Macintosh: published!

Mobilites of Knowledge

I am delighted to report that the first paper emerging directly from my research on William Macintosh has just been published in an excellent edited collection, Mobilities of knowledge. The book has been a rather long time coming (I submitting my chapter in 2012, I think), but has been worth the wait (not least because the book had been published on an open-access basis). The editors, Heike Jöns, Peter Meusburger, and Michael Heffernan, have brought together an interesting and diverse set of contributions that will doubtless appeal to scholars in a wide range of disciplines.

My own chapter—“Circulating seditious knowledge: the ‘daring absurdities, studied misrepresentations, and abominable falsehoods’ of William Macintosh”—examines the authorship, publication, translation, and edition history of Travels in Europe, Asia, and Africa. The abstract follows:

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.

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