Instruments and Ingenuity between India and Britain


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Schaffer, Simon John 
Abstract

The lengthy journeys performed by scientific instruments reveal the many different uses to which they are put and worlds through which they travel. In territories under the dominance of the East India Company in the later eighteenth and earlier nineteenth centuries, such instruments played significant roles in administrative and survey enterprises. Their displacements relied on fragile systems of maintenance not always within Company control. Dependence upon local experts was obvious; but was also frequently downplayed by Company officials keen to display their hardware and skill as signs of authority. This paper explores aspects of that troublesome relation between tools of science and tropes of power.

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Bulletin of the Scientific Instrument Society
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0956-8271
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