Impossible engineering technology and territoriality on the canal du midi

impossible engineering technology and territoriality on the canal du midi

The Canal du Midi, which threads through southwestern France and links the Atlantic to Impossible Engineering takes an insightful and entertaining look at the.

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The Canal du Midi, which threads through southwestern France and links the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, was an astonishing feat of seventeenth-century engineering--in fact, it was technically impossible according to the standards of its day. Impossible Engineering takes an insightful and entertaining look at the mystery of its success as well as the canal's surprising political significance. The waterway was a marvel that connected modern state power to human control of nature just as surely as it linked the ocean to the sea. The Canal du Midi is typically characterized as the achievement of Pierre-Paul Riquet, a tax farmer and entrepreneur for the canal. Yet Chandra Mukerji argues that it was a product of collective intelligence, depending on peasant women and artisans--unrecognized heirs to Roman traditions of engineering--who came to labor on the waterway in collaboration with military and academic supervisors. Ironically, while Louis XIV and his treasury minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert used propaganda to present France as a new Rome, the Canal du Midi was being constructed with unrecognized classical methods.

Chandra Mukerji offers us an important book on the design and construction of the Canal du Midi, called Canal royal du Languedoc during the French Ancient Regime. This outstanding canal was constructed during the Louis XIV reign, in parallel to Versailles, at the time was both the largest civil engineering work and the biggest canal ever built in the Western world. First, it has all the qualities to be a reference text in English about the Canal du Midi, possibly the most important since From Sea to Sea by L. In parallel, various academic studies emerged in France dealing with a range of issues related to the history of canal in different fields: territorial policy, technical description of works, the genius of Riquet, financial dimensions, history of uses, etc. She proposes a critical history of the main classical views of the canal design and construction, through a re-examination of some important earlier assessments by key Enlightenment authors like the engineer Belidor and the scientist and astronomer Lalande. This book also presents an important essay in the field of the historical sociology by way of a well documented case study containing some notable historical discoveries and a reinterpretation of apparently well known historical materials. The book is divided in nine chapters of equal size, and contains solid historical documentation complemented by attractive photos by the author.

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Mukerji gives us a convincing, original explanation of the baffling technological feat of the construction of the Canal du Midi. She elegantly combines science and technology studies, cultural history, cognitive science, and sociology to show us how cultural memory and collective intelligence contributed to marvels of engineering that no single group of experts could have accomplished. A must-read. Demonstrating how a material object can be the result of collective social intelligence, she provides a model for how to write a new kind of history of science and technology. She brings together material and intellectual history and connects, in an exemplary way, the history of material objects to the development of new patterns of thought and social organization. Smith, Columbia University. Mukerji stresses the participation of many people who have often have been written out of this story, especially the peasant workforce, which included a significant contingent of women.



The Canal du Midi, which threads through southwestern France and links the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, was an astonishing feat of seventeenth-century engineering--in fact, it was technically impossible according to the standards of its day. Impossible Engineering takes an insightful and entertaining look at the mystery of its success as well as the canal's surprising political significance. The waterway was a marvel that connected modern state power to human control of nature just as surely as it linked the ocean to the sea.

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1 COMMENTS

  1. Rosamonde R. says:

    What you do for the least you do for me why is trump still president

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