The Geographies of Enlightenment Edinburgh

The Geographies of Enlightenment Edinburgh

Phil Dodds


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Edinburgh was an Enlightenment city of regional, national and global influence. But how did the people of Enlightenment Edinburgh understand and order their world? How did they encounter, compare and produce different kinds of spaces, from the urban to the world scale? And how did this city set the universal standards by which other places should be judged and transformed?

The Geographies of Enlightenment Edinburgh answers these questions by exploring the thousands of urban plans, county surveys, travel accounts and encyclopaedias that passed through a busy Edinburgh bookshop over four decades. It reveals how these geographical publications were produced and shared, and sheds light on the people who bought and used them - including moral philosophers, silk merchants, school teachers, ship's surgeons and slave owners.

This is the story of how specific methods of mapping space came ultimately to predict and organize it, creating a new world in Edinburgh's image. By connecting global processes of knowledge production to intimate accounts of its reception in the city, this book deepens our understanding of the Scottish Enlightenment and the world it made.


Phil Dodds:
PHIL DODDS is a researcher in the Department of Arts and Cultural Sciences at Lund University, Sweden.