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.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Demonstrate critical understanding of key themes and issues in the study of the Enlightenment;
- Analyse and explicate major ideas associated with the history of the Enlightenment;
- Explain relationships between the intellectual developments of the period and broader issues of historical context;
- Use period sources to reconstruct attitudes, beliefs and arguments from the past; and,
- Construct evidence-based arguments about the origins, character and/or legacy of the Enlightenment.
Indicative AssessmentResearch Essay of 2,500 words, 50% (LOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
Exam, 40% (LOs 1,2,3,4,5)
Oral and/or written contribution to class activities – 10% (1,2,3,4)
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Workload130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of tutorial and tutorial-like activities; and
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.
Requisite and Incompatibility
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)
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- 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.