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Science, Technology and Culture in the Midlands During the Industrial Revolution


The intersection of science and industry in the English Enlightenment is the subject of two books reviewed this week, Industrial Enlightenment: Science, Technology and Culture in Birmingham and the West Midlands 1760-1820 by Peter M. Jones and The Derby Philosophers: Science and Culture in British Urban Society, 1700-1850 by Paul Elliott.

Jan Golinski finds that taken together, these two books go a long way toward reconstructing the scientific culture of English provincial towns in the 18th and early 19th centuries. The science of the English Enlightenment emerges as more than just a dim precursor of the more formalized institutions that succeeded it. It was a distinctive form of cultural expression, rooted in the economic growth of particular urban centers and sharing in more widespread patterns of socialization and the circulation of knowledge.

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