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Science, technology and culture in Birmingham and the West Midlands, 1760–1820

This book sets out to explain how - in a particular provincial context - the widespread public consumption of science underpinned a very considerable expansion of know-how or technological capability. In other words, it explains how conditions conducive to 'Industrial Enlightenment' came into being. Industrial Enlightenment appears to fit best as a characterisation of what was taking place in eighteenth-century Britain. Diffusing knowledge among savants was not at all the same as embedding it in technological or industrial processes. In the matter of application as opposed to dissemination, Europe's science cultures are revealed as very far from being evenly permeable, or receptive. The book explores whether the religious complexion of Birmingham and the West Midlands, and more especially the strength of protestant Nonconformity, might explain the precocious development of conditions favourable to Industrial Enlightenment across the region. It also focuses on the international ramifications of the knowledge economy, and the very serious dislocation that it suffered at the century's end as a consequence of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. Whilst these late-century interruptions to the free flow of knowledge and technical know-how served mainly to thrust English provincial science in an ever more utilitarian direction, they signally retarded developments on the Continent. As a result, overseas visitors arriving in Birmingham and Soho after the signing of the peace treaties of 1814-15 were dismayed to discover that they faced a very considerable knowledge and know-how deficit.

The revolutionary rise of popular sovereignty
Torbjørn L. Knutsen

The eighteenth century has many names: the Age of the Old Regime, the Age of Enlightenment, the Age of Democratic Revolution, the Age of Cosmopolitanism … It is rarely called the Age of Upheaval, although it is an apt label: The eighteenth century began with a wave of great wars. These wars stimulated the emergence of the modern state. The growth of the state was one of the characteristic features of the century. Debates about the nature of states and about their interrelations mark the political thought of the age. The evolving institutions of

in A history of International Relations theory (third edition)
The myths of modernity

This book offers a critical survey of religious change and its causes in eighteenth-century Europe, and constitutes a challenge to the accepted views in traditional Enlightenment studies. Focusing on Enlightenment Italy, France and England, it illustrates how the canonical view of eighteenth-century religious change has in reality been constructed upon scant evidence and assumption, in particular the idea that the thought of the enlightened led to modernity. For, despite a lack of evidence, one of the fundamental assumptions of Enlightenment studies has been the assertion that there was a vibrant Deist movement which formed the “intellectual solvent” of the eighteenth century. The central claim of this book is that the immense ideological appeal of the traditional birth-of-modernity myth has meant that the actual lack of Deists has been glossed over, and a quite misleading historical view has become entrenched.

Jewish emancipation and the Jewish question
Robert Fine
Philip Spencer

1 Struggles within Enlightenment: Jewish emancipation and the Jewish question The principle of modern states has enormous strength and depth because it allows the principle of subjectivity to attain fulfilment in the self-sufficient extreme of personal particularity while at the same time bringing it back to substantial unity and so preserving this unity in the principle of subjectivity itself

in Antisemitism and the left
Peter M. Jones

5 Industry, Enlightenment and Dissent T he overview of eighteenth-century Europe’s uneven science cultures which brought the argument in the last chapter to a close begs an obvious question which now needs to be tackled. How should we construe the relationship between science and religion? Voltaire’s ‘Ecrasez-l’infâme’1 offers a point of departure, but it only requires a moment’s reflection to realise that his impatient condemnation of intolerant Roman Catholicism as a barrier to human progress leads nowhere. Many of the advances registered in Europe during the

in Industrial Enlightenment
David Alderson

11 Saturday’s Enlightenment David Alderson The principal focus of this essay is on Ian McEwan’s novel, Saturday. The motivation for writing it, however, is to engage with larger debates on the British left – including the liberal left to which McEwan in some sense belongs – about the US- and British-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and more generally about the continuing imperatives of empire. Set on 15 February, the day of the anti-invasion protests – though published in 2005, and written therefore in the knowledge of all that had transpired – Saturday explores

in End of empire and the English novel since 1945
S.J. Barnett

The myth of Enlightenment deism 1 The myth of Enlightenment deism The myth of the deist movement The first hint of deism in the historical record is to be found in sixteenth-century Lyon. In 1563 Pierre Viret, a close colleague of the Protestant reformer Calvin, wrote the Instruction Chrétienne, in which he described various freethinkers who needed to be combated. Amongst them Viret mentioned those ‘qui s’appelent déistes, d’un mot tout nouveau’ (‘who call themselves deists, a completely new word’) and his description of them heavily emphasized their lack of

in The Enlightenment and religion
Chiharu Yoshioka

The Gothic is the discourse which embodies the dialectic of the Enlightenment, with its potential to push the frontier of reason into the mythologized darkness. Embarking on the use of genre fiction as political discourse and finding a voice to tell a story of her generation, Carter made a major breakthrough in her career. Making use of the Gothic palimpsest, Carters Marianne leaves behind the sphere of (feminine) ‘interiority’-the psychic spaces of desire and anxiety for the (supposedly masculine) catharsis in the Other world, as a sixties heroine of sensibility. Heroes and Villains calls for the reconstruction of enlightenment at the ‘post-modern’ ruins of civilization.

Gothic Studies
Adrian O’Connor

1 Education and an ambivalent Enlightenment As Peter Gay noted almost half a century ago, ideas about education were central to the theory, ambitions, and experience of the Enlightenment.1 Philosophes and fellow travelers concerned themselves to an extraordinary degree with education and its power to shape people’s character, capacities, and lives, to influence who they were individually and altogether. What people could and should learn, by whom they should be taught and how much instruction they should receive, where and to what end they should be educated

in In pursuit of politics
Ali Rattansi

Bauman on the Enlightenment and modernity It is highly improbable that by the time he came to compose Legislators and Interpreters Bauman had not read Lyotard’s The Postmodern Condition, which had, after all, kick-started the debate about modernity in the social sciences. However, although there is no mention of Lyotard in the book, Bauman was pursuing a parallel project: a wholesale critique of the universalist pretensions of the European Enlightenment of the eighteenth century. Intellectuals and the Enlightenment The originality of Bauman’s approach is not in

in Bauman and contemporary sociology