What did early Americans think about science? And how did they pursue and develop their knowledge of it?
Cameron Strang, an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Nevada, Reno and author of Frontiers of Science: Imperialism and Natural Knowledge in the Gulf South Borderlands, 1500-1850, joins us to investigate the early American world of science and how early Americans developed their scientific knowledge.
About the Show
Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.
It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.
Each episode features a conversation with a historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.
Ben Franklin’s World is a production of the Omohundro Institute.
Cameron Strang, an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Nevada, Reno, joins us to investigate the early American world of science and how early Americans created knowledge about the natural world.
During our investigation, Cameron reveals how early Americans understood science and natural knowledge between 1500 and 1850; Information about the different types of people who undertook acts of scientific inquiry and why and how they undertook those acts; And, details about the ways in which imperialism both furthered and hindered scientific inquiry.
What You’ll Discover
- Natural knowledge and science in early America
- What historians mean by “Gulf South”
- Who produced natural knowledge and science
- Ways Gulf South Native Americans produced natural knowledge
- Ways enslaved Africans participated in scientific experimentation & knowledge production
- The types of knowledge early Americans wanted to find and collect
- Connections between imperialism and science
- Use of astronomy to map North American borders
- Science and national identity
- Frontier science versus formal imperial science
- Links between the Seminole Wars and science
- The origins and early days of the Smithsonian Institution
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- Cameron Strang
- Frontiers of Science: Imperialism and Natural Knowledge in the Gulf South Borderlands, 1500-1850
- Ichetucknee Springs State Park
- Smithsonian Institution
- Nadine Zimmerli, “Atomic Bonds”
- Cameron Strang, Talks at Google
- Omohundro Institute
- The Ben Franklin's World Shop
- Get 40 percent off Frontiers of Science (Use Promo Code 01BFW)
- Episode 037: Kathleen DuVal, Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution
- Episode 109: John Dixon, The American Enlightenment & Cadwallader Colden
- Episode 140: Tamara Thornton, Nathaniel Bowditch: 19th-Century Man of Business, Science, and the Sea
- Episode 174: Thomas Apel, Yellow Fever in the Early American Republic
- Episode 186: Max Edelson, The New Map of the British Empire
- Episode 204: James Lewis Jr., The Burr Conspiracy
Time Warp Question
In your opinion, what might have happened if Europeans, Americans, Native Americans, and Africans had lacked scientific and natural knowledge? How would the history of North America, the Gulf South, and the relations between all of these different groups have been different?
Questions, Comments, Suggestions
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