Indigenous Resistance and the Technological Imperative: From Chemistry in Birmingham to Camphor Wars in Formosa, 1860s–1914
Ian Inkster ()
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Ian Inkster: University of London
Chapter 3 in Technology and Globalisation, 2018, pp 41-74 from Palgrave Macmillan
Abstract This chapter has two main themes. First, it will consider how it was that an urban-based chemical programme spread at a global level under the force of a conjuncture of specific sites of local knowledge, academic research and intellectual property into the heart of a series of new industries associated with Europe in the later nineteenth century. Secondly, it will analyse how this new chemistry directly impacted on the politicisation of frontier warfare in Formosa from the 1860s, escalating with the colonial invasion of Japan in the mid-1890s. Finally, it will be shown that such global connectivities or impacts might have been rendered either insignificant or turned to more positive account by the very chemistry that had created them in the first place. Chemical work from the First World War allowed the production of plastic material and product to be freed from its dependency upon several raw materials. If such work had come earlier, political disaster in Formosa might well have been avoided.
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