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Cosmopolitanisms in Enlightenment Europe and Beyond


Edited By Mónica García-Salmones and Pamela Slotte

This volume offers critical, historical and theoretical perspectives on cosmopolitanism, paying attention to its implications and manifestations both within and outside Europe. It also explores the links between cosmopolitanism and teleological understandings of Europe: there is an idea of «progress» not far below the surface of the concept, but what does it mean and what is its ultimate aim? Through this analysis, the authors uncover several cosmopolitanisms originating and playing out in different periods of European history, most notably during Antiquity and during the European Enlightenment. The book shows that some of the languages of cosmopolitanism did not originate in or locate themselves exclusively in Europe, but that they nonetheless spread through connections with that continent, most commonly through the colonial encounter. The study contains valuable historical analyses of cosmopolitanism in context, in Europe, Russia, the Ottoman Empire and Africa. The book is based on papers presented at the conference «Revisiting the Imaginations of Europe and the World: Coming to Terms with Teleologies and Assessing Cosmopolitanism», held at the University of Helsinki in 2010.


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Introduction (Mónica GARCÍA-SALMONES & Pamela SLOTTE)


11 Introduction Mónica GARCÍA-SALMONES & Pamela SLOTTE The invitation to think of oneself as a “citizen of the world” will strike most modern individuals as eminently reasonable, indeed some- thing so self-evident that it is hard to find anything beyond platitude to justify it. In an age of globalisation, we are all “cosmopolitans”. And yet when we think about this more closely, most of us will find the invita- tion hard to take in full seriousness. We may even come to think of it as a facile suggestion to overlook those other local identities that all of us have and whose pull often feels more tangible and more urgent than that of an abstract call to feel oneself one with the world. Though a classical theme of intellectual history, cosmopolitanism is rarely treated in all its complexity. Seldom is highlighted not only cosmopolitanism obvious attractiveness but also its intricate and demanding character. What indeed might it really be to feel no allegiance beyond that to the world at large? Or might it be that the abstract universalism of the invitation to cosmopolitanism may itself be contextualized as part of some clearly definable local and temporal moment? What indeed is its relationship to the various European philosophical vocabularies in which it is often expressed? This volume offers critical, historical and theoretical perspectives on cosmopolitanism, with reference also to its implications and forms of appearance outside Europe. It also enquires about the links between cosmopolitanism and teleological understandings of Europe: there...

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