Chandra Mukerji 

Chandra Mukerji

University of California, San Diego
Department of Communication, 0503
9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0503

MCC 106

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Chandra Mukerji has a PhD in Sociology, and works in the Communication Department. She has won prizes for her books, including the Distinguished Book Award from the American Sociological Association for Impossible Engineering: Technology and Territoriality on the Canal du Midi.

She is interested empirically in how changes in the built environment are furthered by science, and how materiality shapes social life. Conceptually, she is interested in distributed cognition, material memory, object agency, and post-humanist theories in science studies.

Her research interests include

  • History of Technology
  • Materiality
  • Object Agency


A Fragile Power won the Merton Award from the SKAT section of the ASA. Territorial Ambitions won the Douglas Prize from the Culture Section of the ASA. Impossible Engineering was co-recipient of the 2012 Distinguished Book Award from the ASA.



  • From Graven Images: Patterns of Modern Materialism (Columbia, 1983)
  • A Fragile Power: Scientists and the State (1990)
  • (with Michael Schudson) Rethinking Popular Culture. (California, 1990)
  • Territorial Ambitions and the Gardens of Versailles (Cambridge, 1997)
  • Impossible Engineering: Technology and Territoriality on the Canal du Midi (Princeton, 2009)
  • Modernity Reimagined (Routledge, 2017)

Selected Articles

  • “Material Practices of Domination and Techniques of Western Power.” Theory and Society. 2002 31:1-31.
  • "Intelligent Uses of Engineering and the Legitimacy of State Power" Technology and Culture, 2003 44:655-676
  • "Tacit Knowledge and Classical Technique in Seventeenth-Century France: Hydraulic Cement as Living Practice among Masons and Military Engineers." Technology and Culture, 2006 47:213-233.
  • “The Territorial State as a Figured World of Power: Strategics, Logistics and Impersonal Rule” Sociological Theory Dec. 2010 28 (4):402-425.
  • “Jurisdiction, inscription, and state formation: Administrative modernism and knowledge regimes.” Theory and Society, May 2011 40 (3):223-245. Available at

Selected Book Chapters

  • "Entrepreneurialism, Land Management and Cartography during the Age of Louis XIV” in Pamela Smith and Paula Findlen (eds) Merchants and Marvels. Routledge, 2002, pp. 248-276.
  • “Dominion, Demonstration and Domination” in Colonial Botany. Londa Schiebinger and Claudia Swann, eds. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005.
  • “Demonstration and Verification in Engineering” In Lissa Roberts, Simon Schaffer and Peter Dear (eds.), The Mindful Hand. Edita Press &U. of Chicago, 2007, pp. 169-188.
  •  “Women Engineers and the Culture of the Pyrenees”in Pamela Smith and Benjamin Schmidt (eds.) Knowledge & its Making in the Early Modern World. U of Chicago Press. 2008, pp. 19-44.