This exploration of the history of science focuses on translation, in all its forms, as an essential element in the communication of knowledge. Chapters trace several overlapping dynamics in the exchange of knowledge across the Eastern Hemisphere and beyond during the second millennium CE. Nineteen scholars with specializations in various arenas of knowledge and regions of the world, combining the approaches of history of science and world history, confirm that cosmopolitan networks of scholarly knowledge existed centuries ago. Topics of analysis include mapping the earth in terrestrial and maritime perspective, constructing social practices from artisanal to administrative levels, advancing health and welfare, and charting the skies to learn the structure of the cosmos and navigate the seas. Even as old empires fell and new empires rose, debates at local and universal levels crossed boundaries of language, time, disciplines, and contending philosophies. These detailed yet interlocking studies consider whether knowledge evolved more through recurring intercultural links or through localized innovations; whether it arose more from endogenous scientific study or from exogenous shifts in the world order.
Patrick Manning is Andrew W. Mellon Professor Emeritus of World History at the University of Pittsburgh and founding director of the World History Center there. He is the author or coeditor of numerous books, including Global Scientific Practice in an Age of Revolutions, 1750-1850. A Guggenheim Fellowship recipient and past president of the American Historical Association, Manning has also received awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Science Foundation, as well as the Pioneer in World History award from the World History Association.
Abigail Owen is Special Faculty in the Department of History at Carnegie Mellon University, where she teaches Environmental History courses on water, agriculture, energy, and spatial history. She was the Mellon World History of Science Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh from 2015-16. She received her PhD in International/Global History from Columbia University in 2011.