Article ID: CBB369638636

Mold’s Dominion: Science, Empire, and Capitalism in a Globalizing World (2021)


Today, Jōkichi Takamine and Albert Calmette are known for their contribution to the history of medicine. Yet their early careers centered not on medicine, but on biotechnology, and on parallel projects to bring a food processing technology used across Asia to new audiences around the world. In the end, they both succeeded, but in very different ways. Takamine would make his fortune with “Taka-Diastase,” a patent digestive aid once popular around the world; Calmette would help develop the “Amylo Process” of industrial brewing and distilling used as the basis of exploitative alcohol monopolies in colonial Indochina and Formosa. Understanding how a single technology could take on two radically different forms provides a unique opportunity to explore entanglements of science, empire, and capitalism in a globalizing world. Empires and capitalist enterprises combined to send mold along pathways that both reflected and transcended imperial boundaries. And as it traveled, mold was remade by—and in turn helped to remake—the political economies it encountered. Today, when the products of mold technologies are part of our daily lives, it’s tempting to see globalization in terms of seamless, uniform, and seemingly inevitable outcomes. This paper focuses attention instead on alternative paths, contingent and deeply inequitable processes, and the way science, empire, and capitalism produced the modern world.

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Authors & Contributors
Needham, Joseph
Huang, H. T.
Sargent, William
DeGrandpre, Richard J.
Waldby, Catherine
Bud, Robert
East Asian Science, Technology and Society: An International Journal
Notes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science
Indian Journal of History of Science
Centaurus: International Magazine of the History of Mathematics, Science, and Technology
Arbor: Ciencia, Pensamiento y Cultura
Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences
Cambridge University Press
University Press of New England
Duke University Press
University of Chicago Press
Harvard University Press
University of Maryland, College Park
Biotechnology industry
Science and politics
Needham, Joseph
Hesse, Edgar
Margulis, Lynn
Weizmann, Chaim
Targioni-Tozzetti, Giovanni
Time Periods
20th century, late
20th century
20th century, early
19th century
21st century
United States
Great Britain
London (England)
Royal Society of London
Basel. Universität

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