Pirates and politics

Published on: February 2 / 2023

An anthropologist argues that experimental communities in Madagascar influenced the European Enlightenment

Pirate Enlightenment, or the Real Libertalia review by Jatin Dua, Science

In his book, “Pirate Enlightenment, or the Real Libertalia,” the point isn’t the swashbuckling — though some swashes do indeed buckle — but the real story of antiauthoritarianism, gendered economics and direct democracy behind a legendary 18th-century pirate province. The bleeding edge of the Enlightenment’s democratic revolution, in this telling, wasn’t to be found in a Parisian guillotine but rather in the fragile consensus forged over long meetings on a distant island.

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