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:

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This chapter offers a series of questions and examines two further and related issues pertaining to the Enlightenment understood geographically. The first is to return to the theme of the Enlightenment's “future geographies.” This is the view in the Enlightenment that progress meant betterment, that ideas of progress and reform were not just moral and intellectual issues but were materially “earthed” in the sense that political economists, philosophers, natural historians, and others could build a better physical environment by “seconding Nature” as Georges-Louis Leclerc, comte de Buffon, had it, and by using the “Science of Man” and models of historical change to lay out new prospects. In short, the question asked is how did Enlightenment writers imagine the future geographically? The chapter considers modern moments and spaces of the Enlightenment's representation, its geographical “reenactment” even, in relation to the claims of those whose interests focus on the Enlightenment's continuing legacy.

Keywords: Enlightenment; future geographies; Nature; Georges-Louis Leclerc; physical environment; Science of Man; political economists; spaces; representation

Chapter.  3652 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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