Special journal issue
Artisanal-scientific experts in eighteenth-century France and Germany
The eighteenth century was an age of expanding and diversifying state bureaucracies. In France and the German states new administrative departments were founded in order to promote trade and manufacture, as were public institutions to provide technical and scientific education. Leading state officials turned to academies of science and savants for support of their reforms. They hired savants as permanent officials or temporary consultants and inspectors for key economic sectors such as mining and metal production, textile dyeing, and transportation infrastructure, and they further sought the help of savants in order to educate knowledgeable officials and workmen. Implementing savants’ technical expertise, natural knowledge, epistemic values and discipline in the state bureaucracy, these leading officials aspired to build a modern state that guaranteed technological innovation and social progress.