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The Science of Useful Nature in Central America

The Science of Useful Nature in Central America
Landscapes, Networks and Practical Enlightenment, 1784–1838


  • Publication planned for: August 2020
  • availability: Not yet published - available from August 2020
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108421232

£ 74.99

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About the Authors
  • In this ambitious new study, Sophie Brockmann argues that interactions with landscape and environment were central to the construction of Central American identities in the Age of Enlightenment. She argues that new intellectual connections and novel ways of understanding landscapes had a transformative impact on political culture, as patriotic reformers sought to improve the region's fortunes by applying scientific and 'useful' knowledge gathered from local and global networks to the land. These reformers established networks that extended into the countryside and far beyond Central America's borders. Tracing these networks and following the bureaucrats, priests, labourers, merchants and scholars within them, Brockmann shows how they made a lasting impact by defining a new place for the natural world in narratives of nation and progress.

    • Combines intellectual history and the history of science with historical geography and environmental history.
    • Traces the impact of Enlightenment ideas and late-colonial reformers' projects on the independent nations of Central America.
    • Situates the global history of Enlightenment in a place usually considered “peripheral” in world history and even within the Spanish empire.
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    Product details

    • Publication planned for: August 2020
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108421232
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 mm
    • availability: Not yet published - available from August 2020
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction. A kingdom of vast extension
    1. Landscape, ruins, and governance
    2. Networks of knowledge and action
    3. Making enlightenment local
    4. Useful geography in practice
    5. Transforming environments
    6. Independence and useful nature
    Glossary of colonial administrative terms

  • Author

    Sophie Brockmann, De Montfort University, Leicester
    Sophie Brockmann is a senior lecturer in History at De Montfort University, Leicester.

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