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Grant number like: FA-56046-11

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George Philip Steinmetz
Regents of the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1382)

Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2011 – 6/30/2012

Sociologists and Empire: Scientific Autonomy and Entangled Intellectual History

This book examines the connections between sociologists and empires in Germany, France, Britain, and the United States and in those countries' overseas colonies since 1890. It synthesizes sociological contributions to the study of empire, charts fluctuations in their interest in this topic, and asks how they have functioned as advisers, critics, and dispassionate analysts of empires. I argue that postcolonial theory and sociological field theory can complement and complete one another. The distinctive characteristic of the transnational circuits of knowledge explored here is that they were predicated on foreign conquest and violations of local sovereignty. I ask how these conditions affected knowledge production. Field theory helps clarify a central problem in postcolonial criticism by showing that the autonomous dynamics governing fields of cultural production mediate the effect on science of ideologies generated in imperial peripheries.