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Paola Bertucci (Yale) book discussion for 'Artisanal Enlightenment' - Thursday 20 May 2021, 5-6.30pm

Paola Bertucci (Yale) will present and discuss her book Artisanal Enlightenment: Science and the Mechanical Arts in Old Regime France.

Paola Bertucci’s book aims to place the mechanical arts and the world of making at the heart of the French Enlightenment, tackling key 'Enlightenment' notions including improvement, utility, and progress. Establishing a rich and detailed history of the 'arts' and their relation to the sciences, through The Société des Arts, founded in Paris in the first half of the eighteenth century, she traces the perspectives of learned artisans who understood themselves as artistes. By asserting themselves as such, they distanced themselves from craftsmen and artisans (workmen driven by routine) on the one hand, and on the other hand from scientists, 'advocating a clear distinction between theoretical and practical knowledge, which aimed to discredit the expertise of academic institutions in technical matters'. By reversing the hierarchy between theory and practice, they sought to play an active role in the administration of the state, making a case for the mechanical arts as 'useful knowledge' crucial to France’s commercial and imperial expansion.

Members and guests of the Writing Technologies network will discuss with the author a series of questions stemming from the network's focus on the histories of disciplinary fields, invention, authorship, and the relationships between hand and mind, metaphor and machine.

Read more and book your ticket here:

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