Your Science History is Whitewashed

The history they didn’t teach you in school.

From left to right: The Chinese Silk Atlas of Comets, fractal patterns on a Fulani wedding blanket, panels from the Mayan Preface of the Venus Table of the Dresden Codex

As students of color in the American public school system, we learn about countless dead white European men (‘dwems’ as one of our history teachers called them), and about few, if any, historical figures that look like ourselves. The history of science and mathematics is no different. While most of us are familiar with Galileo, Pythagoras, or Isaac Newton, we remain ignorant of the rich and varied traditions of knowledge production that were happening all over the world. These cultures had, and continue to have, significant contributions to human advancement that are often erased by contemporary Western historians. Here are 6 non-Western scientific achievements that were probably missing from your history textbooks:
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A People’s History of Outer Space

by Kelly Park

A digital illustration of a figure looks out through a window into a dark sky filled with stars. The window appears to be made of several layers, each signifying a different interpretation of outer space, that must be cut through to reveal the galaxies. Artwork by Iris Jong:

With the release of the newest installment of the Star Trek franchise, we turn our gaze once again towards space, the final frontier. Outer space has played host to many opposing forces throughout our history, with different institutions claiming ownership at different times. How can these narratives help inform a more liberatory version of the universe in which everyone, not just the privileged few, can live long and prosper?

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FreeRads Podcast: Humbling Astronomy – The Politics Behind the Thirty Meter Telescope

Featuring Andy Su and Tracy Zhao

The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) that has been proposed for construction on Mauna Kea has caused controversy and faced powerful resistance from Native Hawaiians as they hold the mountain to be sacred. The conflict is often framed as a struggle between Science vs. Religion. However, there is a larger context of colonial history that drives the resistance efforts that many scientists are not reflecting on.

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