This article explores the home as a site of ‘scientific’ enquiry in eighteenth-century Britain and Ireland via the experiences of female experimenters. The focus of their investigation was the cultivation of silkworms for the purposes of making silk and substituting expensive foreign imports with domestic manufacture. This research argues that enquiry was just one of many domestic practices and that the relationship between domestic labour and intellectual work was enmeshed. The spaces and objects of home, alongside the tacit knowledge of its inhabitants, provided a flexible context for experiment, which was accessible to a broad section of eighteenth-century society.
- domestic space
- intellectual enquiry
- Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce
- Dublin Society
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- School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics - Senior Lecturer