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Enlightenment

  • By: Mariselle Meléndez
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

The Enlightenment has typically been defined as a period of European thought, a broad intellectual movement, or the Age of Reason that took place in Europe approximately from the years 1685 to 1815 and that emphasized experience, reason, and mistrust of religion and traditional authority.

Definitions such as this one seem to confine the Enlightenment to a universal, static, and singular movement that existed within specific European countries. Such definitions also imply that it was understood and expressed similarly in all countries despite differences in languages, politics, economics, and religious beliefs. Nevertheless, the Enlightenment as a discourse and as a process was far more complex than what was originally envisioned, reaching more than one continent and being constructed in discrete and multiple forms around the globe. ...

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