Myths and Realities of the Industrial Revolution 

Week 5

The Industrial Revolution

This week we will focus on the industrial revolution in England. We take our off-set in the ideas of rationality. In a society where money rules, we will look into textile production, innovation and the factory system – was it rather a fashion revolution? We will also examine power sources, the transport system and the people, who took part in this development. As we move in the Romantic era, we will examine the creation of the myth of the genius inventor and the origins of the term ‘applied science’.

Ultimately, we can ask if the industrial revolution created wealth or just consumed the wealth extracted from the colonies?


9.00-12.00: Lecture and seminar

Core readings:  


Misa Ch. 3 and 4

 Discussion 1:

Graeme Gooday: "Vague ans Artificial": The Historically Elusive Distinction between Pure and Applied Science." Isis, vol. 103, no. 3, 2012 pp. 546-554

Discussion 2:

Christine MacLeod “James Watt, Heroic Invention and the Idea of Industrial Revolution” In Berg, Maxine and Bruland, Kristine (eds.) Technological Revolutions in Europe pp. 96-118




Supplementary Readings:

Skruen, Chapters 3-6


Clark, Gregory and Jacks, David, 

“Coal and the Industrial Revolution 1700–1869”

European Review of Economic History, 11, 39–72, 2007


Harris, J.R.

“Industrial espionage and technology transfer: Britain and France in the eighteenth century”  

Aldershot: Ashgate, 1998. 


Christensen, D.C.

European historiography of technology: Proceedings from the TISC-conference, Roskilde 1993 

Odense: Odense Universitets Forlag, 1993.


Burnette, Joyce

“Gender, Work and Wages in Industrial Britain”

CUP, 2008


Singhal, Kalyan,

“History of Technology, Manufacturing, and the Industrial Revolution: An alternative perspective on Schmenner’s hypothesis”

Production and Operations Management, Vol. 10, no.1, pp.97-102, Spring 2001
22 JUNI 2018