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Osiris, Volume 33

Science and Capitalism: Entangled Histories

The historical relationship between science and capitalism has long stood as a central question in science studies, at least since its foundations in the 1930s. Taking inspiration from the recent surge of scholarly interest in the “history of capitalism,” as well as from renewed attention to political economy by historians of science and technology, this Osiris volume revisits this classic quandary, foregrounding the entanglements between these two powerful and unruly historical forces and tracing the diverse ways they mutually shaped each other. Key attention is paid to the practices of knowledge work that enable both scientific and capitalistic action and to the diversity of global sites and circuits in which science/capitalism have been performed. The assembled papers excavate an array of tangled nodes at the science/capitalism nexus, spanning from the seventeenth century to the twenty-first, from Nevada to Central Asia to Japan, from microbiology to industrial psychology to public health.

352 pages | 6 x 9


History: History of Technology

History of Science

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Entangled Histories of Science and Capitalism
Lukas Rieppel, Eugenia Lean, and William Deringer
Sciences and Economies in the Scientific Revolution: Concepts, Materials, and Commensurable Fragments
Harold J. Cook
Feeding Desire: Generative Environments, Meat Markets, and the Management of Sheep Intercourse in Great Britain, 1700–1750
Emily Pawley
Sugar Machines and the Fragile Infrastructure of Commodities in the Nineteenth Century
David Singerman
Starting up Biology in China: Performances of Life at BGI
Hallam Stevens
Compound Interest Corrected: The Imaginative Mathematics of the Financial Future in Early Modern England
William Deringer
Proving Future Profit: Business Plans as Demonstration Devices
Martin Giraudeau
Lies, Damned Lies, and (Bourgeois) Statistics: Ascertaining Social Fact in Midcentury China and the Soviet Union
Arunabh Ghosh
The Microbial Production of Expertise in Meiji Japan
Victoria Lee
“Safe Driving Depends on the Man at the Wheel”: Psychologists and the Subject of Auto Safety, 1920–55
Lee Vinsel
Comstock Capitalism: The Law, the Lode, and the Science
Paul Lucier
Organizing the Marketplace
Lukas Rieppel
“Scientific Crude” for Currency: Prospecting for Specimens in Stalin’s Siberia
Julia Fein
Making the Chinese Copycat: Trademarks and Recipes in Early Twentieth-Century Global Science and Capitalism
Eugenia Lean
Microbiology and the Imperatives of Capital in International Agro-Biodiversity Preservation
Courtney Fullilove
Smoke Ring: From American Tobacco to Japanese Data
Sarah Milov
Notes on Contributors

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