• Offered by School of History
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject History
  • Areas of interest History

The era of the Enlightenment played a key role in shaping the world in which we now live.  The eighteenth century saw the rise of new forms of intellectual culture which challenged political, social and religious order in a process that stretched from Europe to the Americas and parts of Asia and Africa.  This course assists students to explore the Enlightenment in its historical context.  Going beyond the traditional history of ideas, we will examine the major thinkers of the period within the framework of the national and international cultures that shaped their thought.  We will consider the social origins of the enlightenment in different settings; changing relationships between philosophers, the state and the public; competing visions of social and political life amongst Enlightenment thinkers; and the long-term legacy of the Enlightenment as a whole.  

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:

1)      Demonstrate critical understanding of key themes and issues in the study of the Enlightenment

2)      Analyse and explicate major ideas associated with the history of the Enlightenment

3)      Explain relationships between the intellectual developments of the period and broader issues of historical context

4)      Use period sources to reconstruct attitudes, beliefs and arguments from the past

5)      Construct evidence-based arguments about the origins, character and/or legacy of the Enlightenment

6)      Design and complete a research project on the history of the Enlightenment with assistance from the convenor

Indicative Assessment

Essay of 2000 words 30% (LOs 1,2,3,4,5)

Research Essay of 3,500 words, 60% (LOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

Oral and/or written contribution to class activities - 10% (1,2,3,4)

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


A weekly lecture of 1.5-2 hours duration, and a tutorial of one hour.  Lectures will be recorded and made available via Wattle.  In addition, students should expect to spend an average of 7-7.5 hours per week over the course of the semester, preparing for class activities, writing essays and studying for the exam.

Prescribed Texts

Weekly tutorial reading will be made available to students in electronic form.

Students seeking preliminary reading for the course might look at:


D. Edelstein, The Enlightenment: A Genealogy (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2010)

M. Fitzpatrick et al. (eds.), The Enlightenment World (Abingdon: Routledge, 2004)

I. Kramnick, The Portable Enlightenment Reader (Penguin: New York, 1995)

D. Outram, The Enlightenment (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995/2005)



Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Students continuing in their current program of study will have their tuition fees indexed annually from the year in which you commenced your program. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
1994-2003 $1542
2004 $1926
2005 $2286
2006 $2286
2007 $2286
2008 $2286
2009 $2286
2010 $2358
2011 $2424
2012 $2472
2013 $2472
2014 $2478
International fee paying students
Year Fee
1994-2003 $3618
2004 $3618
2005 $3618
2006 $3618
2007 $3618
2008 $3618
2009 $3618
2010 $3750
2011 $3756
2012 $3756
2013 $3756
2014 $3762
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
3226 16 Feb 2015 06 Mar 2015 31 Mar 2015 29 May 2015 In Person N/A

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