Social Technologies and Global Knowledge Economies, 1750-1850
4th to 6th April 2019, Lichtenberg-Kolleg, Göttingen
The remarkable density of connections that characterized knowledge production between 1750 and 1850 has long figured in definitions of the "rise of modernity." The commerce of ideas through correspondence networks and print as well as manuscript circulation in salons, learned societies and other institutions, has been celebrated as foundational to modernity's more conspicuous highlights, from the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment to the political articulation of universal human rights. Indeed, the circulation of "useful knowledge" – or, in today’s phraseology, the knowledge economy – remains integral to the modern concept of progress, formulated and adopted during the brief period between 1750 and 1850.
This interdisciplinary workshop, organized by Lichtenberg-Kolleg, the Göttingen Institute for Advanced Study, will focus on interrogating these narratives of modernity in the context of the emergence of an array of ‘social technologies’ that enhanced networks of knowledge production and circulation at the turn of the nineteenth century. From communication, transmission, and circulation, to innovations that enabled, impinged upon, or otherwise shaped social relations, we welcome papers on all aspects of socio-technological change and their relation to the development of global economies of knowledge production and circulation from 1750 to 1850.