A Fig For Your Philosophy and Great Knowledge in the Sciences: Observation, Deception, Scientific Fraud and Social Authority in the Antebellum Museum

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A Fig For Your Philosophy and Great Knowledge in the Sciences: Observation, Deception, Scientific Fraud and Social Authority in the Antebellum Museum

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Title: A Fig For Your Philosophy and Great Knowledge in the Sciences: Observation, Deception, Scientific Fraud and Social Authority in the Antebellum Museum
Author: Nagle, Jeffrey
Advisor: Minkin, Shane E.; Dorsey, Bruce A.
Department: Swarthmore College. Dept. of History
Type: Thesis (B.A.)
Issue Date: 2012
Abstract: There is an increasingly sophisticated literature on the role played by museums in reaffirming social norms of examination in the antebellum United States. This literature has largely focused on the way museums presented this knowledge to the public, not how audiences reacted to claims of scientific authority. Popular reaction to pseudoscientific claims demonstrated to the public in the scientific context of museums, in this case Charles Redheffer's 1812 perpetual motion device and P. T. Barnum's Fejee Mermaid, shed light on the close relationship between early popular scientific observation and ways of judging authenticity and deception in the commercial and social realms of the antebellum period.
Note: Co-winner of the 2012 Robert S. DuPlessis Prize
Terms of Use: Full copyright to this work is retained by the student author. This work has not been published and access is restricted to members of the Swarthmore College community. It may only be used for non-commercial, research and educational purposes at Swarthmore College. All other uses are restricted.
Permanent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10066/8311

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Nagle, Jeffrey. "A Fig For Your Philosophy and Great Knowledge in the Sciences: Observation, Deception, Scientific Fraud and Social Authority in the Antebellum Museum". 2012. Available electronically from http://hdl.handle.net/10066/8311.

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