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Geography and Revolution

A term with myriad associations, revolution is commonly understood in its intellectual, historical, and sociopolitical contexts. Until now, almost no attention has been paid to revolution and questions of geography. Geography and Revolution examines the ways that place and space matter in a variety of revolutionary situations.

David N. Livingstone and Charles W. J. Withers assemble a set of essays that are themselves revolutionary in uncovering not only the geography of revolutions but the role of geography in revolutions. Here, scientific revolutions—Copernican, Newtonian, and Darwinian—ordinarily thought of as placeless, are revealed to be rooted in specific sites and spaces. Technical revolutions—the advent of print, time-keeping, and photography—emerge as inventions that transformed the world’s order without homogenizing it. Political revolutions—in France, England, Germany, and the United States—are notable for their debates on the nature of political institutions and national identity.

Gathering insight from geographers, historians, and historians of science, Geography and Revolution is an invitation to take the where as seriously as the who and the when in examining the nature, shape, and location of revolutions.

440 pages | 10 halftones, 7 line drawings | 6 x 9 | © 2005

Geography: Cultural and Historical Geography

History: British and Irish History, European History


"[The case studies that play with the major terms of the title] address the geography of revolutions, revolutions in geographical science, and the fate of geography during revolutions —usually more than one of these at once, and often with a fashionable reflexiveness (the geography of geography in the Scientific Revolution, or the geography of technical revolutions in geography)....The volume’s principal contribution [is] continuing to build the case for the historical importance of geographical science and its salience in cultural and political history."

Michael Dettelbach | Journal of Historical Geography

"The scholarship is excellent, the writing and editing of high quality, and the dialectic of geogrpahy and revolution at the heart of the project is interesting and productive."

Peter O. Muller | Annals of the Association of American Geographers

"Geography and Revolution serves its purpose well. No longer taking as a given the grand narratives and ’big-picture’ histories of revolutions, it successfully puts ’revolutions’ (scientific, technical and sociopolitical) in ther respective places and spaces."

British Journal of the History of Science

Like Livingstone and Wither’s previous editorial contribution, Geography and Enlightenment, Geography and Revolution highlights the important contributions geographical thinking can make to the history of science."

Daniela Bleichmar | Nuncius

"Primarily intended for a specialized academic audience, these essays will also profit the interested general reader, providing a glimpse into the way the discipline of geography views the world and insights into the roots of contemorary debates on the perceptival nature of knowledge."

Janel Curry | Books & Culture

"Whether harnessed to Hartshornian, Kuhnian, Foucaultian, Deleuzian, Latourian, or any number of less nominal approaches, the field has been cross-ploughed and sown with a considerable effort yielding respectable results. Of course, much more remains to be done. The well-edited and executed volume is testament to the first proposition and points in multiple ways toward the second."

Kent Mathewson | Journal of Regional Science

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments
1. On Geography and Revolution
David N. Livingstone and Charles W. J. Withers
Part I - Geography and Scientific Revolution: Space, Place, and Natural Knowledge
2. Space, Revolution, and Science
Peter Dear
3. National Styles in Science: A Possible Factor in the Scientific Revolution?
John Henry
4. Geography, Science, and the Scientific Revolution
Charles W. J. Withers
5. Revolution of the Space Invaders: Darwin and Wallace on the Geography of Life
James Moore
Part II. Geography and Technical Revolution: Time, Space, and the Instruments of Transmission
6. Printing the Map, Making a Difference: Mapping the Cape of Good Hope, 1488-1652
Jerry Brotton
7. Revolutions in the Times: Clocks and the Temporal Structures of Everyday Life
Paul Glennie and Nigel Thrift
8. Photography, Visual Revolutions, and Victorian Geography
James R. Ryan
Part III - Geography and Political Revolution: Geography and State Governance
9. Geography’s English Revolutions: Oxford Geography and the War of Ideas, 1600-1660
Robert J. Mayhew
10. Edme Mentelle’s Geographies and the French Revolution
Michael Heffernan
11. "Risen into Empire": Moral Geographies of the American Republic
David N. Livingstone
12. Alexander von Humboldt and Revolution: A Geography of Reception of the Varnhagen von Ense Correspondence
Nicolaas Rupke
Afterword: Revolutions and Their Geographies
Peter Burke

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