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Frontiers of ScienceImperialism and Natural Knowledge in the Gulf South Borderlands, 1500-1850$
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Cameron B. Strang

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781469640471

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469640471.001.0001

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The Significance of the Frontier in American Knowledge

The Significance of the Frontier in American Knowledge

(p.1) Introduction The Significance of the Frontier in American Knowledge
Frontiers of Science

Cameron B. Strang

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter introduces the history of knowledge in the Gulf South and why it matters to American intellectual history on the whole. It also presents the book’s main argument, which is that encounters in America’s borderlands shaped the production, circulation, and application of natural knowledge within these contested regions and, more broadly, throughout the empires and nations competing for them. The expansion of European powers and the United States were the primary motors that drove these encounters. Between the 1500s and the mid-1800s, Spanish, British, French, and U.S. imperialism brought hitherto unconnected individuals, nations, and environments into intellectually productive (though often physically destructive) contact. These expansion-instigated encounters, moreover, resulted in new material, social, and political circumstances that influenced how people created and shared natural knowledge.

Keywords:   U.S. expansion, history of science, intellectual history, imperialism, natural knowledge, violence, environmental history, early republic, Gulf South

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