Between Science and Utopia

Physical and Astronomical Notions within French and Polish Fourierism

in Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques
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This article investigates the role of physical and astronomical notions in the formation process of transnational political ideologies. It does so by focusing on the striking example of nineteenth-century early socialist movements, particularly Fourierism. Indeed, Fourier's bold cosmogony enabled him to connect many fields of knowledge, and soon became a powerful vehicle for his ideas on the international scale. The article likewise analyses the ideological process through which Fourierist astronomical conceptions were adopted by foreign socialists, focusing on examples of Polish thinkers such as Jan Czyński and Stanisław Bratkowski who, in drawing on Fourierist ideas and usage of scientific terms, tried to embed his vocabulary in the ongoing nineteenth-century debates about Polish history and, more generally, the burning issue of the independence of the Polish state. Our comparative analysis highlights the contextual influences which contributed to re-shaping such ideas within a new absorbing context.

Contributor Notes

Piotr Kuligowski is an NCN-funded research fellow at the Tadeusz Manteuffel Institute of History of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland. In 2019, he defended his PhD thesis in history at the Faculty of History, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland. His research interests revolve around questions exploring nineteenth-century Polish and European history, intellectual history, history of concepts, and methodology of humanities. He is the author of two books in Polish, and various research articles including those published in Journal of Political Ideologies, History of European Ideas, and Contributions to the History of Concepts. ORCID 0000-0002-6251-0482,

Quentin Schwanck is a doctoral candidate in political science at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon. He studies the influence of Saint-Simonian religious and administrative ideas in French Republicanism during the nineteenth century, through the action of intellectuals and statesmen such as Jean Reynaud, Hippolyte Carnot and Édouard Charton. ORCID 0000-0001-6686-108X,