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Clare Griffin

Published On


Page Range

pp. 255-286

Print Length

31 pages

8. Bureaucracy and Knowledge Creation: The Apothecary Chancery

  • Clare Griffin (author)
Here, Griffin considers the extent to which, in the 17th century, a chancery established for the benefit of the Tsar and his family – the ‘Apothecary Chancery’ – could and did, albeit to a limited extent, generate knowledge for somewhat wider distribution. The chancery produced reports, covering a range of subjects, which included autopsies to establish cause of death, “physicals” of servitors to see if they were still fit to serve, investigations into the private trade in medical drugs, proposed courses of treatments, notes regarding unsuccessful treatments, and considerations of illnesses, medicines, and medical practices. Griffin uses these reports to investigate knowledge circulation and information technologies in the context of seventeenth-century Russian administration, and in turn to see what the Russian case can reveal about information technologies in the early modern context.


Clare Griffin