The transformation of geographical and scientific education in eighteenth-century England
|Elliott, P. and Daniels, S.
This chapter examines the expansion and reformulation of the sciences and geography as educational subjects in the long eighteenth century, between 1680 and 1830, in the context of Britain’s development as a dominant global power. It explores how sciences such as astronomy, natural history and natural philosophy and geographical education projected views of the nation and the participation of its subjects. A central issue is the role of scientific and geographical education as an ordering framework, both expressing and managing the powers of a consciously imperial nation. On the one hand, geographical education developed in the service of expanding empire. It equipped generations of young men, particularly those aiming at a career in the Royal Navy, not only to chart but to subjugate great expanses of the globe. In so doing, it cemented the power of established military and commercial elites at home. On the other hand, Geography was a rapidly advancing science, often taught in new and even progressive ways. Geographical knowledge also enabled some upward social mobility for those boys from poorer backgrounds lucky enough to be taught it. So geographical education was both a means to colonial conquest and a catalyst for intellectual liberation.
|Geography; sciences; education; eighteenth century England
|New Studies in the History of Education: Connecting the Past to the Present in an Evolving Discipline
|Place of publication
|The Routledge Education Studies Series
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
|Web address (URL)
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File Access Level
|12 Sep 2023
|Publication process dates
|10 Nov 2023
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