• Class Number 7121
  • Term Code 3160
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • 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 played a key role in shaping the world in which we now live.  The eighteenth century saw the rise of new ideas about science, politics, religion and social life that challenged existing beliefs and social systems, from Europe to the Americas and parts of Asia and Africa. The legacies of the Enlightenment remain an ongoing topic of celebration and dispute. 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; 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:

  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; and
  5. construct evidence-based arguments about the origins, character and/or legacy of the Enlightenment.

Research-Led Teaching

This course draws from and feeds into my own field of research on the Enlightenment and the Age of Revolution in Europe. It also encourages students to develop research skills, not only by requiring a research essay but by providing opportunities for students to develop their own essay project with structured support.

Field Trips


Additional Course Costs


Examination Material or equipment

This course gives students a choice between a final open book examination of two hours, or a take-home exam which will involve a synthetic essay.

Required Resources

Required readings will be provided 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)

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 the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

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 Introduction/What was the Enlightenment?
2 The Social World of the Enlightenment
3 Reason, Science and Nature
4 Religion and Religious Toleration
5 Politics, Power and the State
6 Civilisation, Savagery and Barbarism: The Enlightenment and its Others
7 Commerce, Consumption and Society
8 Gender, Sexuality and the Self
9 Enlightenment and Revolution
10 Enlightenment, Globalisation and Empire
11 The End of the Enlightenment? Counter-Enlightenment and Romanticism
12 Legacies of the Enlightenment and Course summary

Tutorial Registration

Via Wattle

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Essay proposal 5 % 27/08/2021 10/09/2021 1,2
Research Essay 45 % 01/10/2021 25/10/2021 1,2,3,4,5
Exam or Synthetic essay 40 % * * 1,2,3,4,5
Tutorial Participation 10 % * * 1,2,3,4

* 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 ANU Online website Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

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.


Students will be awarded 10% of their assessment based on 'course contribution'. The purpose of this is to encourage students to contribute to the collective learning environment and they will be rewarded based on their contribution to the learning of others via oral or written discussion.


As stated above, students will be permitted to choose between a 2-hour open book examination and a synthetic essay that will be due on the same day.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 5 %
Due Date: 27/08/2021
Return of Assessment: 10/09/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Essay proposal

This task requires students to write a proposal for their research essay. They will be asked to propose a question, assemble a bibliography, and write a 300-500 word outline of their approach to the question. (They will be offered guidance in how to prepare this proposal). Their final question will be agreed in negotation with the course convenor.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 45 %
Due Date: 01/10/2021
Return of Assessment: 25/10/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Research Essay

A 2,500 word research essay in answer to their approved question. The essay will engage with recent scholarship and use historical sources to construct evidence-based arguments.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 40 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Exam or Synthetic essay

Students will be offered the choice between a two-hour open book exam or a synthetic essay of 2,000 words. In both cases, the purpose of the assessment will be for students to demonstrate their capacity to synthesize course themes and materials and to demonstrate their understanding of, and ability to engage critically with, the course as a whole.

Assessment Task 4

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

Tutorial Participation

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community 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 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 University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

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.

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

No submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date will be permitted. If an assessment task is not submitted by the due date, a mark of 0 will be awarded. OR 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.

Returning Assignments

Students will receive written feedback on their essay proposal and research essay. They will also be invited to an individual meeting to discuss their essay proposal.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure The Course Convener may grant extensions 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.

Resubmission of Assignments

Not normally permitted in this course.

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 French History, the Enlightenment, the Age of Revolution, Intellectual and Cultural 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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