Collecting the Future: Photography, Waste, and the Industrial Revolution

Lunchtime Lectures
Tuesday, February 11, 2020
12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
American Philosophical Society
105 South Fifth Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
United States

Join us for a talk by Jennifer Tucker, Seidel Fellow at the Science History Institute.

Please note that this lecture will take place on a Tuesday at the American Philosophical Society.

This talk considers how photography emerged in the late 19th century as both a new mode of documenting the chemical revolution and a technological process that was itself the product of processes that produced chemical waste. Tracing the routes through which photography entered the language of Victorian industry, labor movements, and environmental law, Tucker offers new evidence of the historical uses of photography in visualizing river and air pollution in the industrial alkali landscapes of northern Britain. Exploring the politics of visual production in the Second Industrial Age, she suggests the need for new interdisciplinary approaches to visual history and offers historical perspectives on current uses of visually mediated narratives, evidence, and documents in environmental law and science policy.

About the Speaker

Jennifer Tucker is a historian of art, science, and technology in the history department at Wesleyan University. The author of Nature Exposed: Photography as Eyewitness in Victorian Science, she has published several articles and edited several works on visual history in the 19th century in particular. Currently she is completing a Photography and Law Reader (Bloomsbury Academic Press, forthcoming) and a monograph on the science of facial likeness in Victorian cases of imposture. During her time at the Science History Institute she will be conducting research for a new book about the 19th-century British chemical trades, photography, and environmental law.


About the Series

Lunchtime Lectures are a series of (mostly) weekly, informal talks on the history of chemistry or related subjects, including the history and social studies of science, technology, and medicine. Based on original research (sometimes still in progress), these talks are given by local scholars for an audience of the Institute staff and fellows and interested members of the public.