Rethinking the relationship between eighteenth-century Pietist traditions and Enlightenment thought and practice, The Practices of Enlightenment unravels the complex and often neglected religious origins of modern secular discourse. Mapping surprising routes of exchange between the religious and aesthetic writings of the period and recentering concerns of authorship and audience, this book revitalizes scholarship on the Enlightenment. By engaging with three critical categories-aesthetics, authorship, and the public sphere-The Practices of Enlightenment illuminates the relationship between religious and aesthetic modes of reflective contemplation, autobiography and the hermeneutics of the self, and the discursive creation of the public sphere. Focusing largely on German intellectual life, this critical engagement also extends to France through Rousseau and to England through Shaftesbury. Rereading canonical works and lesser-known texts by Goethe, Lessing, and Herder, the book challenges common narratives recounting the rise of empiricist philosophy, the idea of the "sensible" individual, and the notion of the modern author as celebrity, bringing new perspective to the Enlightenment concepts of instinct, drive, genius, and the public sphere.
The meeting in 1774 between Lobsang Palden Yeshes (1738–1780), the Third Panchen Lama, and George Bogle (1746–1781), an agent of the East India Company, was the first encounter between Britain and Tibet. This remarkable moment in world history brought the Scottish Enlightenment into contact with Tibetan Lamaist Buddhism. The commentaries written during this episode are used to test the widely held view that Enlightenment thinking led to European imperialism. The evidence from this encounter shows that Enlightenment-era mentalities could be both supportive of and antipathetic to imperialism. The article ends by glancing briefly at Tibetan imperialism in an earlier period to suggest that both Buddhism and the Enlightenment were sometimes implicated in the creation of empires but that neither can be viewed as the root cause of imperialism.
"This paper examines the nature of British geographical work in Central Asia (Persia and Afghanistan) in a period when Britain was concerned about a region which lay between Europe and Enlightenment on the one hand, and her Indian colonies, the uncertainties of Asia and the imperial designs of France and Russia on the other. The paper explores the connections between geography, diplomacy and colonial knowledge and demonstrates how the mapping and geographical study of Central Asia was a central feature of British colonial ambitions and of Enlightenment conceptual reasoning. In illuminating the ways in which ‘ancient’ and ‘modern’ geography was at work in this politically core yet geographically ‘marginal’ space, the paper highlights the complexities intrinsic to the making of geography and of empire in a region until now neglected in modern historical geography."
If there is one genre of art that seems to have played a greater role than any other, it is the nude. For at least 30,000 years, humans have represented the naked form in a variety of ways. From the ideal to the real, the Romantic to the Surrealist, there have been almost no end of works devoted to the unclothed human body. This series - presented by writer and broadcaster Tim Marlow - will examine those artworks, the societies that produced them and the artists that made them. 24 mins
"Enter 18th-century salons and cafes to join the debates over modernity and politics. While writers such as Voltaire, Diderot, and Rousseau argued over natural rights, political reform, the social contract, and more, the Old Regime cracked down on dissidents and threw writers in jail for criticizing the government." 33 mins