It is the first time that the Australian Studies Journal hosts a special, thematically focussed and guest-edited issue. We are delighted to present highly innovative research lying at the core of transnational and comparative studies between Europe, Australia, and America. The special issue shows intricacies and complexities of a fundamentally global world in the late eighteenth century. The contributions discuss the multiple facets of enlightened agencies, ranging from military and political history, over microhistory (Alltagsgeschichte) to the history of science, race, and culture. The special issue foregrounds the necessity for more transnational research in order to better understand the complex mechanisms of global, national, and regional histories.