Social network of Polish scientific professionals in Latin America, 1830–1889
Project (2023-)

Through the Socio-epistemic Networks Lens: Argentinian and Polish Discourses on Petroleum, 1880–1910

Migrants have long been presented as interlocutors of transnational communication of knowledge, but in what ways can we measure and begin to understand the effect of their contributions on broadly construed scientific discourses? 

To answer this question, the project embraces the framework of socio-epistemic networks that defines knowledge networks as being composed of three different layers: the social network, the semiotic network, and the semantic network. Building on my previous research of the social network connecting 147 Polish professionals working across Latin America between 1830 and 1889, I now seek to examine the semantic network in one of the fields of the migrants’ expertise. While these Poles engaged in many disciplines, such as civil engineering, natural history, or education, the focus of the current project is on a group of Galician Poles—geologists and engineers—working on petroleum prospecting and extraction in Argentina in the 1880s, and those who were closely, professionally associated with them.

The project will establish representative corpora of Polish and Argentinian historical newspaper and periodical articles on the topic of petroleum in order to examine how the migrants and their colleagues in Argentina and in the partitioned territories of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth wrote about petroleum, and how that changed over time. Can co-occurrences of concepts be observed in the discourses around petroleum in the migrants’ articles, and in the texts by others in the press across languages, that would signify a cognitive connection between oil professionals working in Argentina and in Galicia between 1880 and 1910?