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'Ecological reconnaissance': expert visitors to Northern Rhodesia in the 1950s

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During the 1950s scientists working for the Northern Rhodesian government invited expert scientists to visit the territory and provide advice on both research agenda and environmental policies. The paper addresses the problem of how scientific knowledge, in this case ecological knowledge, was constructed through these brief visits. Tracking the fate of the visitors’ research findings reveals the political power of both consultant and ‘staff’ scientists in late-colonial contexts and the variable status of scientific knowledge within the spaces of the British Commonwealth. The paper also examines the role of travel in making scientific knowledge and travel as scientific knowledge.

This talk is part of the Cabinet of Natural History series.

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