Roy Porter, the historian of Western medicine, once wrote that “the historical record is like the night sky: we see a few stars and group them into mythic constellations. But what is chiefly visible is the darkness” (1997, 13). Florence Bretelle-Establet, the editor of this volume, offers a different metaphor, one that has primary sources flashing by like trout. “Upstream from the historians' act of composing a corpus and dealing with sources,” she writes, “a great variety of actors imposed their goals and values on the material and social life of documents” (xxxiv). This ecological metaphor is even more apt than Porter's. Both emphasize that what ends up in the historian's constellation or bucket reflects the direction of her gaze and her own skill at observation and capture. But Bretelle-Establet's imagery makes it clear that the specific fish darting by...
Book Review| June 01 2014
Looking at It from Asia: The Processes that Shaped the Sources of History of ScienceReview: Looking at It from AsiaH. A. Smith
Bretelle-Establet, Florence, ed.,
Looking at It from Asia: The Processes that Shaped the Sources of History of Science
xlvi +426 pp. €149.99.
Hilary A. Smith; Looking at It from Asia: The Processes that Shaped the Sources of History of Science
Review: Looking at It from Asia
H. A. Smith. East Asian Science, Technology and Society 1 June 2014; 8 (2): 257–260. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/18752160-2645292
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