming from a scientific academic background, Raj started exploring the fields of epistemology and history of science to discuss the question of the transmission of scientific ideas between different cultures.
He has published extensively on the history of natural history, social statistics, and geography in the context of the European encounter with South Asia from the 16th century to today. In his writings, he stresses the role of cultural circulations and interactions in the formation and transformation of scientific knowledge. Raj’s research contributes to debates about eurocentrism in the history of colonialism and postcolonialism. In his recent book, Relocating Modern Science: Circulation and the Making of Knowledge in and South Asia and Europe (18th-19th Centuries), he suggests to study circulation as a central concept in the historical analysis of the construction of naturalistic, geographical, linguistic, and social ideas. This global perspective enables him to demonstrate the polycentric nature of the emergence of knowledge and encourage the study of relational histories. At our conference, Raj will present a paper entitled ‘Translating’ South Asian Medicinal Knowledge for European Consumption (16th-18th Centuries).