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Title: Keeping origins in site : lives, locations and science in Dublin, 1870-1910
Author: O'Sullivan, T. M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5915 3140
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis is a contribution to the growing body of work which brings geographical scrutiny to bear on the history of science, by foregrounding the close relationship that exists between knowledge, space and place. It has as its focus, a reassessment of the traditional historiographical approach to science in Dublin which has tended to present a bifurcated Catholic/Protestant model in its discourse on the late nineteenth-century relationship between science and Irish culture. Instead, this project applies a methodology based on geographical and biographical principles to underscore the critical role of space and place in the reception, circulation and mobilisation of scientific ideas in the city. It builds on the geographical premise that scientific knowledge bears the imprint of its location and that place matters in the way scientific claims come to be sanctioned. The lives of eight Dublin scholars, George Fitzgerald (1851-1901), William Barrett (1845-1925), Alexander Macalister (1844-1919), David Moore (1808-1879), Alfred Haddon (1855-1940), Daniel Cunningham (1850-1909), George Sigerson (1836-1925) and Eoin MacNeill (1867-1945) are all called upon here to explore the interplay of lifespace, cityspace and science between 1870 and 1910. The case studies congregate around fundamental scientific debates on the origin of the universe, life, humankind and language. Each spatial snapshot explores the negotiation of a particular debate through the lives of two co-religionists in the group. By attending to the specifics of location and being sensitive to the ways in which local culture, politics and personal conditions shaped their encounters, the case studies demonstrate that the myriad 'spaces of a life' trumped religious bracketing when it came to late Victorian polemics on 'origins'. In sum, the thesis underscores the crucial role these Dublin spaces played, in moulding ether theories, in shaping ideas of biological form, in directing anthropological debate, and in advancing linguistic philosophies at the tum-of-the-century.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available