Redefining Scientific Knowledge in Preindustrial Sweden: the Case for Metallurgy

Funding source

Swedish Research Council - Vetenskapsrådet (VR)

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2017
End date: 31/12/2019
Funding: 2388000 SEK


This three-year project examines the process of redefining scientific
knowledge in the eighteenth century by exploring the history and
evolution of an encyclopedic enterprise in preindustrial Sweden. The
enterprise was undertaken c. 1740-1789 by two mining officials of the
Board of Mines (Bergskollegium): the acclaimed metallurgist Sven Rinman
and the practically unknown mining official Anders Robert Bellander. The
preserved material - consisting of a ten-volume manuscript draft, later
annotations and revisions, and the published two-volume dictionary -
has never been subjected to focused research. This unique set of sources
provides an extraordinary insight into the process of defining and
redefining the boundaries of metallurgy and chemistry during half a
century. By analyzing the transformation of the dictionary, using T.
Gieryn's notions of "boundary work", "credibility contests", and
"cultural cartography of science", the project aspires to produce new
insights into the transnational making of scientific disciplines in the
transition to modernity. The project will also contribute to discussions
on the integration of practical know-how and book-learning in the
eighteenth century; encyclopedic manufacture as a science-making
practice; and the role of the practitioner-scholar in the implementation
of Enlightenment ideals in preindustrial Sweden.

Last updated on 2017-04-10 at 12:38