Chemistry in the City: The Scientific Role of Female Societies in late Eighteenth-Century Madrid

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Abstract

During the last decades of the long eighteenth century, two closely related female societies, the Junta de socias de honor y mérito and the Asociación de señoras, performed a series of chemical activities in a variety of sites around the city of Madrid. The Asociación experimented with methods of air “purification” in Madrid jails, while the Junta based in the City Hall was involved in experiments concerning the quality of dyes and on infant feeding in the Foundling House. Due to their double social condition—aristocratic and female—these women were entitled to enter both the salons and the poorest parts of the city. They mobilised experts and objects, connected learned elites, politicians, craftsmen and scientific institutions, and were key agents in the circulation of knowledge. This paper explores the different roles these societies played in shaping new urban scientific sites
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-159
Number of pages20
JournalAmbix
Volume60
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2013

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