Decentring Histories of Science Diplomacy: Cases from Asia

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This special issue brings together a diverse set of cases from Asia with the aim of de-centring established historical narratives about science diplomacy. With a critical perspective bringing together the bodies of literature in the fields of the history of science, technology, and medicine (STM) and critical Asian Studies, we argue that these cases foreground a geopolitical history with multiple forms of sovereignty – often contested ones – and a range of political institutions and actors that enables us to revisit science diplomacy as a means for understanding the relationship between science and international affairs. In doing so, the articles in this issue consciously eschew the normative ‘centring’ of superpowers or Western imperial powers as the primary actors, focusing instead on the agency and subjectivity of actors within Asia, many of whom were prominent in their respective local contexts. Additionally, we argue that the cases presented here, which examine issues from across science, technology, medicine and the environment, collectively demonstrate the further need for the ‘science’ in ‘science diplomacy’ to be interpreted more broadly, incorporating as it does many aspects of human engagement with the material world.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal for the History of Science
Early online date22 May 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 May 2024


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