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