UC Davis Early Science Workshop: Ted McCormick, "Engines of Division: Land, Labor, and Perpetual Motion in the Mid-Seventeenth Century English Atlantic" (5/28)

Daniel Stolzenberg's picture
Type: 
Event
Date: 
May 28, 2021
Location: 
California, United States
Subject Fields: 
Atlantic History / Studies, British History / Studies, Early Modern History and Period Studies, European History / Studies, History of Science, Medicine, and Technology

On Friday, May 28, Prof. Ted McCormick (Concordia University) will talk at the UC Davis Early Science Workshop on the topic, "Engines of Division: Land, Labor, and Perpetual Motion in the Mid-Seventeenth Century English Atlantic." The talk will take place at noon, PST, on Zoom and is open to the public. For the link to register, go to earlyscience.ucdavis.edu.

Abstract:

Engines of Division: Land, Labor, and Perpetual Motion in the Mid-Seventeenth Century English Atlantic

The paper examines the inventor and agricultural improver Cressy Dymock’s (fl. 1649-60) project for a perpetual motion engine. A typical project of the circle around the “intelligencer” Samuel Hartlib (c.1600-1662), Dymock’s perpetual motion promised radical improvements in agricultural productivity and, by implication, solutions to problems of food supply and employment, together with a host of other advantages in engineering and manufactures. At the same time, Dymock proposed the engine for use in English colonies across the Atlantic, including Virginia and Barbados, where its implications for land and labour centered instead on rapid and profitable plantation and the production of export staples through increased reliance on enslaved labor. The paper explores what the migration of perpetual motion from one site and use to another can tell us about the role of projecting in constructing distinctions between metropolitan and colonial land and labor at a key moment of imperial expansion.

Contact Info: 

Daniel Stolzenberg, University of California, Davis

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