Science, both as a scholarly discipline and as a concept in the popular imagination, was critical to building hegemony in the British Empire. It also inspired alternative ideas of progress by elites and the disenfranchised: these competing spectres continue to haunt postcolonial modernities. Why and how has science so powerfully shaped both the common sense of individuals and the development of postcolonial states? Philip suggests that our ideas of race and resources are key.
Civilising Natures tells us how race and nature are fundamental to understanding colonial modernities, and along the way, it complicates our understandings of the relationships between science and religion, pre-modern and civilised, environment and society.