Chapter

Mobilities of Knowledge

Volume 10 of the series Knowledge and Space pp 67-84

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Date:

Circulating Seditious Knowledge: The “Daring Absurdities, Studied Misrepresentations, and Abominable Falsehoods” of William Macintosh

  • Innes M. KeighrenAffiliated withDepartment of Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London Email author 

Abstract

The author examines the writing, editing, anonymous publication, and translation of a late-eighteenth-century text of travel and political sedition: Travels in Europe, Asia, and Africa (1782). Written by William Macintosh, a Scots-born Caribbean plantation owner turned political commentator, Travels was considered by contemporaries to be incendiary—precipitating British governmental action against the East India Company, inspiring revolutionary spirit in France, informing politicians in the United States during the drafting of the Constitution, and instructing natural philosophers in Germany on questions of race and civilization. The author argues that the international spatial mobility of Macintosh’s book was facilitated by geographically distinct acts of editing, translation, and reproduction. The complex publication history of Travels—across editions in English, German, and French—is used to demonstrate that Macintosh’s work was differently staged for different linguistic audiences. The author concludes by reflecting more broadly on the importance of mediation to the mobility of knowledge.

Keywords

Authorship Editing Translation Book history Geographies of knowledge