15 The Geography of Transnational Scientific Correspondence during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Era

Saturday, January 9, 2010
Elizabeth Ballroom E (Hyatt)
Elise S. Lipkowitz , University of Michigan, Dept. of History, Evanston, IL
This poster presents key evidence that correspondence among European scientists realigned along political and imperial lines during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars.  Drawing on a dataset that I assembled containing 2,500 letters received by savants between 1780 and 1820 in four areas of Europe - Britain, France, Northern Italy, and the Netherlands - and complemented by qualitative data from these letters, this poster challenges the dominant interpretation that Revolutionary and Napoleonic-era science succeeded in transcending war, nationalism, and national interest.  Displaying charts, maps, and qualitative evidence, this poster shows that in contrast to the pre-war period in which correspondence among savants flowed freely throughout Europe, the Revolutionary period saw the concentration of correspondence along political lines, with Paris serving as a hub for scientific correspondence from French-occupied Europe, and London serving as a hub for correspondence in those parts of Europe not controlled by the French.  This poster will interest scholars of the history of science and those interested in the fate of the Republic of Letters after 1789.    
See more of: Poster Session
See more of: AHA Sessions