Ocean of knowledge. Globalization and the making of knowledge in the Atlantic world, c. 1680-1850

This research project takes a spatial view on the development of knowledge. The key question is how the growth of circulation of people, goods and ideas in the Atlantic world between the 17th and early 19th centuries affected the development of 'useful and reliable' knowledge (e.g. in navigation, cartography, meteorology, natural history) and how this body of 'useful and reliable' knowledge in turn affected the growth of globalization.

The project compares developments in the British, Dutch, Spanish and French Atlantics and it looks at the role of institutional forces (imperial governments, religious organizations, trading companies, scientific societies) as well as at network-building from below.

Project details


EUR 15,000

Prof. Dr. Karel Davids
E-mail: c.a.davids@vu.nl


Publications 2014

  • Davids, K. , ‘The scholarly Atlantic. Circuits of knowledge between Britain, the Dutch Republic and the Americas in the eighteenth century’, in: Gert Oostindie and Jessica V. Roitman (eds.), Dutch Atlantic connections, 1680-1800. Linking empires, bridging borders (Brill, Boston/Leiden 2014) 224-248.
  • Davids, K. , ‘Colonial, religious and commercial machines: Globalization as an impulse for knowledge’,  in: Ulrike Gehring and Peter Weibel (eds.), Mapping spaces. Networks of knowledge in 17th century landscape painting, (Hirmer, Munich 2014) 212-219.