This paper focuses on a somewhat neglected subject/object—textbooks—intending to discuss and analyze the case of the book Geologia elementar preparada com referencia especial aos estudantes brazileiros e à geologia do Brazil [Elementary geology prepared with special reference to Brazilian students and to Brazilian geology], written by the North American geologist John Casper Branner (1850–1922), first published in 1906, with a second edition in 1915. It is my aim to address some questions: How and why was this textbook written? Was it molded by the expectations of its author, its publisher or the general public? How far did it express the conceptions and paradigms of the time, national styles/tendencies, or momentous controversial issues? Did the individual reputation of its author ensure its circulation? Was it inspired by, or based upon, other textbooks? I expect that the arguments contribute to the understanding that textbooks and their authors are not neutral objects or passive actors, but they actually play a creative role in the development of a scientific discipline—in this case, Brazilian geology, through the relations between North and South America and their respective geoscientific communities.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.