“Precolonial and Postcolonial Transfers from South Asia to Science and Technology” Public Lecture by Dr. Susantha Goonatilake
Posted on July 23rd, 2014

Precolonial and Postcolonial Transfers from South Asia to Science and Technology”


Public Lecture by

Dr. Susantha Goonatilake


(author among others of Toward a Global Science: Mining Civilizational Knowledge)

Sponsored jointly by

The Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science

and the Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka



on Monday 28th July 2014 at 5.00 p.m.


at the

Gamini Dissanayake Auditorium, Mahaveli Centre


No. 96, Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha, Colombo 07

The conventional Eurocentric story was that after the 1,000 year Dark Ages in Europe brought by the adoption of Christianity, Europe awoke through the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions, spreading the latter throughout the world. Recent research has indicated that this trajectory was partial; Asian inputs being ignored. Some examples: Martin Bernal showed that the enthronement of Greece as the fountainhead of science was a fiction invented in the 19thcentury. South Asian atomism of matter predated the Greeks; with Buddhism, having atomism of time. The advent of Asian systems through the Arabs circa the 13th century facilitated Europe’scalculations. Subjects such as calculus have been suggested as developed through impetus from China or India. Hobson and Bala have shown that European industrialisation and science was a product of dialogs with Asia. Others have shown that key turning points in the Enlightenment and science such as the ideas of Hume and Mach who influenced Einstein resonated with Buddhist ideas. And the quantum physics of Shroedinger was influenced by Hindu philosophy. In psychology, therapeutic techniques arising from Buddhist observation have entered Western medical practice.

The speaker, the author for over 30 years of numerous articles and books on the topic is part of a global network on Asian inputs.

All are Welcome

One Response to ““Precolonial and Postcolonial Transfers from South Asia to Science and Technology” Public Lecture by Dr. Susantha Goonatilake”

  1. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    We need more such articles. Going through high school and college in the US the adamant belief that ancient western civilizations were the only roots to modern western civilization is so deeply rooted that any question of it is ridiculed at worst or given condescending treatment at best.
    I have not seen one single decent documentary of the scientific contributions from the Sub continent to date and that is going on 40 years. Same can be said of Asian scientific contributions to the world. References are often made of the Muslim contributions but further elaborations that the Muslims got this knowledge from Hindu/Buddhist India or China is effectively suppressed.
    At the same time there are plenty of documentary shows that praise and elaborate to the contributions made by ancient Greece, Rome, and the Renaissance.
    One must keep in mind that the (Protestant) Christian Empire of Great Britain came to an end with British historians writing world history according to their myopic point of view. To this very day what damage they did after the fall of the (Protestant) Christian British Empire continues to take its toll on all non European cultures.

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