April 9, 2013
Jean-Baptiste Dumas (1800–1884): Chemistry, Industry, Labor, and the French Bourgeoisie
Chemical Heritage Foundation, Brown Bag Lecture | Visit site »
Location: Chemical Heritage Foundation
From 1832 until his death the chemist Jean-Baptiste Dumas was a member of the Academy of Sciences and the Société d’Encouragement pour l’Industrie Nationale, founded in 1801 to improve French industry through a marriage of science and practice. As president of the Société d’Encouragement from 1845 to 1884, Dumas transformed the society from a servant of state industrial policy to a master of private funding and initiatives aimed at the emergent bourgeoisie. The reinvented society catered to bourgeois consumption and taste with consumer goods whose manufacture rested on an alliance of science and practice and a marriage of industry and agriculture. It also upheld the bourgeois social order (that included the artisan class) that the bourgeoisie aspired to dominate.
Andrew Butrica has a PhD. and an M.A. degree in the history of technology and science from Iowa State University and a B.A. degree in history from Rutgers University. He was formerly associated with the Centre d’Histoire des Sciences et Techniques in Paris. When not consulting for the historical offices of NASA and the Office of the Secretary of Defense, he is researching and writing a book-length history of the Société d’Encouragement pour l’Industrie Nationale during the “long” nineteenth century (1801–1914). It focuses on the broad connections among industrial policy, politics, science, labor, and philanthropy as the society in stages transformed itself from an outgrowth of the interior ministry, to an expression of bourgeois culture, and finally, as the long century was concluding, to an engineering society.