We will consider the rise of consumption for sciences and technology in France and Britain. In the wake of the success of natural philosophy, a wider audience turned into new markets, not only for prints (books, leaflets, periodicals and pictures) but also lectures and any kind of objects (scientific instruments, globes, maps, balloons...).
Our aim is to explain precisely these new markets, as well as examine the places where these disseminations occur: lectures, shops, salon, clubs, and coffee shop. Furthermore this question needs to be connected to the issue of the transformation of the public: from aristocratic audiences to a mixed audience, in relation to urban expansion. The seminar will extend the study of this issue into the different chronological and cultural frameworks of pre-revolutionary France. We will deal with two main points: first, the question of curiosity, the pleasure given by spectacular entertainment, and new forms of interest in utility and improvements; and second, we will consider raise the question of the relation between this consumption and the emergence of a public sphere.
How was cultural consumption turned into business for natural philosophy?
What were the similarities and differences between France and England?
How and where did new forms of consumption occur?
How were customers convinced they were not dealing with charlatans?
What kind of knowledge is disseminated through these new markets?
What changes over time do we discern?
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Stewart Larry « Other centres of calculation, or, where the Royal Society didn't count: commerce, coffee-houses and natural philosophy in early modern London », The British Journal for the History of Science, Vol. 32, No. 2, (Jun., 1999): 133-153.