By Adas M

ISBN-10: 0801423031

ISBN-13: 9780801423031

ISBN-10: 0801497604

ISBN-13: 9780801497605

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Extra resources for Machines As the Measure of Men: Science, Technology, and Ideologies of Western Dominance

Sample text

The best also contain extensive descriptions of· geography, plant and animal life, social patterns, and material culture. Because few travelers were inventors or engineers, and only a small proportion of missionaries and ship's surgeons had received extensive training in the sciences, overseas observers often have little to say about African and Asian technology or knowledge of the natural world. Still, merchants often took serious interest in the tools and techniques of handicraft producers and the computation methods used by their commercial rivals.

First Encounters / 27 were usually known only to small numbers of Europe's educated elite, while technological innovation was often centered in certain regions. The Iberians, for example, who dominated the first centuries of expansion, frequently commented on the superiority of their ships and nautical instruments to those of the peoples they encountered. But they had little to say about mining or metalworking, despite the steady advances that had been made in both processes since the early Middle Ages.

26 / Before the Industrial Revolution gave added urgency to questions about their religious beliefs as well as their assumptions regarding the workings of the natural order. The backgrounds of the explorers, merchants, and missionaries who shaped European attitudes toward the world beyond Europe in this era strongly influenced the content of their accounts of African and Asian societies. Some reports amount to little more than sea captains' chronologies of the places they visited, traders' lists of products, available for export and goods in demand, or missionaries' estimates of the prospects for Christian conversions.

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Machines As the Measure of Men: Science, Technology, and Ideologies of Western Dominance by Adas M


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