Abstract

Abstract:

Drawing on conventions of the insight legend, writers have consistently framed France's Nicolas Appert as "the father of canning," celebrating him as an innovative genius who in the early 1800s realized long-standing desires for fresh-yet-stable food. However, a process nearly identical to "appertization" was widely practiced more than a century earlier. Furthermore, unlike insight legends, Appert-centered histories never identify a Eureka! moment. Instead, these origin stories exemplify the perceptive vision of modern industry itself. Discounting knowledge coded as female or lodged in specific contexts, they construct a self-consciously modern corporate hero, holding up for veneration those with the power and desire to commodify, expand, and profit within capitalist systems. As they valorize "scientific" over and against "domestic" knowledge, these narratives minimize the costs of universalizing processes and misrepresent the ways knowledge is produced and circulated.

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