The Enlightenment In Practice: Academic Prize Contests and Intellectual Culture in France, 1670-1794 by Jeremy L. CaradonnaThe Enlightenment In Practice: Academic Prize Contests and Intellectual Culture in France, 1670-1794 by Jeremy L. Caradonna

The Enlightenment In Practice: Academic Prize Contests and Intellectual Culture in France, 1670-1794

byJeremy L. Caradonna

Hardcover | March 13, 2012

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Public academic prize contests—the concours académique—played a significant role in the intellectual life of Enlightenment France, with aspirants formulating positions on such matters as slavery, poverty, the education of women, tax reform, and urban renewal and submitting the resulting essays for scrutiny by panels of judges. In The Enlightenment in Practice, Jeremy L. Caradonna draws on archives both in Paris and the provinces to show that thousands of individuals—ranging from elite men and women of letters artisans, and peasants—participated in these intellectual competitions, a far broader range of people than has been previously assumed.

Caradonna contends that the Enlightenment in France can no longer be seen as a cultural movement restricted to a small coterie of philosophers or a limited number of printed texts. Moreover, Caradonna demonstrates that the French monarchy took academic competitions quite seriously, sponsoring numerous contests on such practical matters as deforestation, the quality of drinking water, and the nighttime illumination of cities. In some cases, the contests served as an early mechanism for technology transfer: the state used submissions to identify technical experts to whom it could turn for advice. Finally, the author shows how this unique intellectual exercise declined during the upheavals of the French Revolution, when voicing moderate public criticism became a rather dangerous act.

Jeremy L. Caradonna is Associate Professor of History at the University of Alberta.
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Title:The Enlightenment In Practice: Academic Prize Contests and Intellectual Culture in France, 1670-1794Format:HardcoverDimensions:352 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.39 inPublished:March 13, 2012Publisher:CORNELL UNIVERSITY PRESSLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801450608

ISBN - 13:9780801450600

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Table of Contents

Introduction
1. The Rebirth of the Concours Académique: Cultural Politics and the Domestication of Letters in the Age of Louis XIV
2. À la Recherche du Concours Académique
3. The Participatory Enlightenment
4. Dijon Revisited: Rousseau's First Discourse from the Perspective of the Concours Académique
5. The Concours Académique, Political Culture, and the Critical Public Sphere
6. The Practical Enlightenment: The Concours Académique, the State, and the Pursuit of Expertise
7. Prize Contests in the Revolutionary Crucible: Decline and Regeneration
Conclusion: The Enlightenment in Question

Appendixes
A. Academies and Societies in France That Held Public Prize Contests from the Fourteenth Century to 1794
B. Female Laureates of the Concours Académique, 1671–1790
C. Contests founded by the Abbé Raynal
D. Contests on Poverty, Begging, and Poor Relief
E. Contests Related to Urban Drinking Water
*F. List of Prize Contests Offered by Academies, Scholarly Societies, and Agricultural Societies in Continental France from 1670 to 1794

*available at http://www.jeremycaradonna.com

Notes
Works Cited
Index

Editorial Reviews

"The Enlightenment in Practice is an excellent work of history, based on exceptionally thorough primary research and organized and written in an appealing fashion. It is an instructive pleasure to read."—Kent Wright, Arizona State University, author of A Classical Republican in Eighteenth-Century France: The Political Thought of Mably