2018 Theses Doctoral
Statecraft and Insect Oeconomies in the Global French Enlightenment (1670-1815)
Naturalists, state administrators and farmers in France and its colonies developed a myriad set of techniques over the course of the long eighteenth century to manage the circulation of useful and harmful insects. The development of normative protocols for classifying, depicting and observing insects provided a set of common tools and techniques for identifying and tracking useful and harmful insects across great distances. Administrative techniques for containing the movement of harmful insects such as quarantine, grain processing and fumigation developed at the intersection of science and statecraft, through the collaborative efforts of diplomats, state administrators, naturalists and chemical practitioners. The introduction of insectivorous animals into French colonies besieged by harmful insects was envisioned as strategy for restoring providential balance within environments suffering from human-induced disequilibria. Naturalists, administrators, and agricultural improvers also collaborated in projects to maximize the production of useful substances secreted by insects, namely silk, dyes and medicines. A study of these scientific and administrative techniques will shed light on how scientists, administrators and lay practitioners in the French Enlightenment came to assess and manage the risks and opportunities afforded by the related processes of commercial and ecological globalization.
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- Academic Units
- Thesis Advisors
- Smith, Pamela H.
- Ph.D., Columbia University