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This chapter examines the kinds of culturalism apparent in studies of the history of science, and the normative roles they play in the interpretation and evaluation of historical studies of science in the non-Western world. It discusses cultural essentialism and universalism as examples of normative styles and examines them through case studies of the history of physics in Japan—for example, the reception of complementarity and the introduction of Feynman diagrams. The chapter proposes a finer-grained approach to cultures and a renewed emphasis on the transregional aspects of cultures and suggests that in some cases sameness rather than difference requires further exploration and explanation.

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