• Class Number 7392
  • Term Code 3160
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery Online
    • Alexander Cook
    • Alexander Cook
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 26/07/2021
  • Class End Date 29/10/2021
  • Census Date 14/09/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/08/2021
SELT Survey Results

The era of the Enlightenment is widely regarded as a formative period in the history of the modern world. It is a period in which new ideas about nature, religion, politics and social order spread across Europe and its colonial worlds with profound effects. Today, the values and aspirations of that era are often treated as foundation stones for modern liberal-democratic societies or, alternatively, as ideals that have been betrayed and abandoned. Yet the Enlightenment has always had its critics. From the 1700s until today there have been those who regarded the Enlightenment as a threat to European or Christian civilisation, and those who have regarded it as a tool of conquest on behalf of that civilisation. There have been people who reject the ideals and aspirations of that era and those who re-invented or appropriated them to serve their own ends. This advanced course seeks to explore both the Enlightenment, in its historical context, and the debates it has spawned from the 1700s until the present. In doing so, students will be encouraged to investigate the original history of the Enlightenment in a critical relationship with the, sometimes distorting, representations of both its admirers and critics.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills 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. examine relationships between the intellectual developments of the period and broader issues of historical context;
  4. construct evidence-based arguments about the origins, character and/or legacy of the Enlightenment; and
  5. design and complete a research project on the history of the Enlightenment with assistance from the convener.

Research-Led Teaching

This course relates directly to my research on the intellectual history of the Enlightenment and the Age or Revolution

Field Trips


Additional Course Costs


Required Resources

All required readings will be supplied via Wattle

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)

A. Pagden, The Enlightenment and Why it Still Matters (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015)

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Course introduction - What is the Enlightenment? Changing understandings
2 The historiography of Enlightenment: Themes and Issues
3 Reason, Science and Nature in the Enlightenment
4 The Enlightenment and Religion: Conflict and Entanglement
5 Politics and the State: The power of truth and the truth of power
6 The Economics of the Enlightenment: Selling books and books on selling
7 Enlightenment, Globalization, Empire: The politics of cosmopolitanism and civilization
8 Enlightenment in the Age of Revolution: The fault of Voltaire vs the fault of Rousseau?
9 The Counter-Enlightenment 1: Theocrats
10 The Counter-Enlightenment 2: Romantics
11 Contesting the Enlightenment in the 20th Century
12 Claiming the Enlightenment Today

Tutorial Registration

Via Wattle

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Historiographical essay 30 % 03/09/2021 24/09/2021 1,2,3,4,5
Research essay proposal 5 % 01/10/2021 08/10/2021 1,2,3,4,5,6
Research essay 55 % 12/11/2021 05/12/2021 1,2,3,4,5,6
Oral and/or written contribution to class activities 10 % * * 1,2,3,4,5

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using 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. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the Academic Integrity . In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


A value of 10% will be ascribed to student course contribution to facilitate group learning and collective teaching. This can be in oral or written form.


This course has no examination.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 03/09/2021
Return of Assessment: 24/09/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Historiographical essay

2000 words.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 5 %
Due Date: 01/10/2021
Return of Assessment: 08/10/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6

Research essay proposal

A proposal of c.500 words plus bibliography.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 55 %
Due Date: 12/11/2021
Return of Assessment: 05/12/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6

Research essay

Research essay of 3,500 words.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Oral and/or written contribution to class activities

A value of 10% will be ascribed to student course contribution to facilitate group learning and collective teaching. This can be in oral or written form.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with.

The Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission not permitted. If submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date is not permitted, a mark of 0 will be awarded.
  • Late submission permitted. Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Alexander Cook

Research Interests

Modern British and European history, the Enlightenment, the Age of Revolution, Intellectual history, Historical theory and method

Alexander Cook

By Appointment
By Appointment
Alexander Cook

Research Interests

Alexander Cook

By Appointment
By Appointment

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