Crafting Enlightenment

BookCrafting Enlightenment

Crafting Enlightenment

Artisanal Histories and Transnational Networks

Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment, 2021:06


June 14th, 2021



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A ground-breaking volume examining the transnational conditions of the European Enlightenment, Crafting Enlightenment argues that artisans of the long eighteenth-century on four different continents created and disseminated ideas that revolutionized how we understand modern-day craftsmanship, design, labor, and technology. Starting in Europe, this book journeys through France across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas and then on to Asia and Oceania. Highlighting diverse identities of artisans, the authors trace how these historical actors formed networks at local and global levels to assert their own forms of expertise and experience. These artisans – some anonymous, eminent, and outside the margins – translated European Enlightenment thinking into a number of disciplines and trades including architecture, botany, ceramics, construction, furniture, gardening, horology, interior design, manuscript illustration, and mining.
In each thematic section of this illustrated volume, two leading scholars present contrasting case studies of artisans in different geographic contexts. These paired chapters are also followed by shorter commentary that reflects on pertinent themes from both chapters.
Emphasizing how and why artisanal histories around the world impacted civic and private life, commerce, cultural engagement, and sense of place, this book introduces new richness and depth to the conversations around the ambivalent and fragmented nature of the Enlightenment.

'The essays themselves are the real strength of the collection, and it is pleasing to see them well illustrated, with seventy-six plates overall, most in full colour, allowing for a visual grasp of the objects under discussion. A short review cannot effectively summarize the wide range of topics on display, but, there is much here to appreciate.’,
David Andress, French Studies

'Crafting Enlightenment is that rare thing, an exceptionally well-crafted compendium of current thinking on an historically important topic that enlightens the reader and leaves her wanting to learn more.'
Katie Scott, Journal18

Author Information

Lauren R. Cannady, assistant clinical professor in University Honors at the University of Maryland, is a historian of early modern art and architecture with an interest in intellectual and cultural history. Her previous publications include analyses of early modern garden patterns and French aesthetic philosophy, and her current project is a book on northern European gardens as sites of knowledge production and transmission. Jennifer Ferng is Senior Lecturer in Architecture and Postgraduate Director at the University of Sydney. She received her PhD from MIT. Her second co-edited book 'Land Air Sea' will address how architecture and environment(s) in the early modern era forecasted contemporary issues related to climate change and sustainability.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
List of figures9
Introduction: assembling artisanal identities across geographies21
I. Envisioning artisanal histories47
Sovereign Sun King49
Visualizing urban festivals in the Ottoman Empire: a comparison of the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries69
Telling artisanal time107
II. Collaborative objects113
The secret to success: urbanization and luxury decoration at the place Louis-le-Grand115
The Spanish colonial world in microcosm: a Puebla desk-and-bookcase135
Artisanal agency, anonymity, and power167
III. Religion and the commerce of empire171
Mark of disgrace or matter of politeness? Materiality, trust, and expectation in early-eighteenth-century Virginia173
Interregna: the Société des arts and the scale of time223
Confessional complications in maritime trade261
IV. Corporeal ecologies265
A “small” story of the jasmine flower in the age of global botany267
Fire walk with me: tales of artisanal body (parts) and innovation in early modern China293
Grounded terrains and vertical landscapes in eighteenth-century Asia317
V. Enlightenment technologies321
Craft knowledge in the age of encyclopedism323
Miniature domination: mining the worlds of goldfields jewelry and emu eggs355
Artisans as thinkers in the early modern world383