Engineering the Revolution: Arms and Enlightenment in France, 1763-1815

Engineering the Revolution: Arms and Enlightenment in France, 1763-1815

by Ken Alder
     
 

Engineering the Revolution documents the forging of a new relationship between technology and politics in Revolutionary France, and the inauguration of a distinctively modern form of the "technological life." Ken Alder rewrites the history of the eighteenth century as the total history of one particular artifact-the gun-by offering a novel historical account of how

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Overview

Engineering the Revolution documents the forging of a new relationship between technology and politics in Revolutionary France, and the inauguration of a distinctively modern form of the "technological life." Ken Alder rewrites the history of the eighteenth century as the total history of one particular artifact-the gun-by offering a novel historical account of how material artifacts emerge as the outcome of political struggle. By expanding the "political" to include conflict over material objects, this volume rethinks the advent of engineering rationality, the origins of mass production, the rise of meritocracy, and our interpretation of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226012643
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
04/15/2010
Pages:
476
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Preface xi

Acknowledgments xv

Introduction: A Revolution of Engineers? 3

Part 1 Engineering Design: Capital into Coercion, 1763-1793

Chapter 1 The Last Argument of the King 23

Chapter 2 A Social Epistemology of Enlightenment Engineering 56

Chapter 3 Design and Deployment 87

Part 2 Engineering Production: Coercion into Capital, 1763-1793

Chapter 4 The Tools of Practical Reason 127

Chapter 5 The Saint-Etienne Armory: Musket-Making and the End of the Ancien Régime 163

Chapter 6 Inventing Interchangeability: Mechanical Ideals, Political Realities 221

Part 3 Engineering Society: Technocracy and Revolution, 1794-1815

Chapter 7 The Machine in the Revolution 253

Chapter 8 Terror, Technocracy, Thermidor 292

Chapter 9 Technological Amnesia and the Entrepreneurial Order 319

Conclusion 344

Abbreviations 353

Notes 355

Bibliography 421

Index 457

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