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Making Science and State (or is it the other way around?) in France under the Sun King: Notes Toward a New History of the Academie Royale des Sciences.

Dates:
  • Wed 05 Dec 2018 14.30 - 16.30
  Add to Calendar 2018-12-05 14:30 2018-12-05 16:30 Europe/Paris Making Science and State (or is it the other way around?) in France under the Sun King: Notes Toward a New History of the Academie Royale des Sciences.

In the framework of the HEC Department Colloquium

Historical writing about the French Académie Royale des Sciences, founded by Jean Baptiste Colbert under the auspices of the ascendant “Sun King” Louis XIV (1643-1715) in 1666, is still defined by Roger Hahn’s magisterial, and at the time path-breaking, Anatomy of a Scientific Institution published by the University of California Press in 1970. Hahn’s work was innovative in his use of contemporary sociological theory to imagine the academy as a proto-modern professional institution in the making, and his approach was also pioneering in the way he bucked the dominant Cold War bias within the history of science that insisted on a separation of natural science from politics. Hahn's account treats the academy as the child of twin influences: the new science of the “Scientific Revolution” on the one hand, and the new rationalist projects of royal absolutist state building initiated by the French monarchy at the same time. Historical scholarship about the royal academy since 1970 has worked entirely within Hahn’s paradigm, but over the last half century our understanding of both the imagined early modern “Scientific Revolution” and the nature of the political dynamics of Louis XIV’s monarchy have been completely transformed. Our understanding of the early modern relation between science and state overall has also experienced a sea change. I am working on a book that will offer a new history of the Académie Royale des Sciences under Louis XIV and through the Regency to the ascent of Louis XV in 1723 that will revise Hahn’s account in light of these recent scholarly shifts in both the history of science and the history of Old Regime French state making. My lecture will offer an overview of my theorization of the book, and an outline summary of its major revisionist arguments.

Sala del Camino, Villa Salviati DD/MM/YYYY
  Sala del Camino, Villa Salviati

In the framework of the HEC Department Colloquium

Historical writing about the French Académie Royale des Sciences, founded by Jean Baptiste Colbert under the auspices of the ascendant “Sun King” Louis XIV (1643-1715) in 1666, is still defined by Roger Hahn’s magisterial, and at the time path-breaking, Anatomy of a Scientific Institution published by the University of California Press in 1970. Hahn’s work was innovative in his use of contemporary sociological theory to imagine the academy as a proto-modern professional institution in the making, and his approach was also pioneering in the way he bucked the dominant Cold War bias within the history of science that insisted on a separation of natural science from politics. Hahn's account treats the academy as the child of twin influences: the new science of the “Scientific Revolution” on the one hand, and the new rationalist projects of royal absolutist state building initiated by the French monarchy at the same time. Historical scholarship about the royal academy since 1970 has worked entirely within Hahn’s paradigm, but over the last half century our understanding of both the imagined early modern “Scientific Revolution” and the nature of the political dynamics of Louis XIV’s monarchy have been completely transformed. Our understanding of the early modern relation between science and state overall has also experienced a sea change. I am working on a book that will offer a new history of the Académie Royale des Sciences under Louis XIV and through the Regency to the ascent of Louis XV in 1723 that will revise Hahn’s account in light of these recent scholarly shifts in both the history of science and the history of Old Regime French state making. My lecture will offer an overview of my theorization of the book, and an outline summary of its major revisionist arguments.


Location:
Sala del Camino, Villa Salviati

Affiliation:
Department of History and Civilization

Type:
Lecture

Contact:
Francesca Parenti - Send a mail

Organiser:
Jorge Flores (European University Institute)
Stephane Van Damme (European University Institute)

Speaker:
J.B. Shank (Fernand Braudel Fellow/University of Minnesota)

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