Machines as the Measure of Men: Science, Technology, and Ideologies of Western Dominance

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Cornell University Press, 1990 - 430 ページ

Over the past five centuries, advances in Western understanding of and control over the material world have strongly influenced European responses to non-Western peoples and cultures. In Machines as the Measure of Men, Michael Adas explores the ways in which European perceptions of their scientific and technological superiority shaped their interactions with people overseas. Adopting a broad, comparative perspective, he analyzes European responses to the cultures of sub-Saharan Africa, India, and China, cultures that they judged to represent lower levels of material mastery and social organization.

Beginning with the early decades of overseas expansion in the sixteenth century, Adas traces the impact of scientific and technological advances on European attitudes toward Asians and Africans and on their policies for dealing with colonized societies. He concentrates on British and French thinking in the nineteenth century, when, he maintains, scientific and technological measures of human worth played a critical role in shaping arguments for the notion of racial supremacy and the "civilizing mission" ideology which were used to justify Europe's domination of the globe. Finally, he examines the reasons why many Europeans grew dissatisfied with and even rejected this gauge of human worth after World War I, and explains why it has remained important to Americans.

Showing how the scientific and industrial revolutions contributed to the development of European imperialist ideologies, Machines as the Measure of Men highlights the cultural factors that have nurtured disdain for non-Western accomplishments and value systems. It also indicates how these attitudes, in shaping policies that restricted the diffusion of scientific knowledge, have perpetuated themselves, and contributed significantly to chronic underdevelopment throughout the developing world. Adas's far-reaching and provocative book will be compelling reading for all who are concerned about the history of Western imperialism and its legacies.

 

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In Machines as the Measure of Men, Michael Adas examines the role of science and technology in shaping Europeans’ sense of their own cultural supremacy. He argues, “By the mid-eighteenth century ... レビュー全文を読む

目次

Introduction I
1
BEFORE THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
17
TechnologyPerceptions of Backwardness Qualified Praise
32
Natural PhilosophyIlliteracy and Faulty Calendars
53
Scientific and Technological Convergence and the First
59
Shifting Views of NonWestern
69
Global Hegemony and the Rise of Technology as the Main
133
Foundations of the Civilizing Mission
199
Science and Technology in
271
THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
343
Technological Standard
402
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著者について (1990)

Michael Adas is Abraham E. Voorhees Professor of History and Board of Governors' Chair at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. He is the author most recently of Dominance by Design: Technological Imperatives and America's Civilizing Mission .

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