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The Astronomical Republic. Emergence of a disciplinary field in early modern Europe, 1700-1830


The aim of this historical and sociological project is to analyse the emergence of astronomy as a modern scientific discipline in the golden age of royal academies, i. e. between 1700 and 1830. The study of this historical process, conceived as a broader social and intellectual phenomenon, is designed to test the validity of the concept of Republic of Science as an explanative paradigm for the emergence of modern science, and especially for the crystallization of mathematized disciplines. Conceived as an emerging disciplinary field within the Republic of Science, the so-called «Astronomical Republic» will be examined from four different points of view: 1. The values involved in the scientific cooperation between astronomers and the development of a specific language for the practice of astronomy. 2. The institutions, especially the academies and the observatories, as well as the existence of local communities of scholars, especially through the case-study of Paris. 3. The scholars themselves: their training, career, social identity and intellectual status. 4. The various kinds of networks: training, influences, cooperation, family ties, patronage, institutional links and so forth. The methods involved range from text content analysis (1°) and institutional monographic studies (2°) to sociometric data analysis (3°) and social network analysis (4°). This multidisciplinary research training project is designed to allow the project coordinator to reach a new stage in his career-development and in his life-long analysis of the modernization of Western societies and intellectual life.

Call for proposal

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Avenue De L Observatoire 61
75014 Paris
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 153 777,73
Administrative Contact
Michel Lerner (Dr.)