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dc.contributor.authorBrassington, Laura
dc.date.accessioned2022-05-20T10:51:03Z
dc.date.available2022-05-20T10:51:03Z
dc.date.submitted2021-09-01
dc.identifier.urihttps://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/337340
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation uses the letters exchanged between Charles Darwin and individuals of differing socio-economic statuses to examine problems of social definition and intellectual categorisation in science in mid- to late-nineteenth-century Britain. One means by which historians have sought to recover forms of non-elite participation is by examining class specific spaces of knowledge production; by mid- to late-century, however, social and scientific hierarchies were in flux. Through reading and writing, individuals interested in science were able to cross social and geographic distances without ever meeting in person. Darwin exchanged information with a vast array of individuals and communities through correspondence. I examine Darwin’s written exchanges with and about four key figures: Thomas Rivers (1798-1877), a socially-mobile, affluent nurseryman; John Scott (1836-80), a self-taught gardener; George Cupples (1822-91), a genteel writer and dog breeder; and James Croll (1821-90), a janitor-geologist. In line with recent work on the geographies of books and paper documents, I focus on the materiality of letters. I take letters themselves as spatial entities, co-constructed by the sender and recipient, as well as their respective networks. I ask how individuals constructed, managed, and negotiated their status on paper in order to participate in science. I explore how the serial nature of correspondence enabled individuals to build trust through continual exchanges; how letterheadings could productively miscommunicate an author’s status; and how different forms of address could be used to lever an individual into different positions across the social scale. By focusing on the themes of patronage, careers, and the materiality of paper, this thesis contributes to our understanding of social relations in science in a period when the means of communication between individuals and communities were rapidly changing. The changing methods of scientific communications call for us to readdress our understanding of class relations in this period. A new ‘paper landscape’ for science provided opportunities for all social classes to participate in knowledge production, and a space for individuals and communities to collaborate across social and geographical distances. These issues emerge by analysing letters as spaces for cross-class collaboration in science.
dc.description.sponsorshipAHRC Grant Number: AH/L503897/1
dc.rightsAll Rights Reserved
dc.rights.urihttps://www.rioxx.net/licenses/all-rights-reserved/
dc.subjecthistory of science
dc.subject19th century British history
dc.subjectsocial history
dc.titleConstructing Science and Status in Charles Darwin’s Cross-Class Correspondence Network
dc.typeThesis
dc.type.qualificationlevelDoctoral
dc.type.qualificationnameDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)
dc.publisher.institutionUniversity of Cambridge
dc.date.updated2022-05-19T16:41:52Z
dc.identifier.doi10.17863/CAM.84754
rioxxterms.licenseref.urihttps://www.rioxx.net/licenses/all-rights-reserved/
rioxxterms.typeThesis
pubs.funder-project-idArts and Humanities Research Council (1922896)
cam.supervisorSecord, James
cam.supervisorSecord, Penelope
cam.supervisorSchaffer, Simon
cam.depositDate2022-05-19
pubs.licence-identifierapollo-deposit-licence-2-1
pubs.licence-display-nameApollo Repository Deposit Licence Agreement
rioxxterms.freetoread.startdate2023-05-20


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