The hot-air balloon, invented by the Montgolfier brothers in 1783, launched for the second time just days before the Treaty of Paris would end the American Revolutionary War. The technological marvel highlighted celebrations of French military victory against Britain and ignited a balloon mania that swept across Europe at the end of the Enlightenment. This frenzy for balloon experiments fundamentally altered the once elite audience for science by bringing aristocrats and commoners together. This book explores how this flying machine not only expanded the audience for science but also inspired utopian dreams of a republican monarchy that would obliterate social boundaries. The balloon was a people-machine that unified and mobilized the people of France, who imagined an aerial empire that would bring glory to the French nation.
Curative Powers combines post-colonial theory with ethnographic research to reconstruct how the Soviet government used medicine and public health policy to transform the society, politics, and culture of its outlying regions, specifically Kazakhstan.
Winner of the 2003 Heldt Prize from the Association for Women in Slavic Studies.