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Vol 22 No 2 Feb/March 2017

Book of the Month

Cover of Spencer Bower: Reliance-Based Estoppel

Spencer Bower: Reliance-Based Estoppel

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Science, Colonialism, and Indigenous Peoples: The Cultural Politics of Law and Knowledge

ISBN13: 9781107675070
Published: May 2014
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Paperback
Price: £23.99

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At the intersection of indigenous studies, science studies, and legal studies lies a tense web of political issues of vital concern for the survival of indigenous nations. Numerous historians of science have documented the vital role of late-eighteenth- and nineteenth-century science as a part of statecraft, a means of extending empire. This book follows imperialism into the present, demonstrating how pursuit of knowledge of the natural world impacts, and is impacted by, indigenous peoples rather than nation-states. In extractive biocolonialism, the valued genetic resources, and associated agricultural and medicinal knowledge, of indigenous peoples are sought, legally converted into private intellectual property, transformed into commodities, and then placed for sale in genetic marketplaces. Science, Colonialism, and Indigenous Peoples critically examines these developments, demonstrating how contemporary relations between indigenous and Western knowledge systems continue to be shaped by the dynamics of power, the politics of property, and the apologetics of law.

Part I. Biocolonialism as Imperial Science:
1. Imperialism then and now
2. Indigenous knowledge, power and responsibilities
3. Value-neutrality and value-bifurcation: the cultural politics of science

Part II. The Human Genome Diversity Project: A Case Study:
4. The rhetoric of research justification
5. Indigenist critiques of biocolonialism

Part III. Legitimation: The Rule and Role of Law:
6. The commodification of knowledge
7. Intellectual property rights as means and mechanism of imperialism
8. Transforming sovereignties

Conclusions: The politics of knowledge: resistance and recovery.