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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The British Association's South African Meeting, 1905: 'The Flight to the Colonies' and Some Post Anglo-Boer War Problems
Author:Bradlow, Edna
Periodical:South African Historical Journal
Geographic terms:South Africa
Great Britain
Subjects:scientific cooperation
conference papers (form)
History and Exploration
Abstract:In August-September 1905, the British Association for the Advancement of Science met in South Africa (the meeting was divided between Cape Town and Johannesburg), only the third time since its inception in 1831 that its annual meeting had taken place other than in one of Great Britain's most important towns. Among this prestigious body's various objectives was the intention of promoting 'the intercourse of those who cultivate science in different parts of the British Empire, with one another and with foreign philosophers'. In the South African case, however, there was more involved. The devastation of the Anglo-Boer War and its political consequences in South Africa had crucially tested the very essence of British imperialism, and particularly its validity as a unifying moral and 'civilizing' force. For the policymakers an intellectually prestigious, ostensibly apolitical, scientific organization was a more suitable and effective instrument than military power for restoring imperial unity, and hence for shoring up Britain's damaged international position. What seems easily to be ignored during the meeting was the fact that a war, which had devastated thousands of lives, had ended only some three years earlier. The Johannesburg lectures on educational developments in the South African areas devastated by the war were, however, the exception, directing the collective mind of the delegates to the physical and human costs suffered by the former enemy. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]