Meteorology and empire

Mahony, Martin ORCID: (2021) Meteorology and empire. In: The Routledge Handbook of Science and Empire. Routledge, pp. 47-58. ISBN 9780367221256

Full text not available from this repository. (Request a copy)


This chapter surveys recent work on the entanglements of meteorology and empire. It argues that there has been a noticeable shift from histories which argue that Western imperial expansion helped lay the infrastructural groundwork of a future global atmospheric science, to work which examines meteorology and climatology in context, as colonial sciences. A promising shift away from teleological and hagiographic histories is under way, and we now know considerably more about how empire and meteorology were intertwined materially, practically, and intellectually. Meteorology contributed to colonial settlement, agriculture, and navigation—both marine and aerial—as well as helping reinforce the alleged superiority of European imperial actors. Nonetheless, there is more work to be done to uncover forgotten actors and voices in meteorology, such as those that served as “go-betweens” for different intellectual and political communities, or those whose knowledge systems were challenged, co-opted, or ignored in processes of colonisation. New transimperial perspectives have emerged which can help decentre discrete national stories, revealing how imperial sciences were intertwined with wider economic and political processes. Following these routes may enable historians of meteorology to contribute to contemporary debates about decolonising the sciences, particularly as they pertain to societies’ increasingly fraught relationships with climate.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: sdg 13 - climate action,sdg 14 - life below water ,/dk/atira/pure/sustainabledevelopmentgoals/climate_action
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Science, Society and Sustainability
University of East Anglia Schools > Faculty of Science > Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
Faculty of Science > Research Centres > Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2021 23:38
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2022 23:54
DOI: 10.4324/9780429273360-5

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item