Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Nature of the FutureAgriculture, Science, and Capitalism in the Antebellum North$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Emily Pawley

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226693835

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226693972.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 26 June 2022

Bending Reality with Large Strawberries

Bending Reality with Large Strawberries

(p.1) Introduction Bending Reality with Large Strawberries
The Nature of the Future

Emily Pawley

University of Chicago Press

The introduction begins by exploring the culture of ‘agricultural giants,’ enormous, precisely-measured animals and plants. These giants were products of a massive, transatlantic culture of knowledge-making: “agricultural improvement.” The introduction traces improvement’s origins in Great Britain and its adoption by wealthy landholders in the U.S. as well as by colonial officials throughout the British Empire. It asserts the centrality of New York State to U.S. improvement, and outlines New Yorkers’ experience of rapid agricultural change in the decades after the opening of the Erie Canal. It describes improvements’ shift from an instrument of landlords’ developmentalism to a much broader community and set of practices. It points to the role of new commercial networks in this expansion, and shows how improving science increasingly created knowledge about goods. Finally the chapter sketches the features of improving science—its focus on the futures that its adherents hoped to create and saw as natural, its dependence on financially-interested experts, its borrowing of forms of credibility from the broader U.S. economy, and its profound questions about the nature of value. In improvement, science did not provide stability, but rather fueled competing stories of the future and volatile and uncertain systems of value.

Keywords:   agricultural history, history of science, history of capitalism, environmental history, agricultural improvement, United States history, Market Revolution, New York State

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.