Chapter

Geography in Practice

in Placing the Enlightenment

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2007 | ISBN: 9780226904054
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226904078 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226904078.003.0009
Geography in Practice

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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Enlightenment thinkers and writers turned to geography in many ways to understand and to represent their world. This chapter examines three themes to illustrate what this means. What connects them is mapping: as a practice of measuring space, as a metaphor of classification, and as a way in which we now can understand the Enlightenment geographically. The first theme explores not the strict definitions of what contemporaries knew as geography and as astronomy but rather the overlap in practice between them, the notion of “mathematical cosmography.” That mapping and mathematical cosmography were forms of geographical measurement is clear if one looks at Enlightenment concerns with population as a category of statistical enumeration and of political economy. Such attention to statistical accounting, to “geographical accountancy” even, had one expression in “fiscal-military” geography.

Keywords: Enlightenment; geography; space; astronomy; mathematical cosmography; population; statistical enumeration; political economy; statistical accounting; geographical accountancy

Chapter.  7844 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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