HomeOperative knowledges of matter, from Renaissance to industrialization

Operative knowledges of matter, from Renaissance to industrialization

Les savoirs opératoires de la matière de la Renaissance à l’industrialisation

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Published on Thursday, May 28, 2015 by Céline Guilleux


Following the renewal of the history of Technology and of the history of chemistry, this Research Seminar intends to explore operative knowledge in chemistry in connection with several fields including economics, political management, consumption and production processes. It seeks to shed a light, since the Early modern period, on various configurations where experimentation, exploration, transformation of Matter were held, through a wide range of technical devices. We will underline cross-skills, transfers and hybridization of processes, and we will show how operative knowledge fostered multiple appropriations: we will then explore the diversity of practices and know-how which allowed specific actions on substances and transformations of matter, and which were the basis of innovation and industrialization and of the reshaping of environment on the long run.



Dans ce séminaire du Groupe d’histoire des techniques (Centre Alexandre Koyré), on se propose de mettre en lumière depuis la Renaissance les configurations multiples et les divers dispositifs techniques impliquant un travail spécifique sur les substances et la transformation de la matière. Les savoirs opératoires de la chimie ont été porteurs d’enjeux majeurs dans les champs de l’économie, de la gestion politique, des consommations et des formes de production. Explorant la diversité des pratiques et des savoir-faire, on soulignera d’une part les processus d’hybridation et de transversalité que ces savoirs mettent en œuvre et d’autre part les multiples appropriations qu’ils génèrent, et qui ont accompagné les processus d'innovation, d'industrialisation et façonné l’environnement des sociétés sur le long terme.


3 juin 2015


Eric Schatzberg, (University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA ), Craftsmen versus scholars in the discourse of technique and technology

« The question of materiality is wrapped up in complex social relations that go back to ancient civilizations. Although all humans use skillful practices to engage with the material world, the nature of these interactions is shaped by the division of labor, in particular the division between mental and manual labor, which has existed since the invention of writing. Craftsmen are the people who interact most skillfully with the material world, shaping it to human ends. But most ideas about the material world come from scholars, who typically are allied with aristocratic elites. This paper will explore the tension between craft and scholarly knowledge over the longue durée, and suggest some implications of this tension for the history of 18th century chemistry. »


  • Salle de séminaire, 5e étage - 27, rue Damesme
    Paris, France (75013)


  • Wednesday, June 03, 2015


  • technique, artisanat, division du travail, savoir faire, culture matérielle, representation


  • Marie Thébaud-Sorger
    courriel : marie-aline [dot] thebaud-sorger [at] history [dot] ox [dot] ac [dot] uk

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Marie Thébaud-Sorger
    courriel : marie-aline [dot] thebaud-sorger [at] history [dot] ox [dot] ac [dot] uk

To cite this announcement

« Operative knowledges of matter, from Renaissance to industrialization », Seminar, Calenda, Published on Thursday, May 28, 2015, https://calenda.org/329801

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