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Week 9: The expert state, 1700-1800. Expertise

Click here for the slides for this week's lecture

Eighteenth-century states drew on a new breed of experts to help with the business of government, from controlling populations to digging mines. Between 1600 and 1800, these scientific and technical experts and transformed the government of citizens across the world, from Europe to Asia.

Seminar Questions

  • ‘Scientific expertise, politics and money always go together’. Discuss.
  • 'The concept of ‘population’ is an Enlightenment invention.' Discuss.
  • What does the Enlightenment ideal of ‘happiness for all’ has to do with scientific expertise’?
  • What did scientific expertise actually involve in the late 17th and 18th century?

Essential Reading

Klein, Ursula, 'Savant Officials in the Prussian Mining Administration’, Annals of Science 69, 3 (2012): 349-374.

Smith, Pamela, ‘Curing the Body Politic: Chemistry and Commerce at Court, 1664-70’, in Patronage and Institutions: Science, Technology and Medicine at the European Court, 1500-1750, ed. by Bruce Moran (Rochester, 1991), pp. 194-209.

Stein, Claudia, 'The Birth of Biopower in Eighteenth-Century Germany', Medical History 55 (2011): 331-337.

Additional Readings

Carroll, Patrick, 'Medical Police and the History of Public Health’, Medical History 46 (2002): 461–94.

Foucault, Michel, Security, Territory, Population: Lectures at the College de France, 1977-78, ed. by Michel Senellart (London, 2007).

Foucault, Michel, ‘The Birth of Social Medicine’, in idem, Power, J.D. Faubion (ed.), (New York, 2000).

Klein, Ursula, and Spary, Emma (eds.), Materials and Expertise in Early Modern Europe: Between Market and Laboratory (Chicago, 2010)

Pamela Long, Artisan/Practitioners and the Rise of the New Sciences, 1400–1600 (Corvallis, 2011).

Roberts, Lissa, Schaffer, Simon, and Dear, Peter (eds.), The Mindful Hand: Inquiry and Invention from the late Renaissance to Early Industrialization (Amsterdam, 2007).

Stein, Claudia, 'Johann Anton von Wolter (1711–87): A Bavarian Court Physician Between Aufklaerung and Reaktion?, in Ole Peter Grell and Andrew Cunningham (eds), Medicine and Religion in Enlightenment Europe (Aldershot, 2007), pp. 173-194.

Tribe, Keith, Governing Economy: The Reformation of German Academic Discourse (Cambridge, 1988).

Wakefield, Andre, The Disordered Police State: German Cameralism in Theory and Practice (Chicago, 2009)

Wakefield, Andre, 'Books, Bureaus, and the Historiography of Cameralism.’ European Journal of Law and Economics,19 (2005): 311-320.