Article ID: CBB000950506

Knowledge in Motion: The Cultural Politics of Modern Science Translations in Arabic (2008)


This essay looks at the problem of the global circulation of modern scientific knowledge by looking at science translations in modern Arabic. In the commercial centers of the late Ottoman Empire, emerging transnational networks lay behind the development of new communities of knowledge, many of which sought to break with old linguistic and literary norms to redefine the basis of their authority. Far from acting as neutral purveyors of universal truths, scientific translations thus served as key instruments in this ongoing process of sociopolitical and epistemological transformation and mediation. Fierce debates over translators' linguistic strategies and choices involved deliberations over the character of language and the nature of science itself. They were also crucially shaped by such geopolitical factors as the rise of European imperialism and anticolonial nationalism in the region. The essay concludes by arguing for the need for greater attention to the local factors involved in the translation of scientific concepts across borders.

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Authors & Contributors
Abattouy, Mohammed
Renn, Jürgen
Weinig, Paul
Irzik, Gürol
Güzeldere, Güven
Sengör, Celal
Science in Context
Early Science and Medicine: A Journal for the Study of Science, Technology and Medicine in the Pre-modern Period
Suhayl: Journal for the History of the Exact and Natural Sciences in Islamic Civilisation
Journal of World History
Recherches de Théologie et Philosophie Médiévales
Osmanli Bilimi Arastirmalari: Studies in Ottoman Science
University of Chicago Press
University of California, San Diego
Cross-cultural interaction; cultural influence
Transmission of texts
Arab/Islamic world, civilization and culture
Transmission of ideas
Postel, Guillaume
Philoponos, Joannes Grammaticus
Boubée, Nérée
Gerard of Cremona
Time Periods
19th century
20th century
18th century
Edo period (Japan, 1603-1868)
Ottoman Empire

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