Matthew C. Underwood F'09

Matthew C. Underwood

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2009
Doctoral Candidate
History of Science
Harvard University
Ordering Knowledge, Re-Ordering Empire: Science and State Formation in the English Atlantic World, 1650-1688

This dissertation argues that the early modern English state and its dependent empire were foundationally shaped by contemporary science. The revolution in information management central to the Scientific Revolution in England and the simultaneous development of bureaucratic state institutions for governing its expanding empire were consequential, not simply coincidental, historical developments. Many of the English state’s first imperial administrators were men of science, and to the extent that the new institutions they created were structured to accord with the same organizational principles and practices that defined the conduct of science, English state-sponsored empire building in this period was a scientific project—a character reflected in the empire’s subsequent political and economic development.