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Kolonialphantasien in der Populären Naturwissenschaft der Frühen Neuzeit

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image of Early Science and Medicine

The analogy between colonization and space exploration was by no means invented by H.G. Wells in his novel about the invasion of Mars, The War of the Worlds (1897), or the science fiction in its wake. The analogy goes back to the age of the Copernican Revolution, which put the Earth on a par with other planets and thus suggested that those, too, could be inhabited by man-like creatures. Since then, popularizers of astrophysics have nurtured the notion that "we" or "they" could fill the roles of colonizers and natives, though it remained a matter of debate who had to play which role. Among those given to such contemplation we find Bruno, Kepler, Wilkins, and Huygens, along with scientifically trained literati such as Francis Godwin, Fontenelle, Swift. Together, they constitute a noteworthy phenomenon of the early modern age of discovery and conquest.


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