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Open access

Robert M. Schwartz

Abstract

The introduction and expansion of rapid rail transportation in Great Britain helped transform sea fishing and make fresh fish a new commodity of mass consumption. In agriculture the rail network greatly facilitated the shift from mixed cereal farming to dairy farming. To demonstrate the timing and extent of these changes in food production this article blends history and geography to create a spatial history of the subject. Using the computational tools of GIS and text mining, spatial history charts the expanding geography and size of the fresh fish industry and documents the growing concern among fishermen of over-fishing. In agricultural, huge flows of cheap wheat from the United states caused a crisis in British wheat farming, forcing many farmers to convert arable land to pasture for use in dairy farming. Given the growing demand for fresh milk in cities and increased availability of rapid rail transport in rural areas, dairy farming replaced wheat farming in outlying counties such as Wiltshire, the example examined here.

Open access

Ian J. Kerr

Abstract

The transfer of railway technology within the British Empire, and particularly to India provides the focus for this paper that explores—conceptually, historiographically and substantively—what was transferred and how that transfer took place. Drawing upon the large-scale technical system literature and labor history the paper highlights various kinds and levels of transfer agents working through, albeit in an often-contested fashion, Afro-Asian labor processes as central components within the transfer process when railway construction was involved. Railway construction is then counterpoised to railway operation where the transfer process exhibited greater British dictation and adherence to British practice.

Open access

Domingo Cuéllar

Abstract

Railway towns, in their essence, are a specific evolution of the system of company towns, which disseminated during the 19th and 20th centuries. These company towns were characterised by communities of workers employed by the same company or group of companies, which owned the houses and infrastructures and exerted some sort of control over the town’s economic and social living. The model of a garden-city, under which most of the examples studied were developed, was the most common, although not the only one. Despite the relevance of these processes, there are no papers that analyse them in a global perspective and in the long run, but only studies that focus on particular cases with barely any contextualisation. Lest we forget that railway towns grew in tandem with the rail networks all over the world, from the most industrialised and populated areas to the new regions targeted for colonisation. In order to overcome this set of isolated reports of individual railway towns, in this paper, I group the most significant references and studies about railway towns created by different companies in different countries to propose a broader interpretation of the overall phenomenon. Amidst the features intended to be analysed, I highlight the origin and nature of these towns, their forms and urban structures, the most notable case studies, and their future as industrial heritage (questioning the reasons for the current status of the towns, some devoid of their railway functions, others with a lesser presence of the railway, and others almost depopulated).

Open access

Jürgen Renn

Abstract

The paper argues that humanity has entered a new stage of evolution: epistemic evolution. Just as cultural evolution emerged against the background of biological evolution, epistemic evolution began as an aspect of cultural evolution and now dominates the global fate of humanity. It is characterized by the increasing dependence of global society on the achievements and further extension of science and technology in order to ensure its sustainability in the age of the Anthropocene. The historical development of knowledge is reviewed from an evolutionary perspective that introduces key concepts of an historical epistemology.

Open access

Hugo Silveira Pereira

Abstract

In the 1870s, Portugal transferred the public works program it was undertaking on the mainland – in which railways played a decisive role – to its African colonies of Angola and Mozambique. In this strategy, the United Kingdom was an obvious partner, given the historical connection between both nations and the geographical proximity between the colonies each country had in Africa. However, British and Portuguese imperial agendas could easily clash, as both London and Lisbon coveted the same areas of Africa. Hence, the initial and apparent cooperation rapidly evolved to a situation of conflict. In this paper, I aim to analyse three instances of dispute between Portugal and Britain about colonial railways in Angola and Mozambique. I will use the methodological tools of conflict resolution analysis in a historical perspective and the concept of track-two diplomacy within the framework of technodiplomacy.

Open access

Ignacio Suay-Matallana

Abstract

This paper focuses on how two Spanish chemists—Antonio Casares Rodríguez (1812–1888), and his son José Casares Gil (1866–1961)—constructed their expertise in chemical analysis in modern Spain. It considers both their family connections and local networks as crucial elements in the consolidation of their scientific authority, as well as the importance of travels and textbook writing, in shaping expertise in places usually considered peripheral. Finally, this article shows how both experts were able to circulate between different spaces, notably the laboratory and the field, in this case natural springs and spas; the university and governmental committees and institutions, in this way forging new possibilities for the consolidation of analytical chemistry as a scientific discipline in Spain.