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On the Cosmopolitics of Astronomy in Nineteenth-Century Paris

Abstract : During the French Revolution, French astronomy was both contested by the Parisian mob, when Cassini was housted from the Observatoire, and courted by political power. The establishment of the Bureau des Longitudes, the expeditions for determining the length of the meter as well as the reliance of Napoleon on observatory techniques on the battlefield show that astronomy was quickly becoming an important auxiliary to the modern State. In the decades that followed, astronomical research was completely restructured by the State. At the same time, atheist narratives about the origins of the Solar system were first suggested and slowly gained credence. In this talk, I would like to use the case of Paris to explore ways in which we can understand the rise of the observatory sciences in the nineteenth century as a cosmopolitical project designed for displacing the basis of political authority from God to the people without falling into anarchy.
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David Aubin. On the Cosmopolitics of Astronomy in Nineteenth-Century Paris. Astro-Morphomata: Sternenwissen und Weltbürgertum in Medien und Kultur, Nov 2011, Cologne, Germany. ⟨hal-00741449⟩

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