In nineteenth-century Chile, naturalists and their supporters argued that scientific work and study, including natural history, were good for individuals and society because they developed and tempered the character of their practitioners. These practitioners and boosters, Chileans, European visitors and European immigrants, made this argument in a context in which Chilean state support for natural history institutions, publications and education helped disseminate scientific training, perspectives and practices. Examining this nineteenth-century discourse of beneficial science is important for three reasons: first, the discourse of value-laden sciences offered this field a powerful justification for its development, especially in the face of criticism; second, because naturalists believed in this discourse, it helps explain what their work meant to them, and, finally, these values highlight the disjuncture between discourses about natural history and its links to military conquests, as well as the ways in which natural history was an exclusionary practice.
- natural history
- Natural history