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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Scottish History

Undergraduate Course: The Scottish Enlightenment: Origins, Contexts and Ideas (SCHI10076)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course examines the origins, ideas and contexts of the Scottish Enlightenment. After introducing the historical debates surrounding the Scottish Enlightenment, the course traces the impact of seventeenth-century philosophies in the development of eighteenth-century thought. It then assesses the full spectrum of Scottish intellectual innovation, ranging from such fundamental subjects as knowledge and morals to history, science and the arts.
Course description Why did Scotland become one of the leading centres of the eighteenth-century European Enlightenment? This course allows students to examine the origins, ideas and contexts of what historians have called the 'Scottish Enlightenment'. The course pays particular attention to the legacies of seventeenth-century thought in eighteenth-century Scotland, and studies the social and cultural changes that shaped the careers of such thinkers as David Hume, William Robertson and Adam Smith. There is an emphasis on the close reading of primary texts, in extracts reflecting the wide range of contemporary attitudes and ideas.

After an introductory week in which students consider problems of definition and causation, the course introduces a series of contexts. These contexts are both intellectual - the impact of the thought of Bacon, Newton, Locke and Montesquieu - and social and institutional. In weeks 5-11, the course surveys a large range of Scottish thought. Each week, a range of short extracts illustrating a particular theme is specified. The course is structured as follows:

Week 1: The debate about the Scottish Enlightenment
Week 2: Intellectual contexts 1: Bacon and Newton
Week 3: Intellectual contexts 2: Locke and Montesquieu
Week 4: Social and institutional contexts
Week 5: Knowledge
Week 6: Morals
Week 7: Religion and manners
Week 8: History and politics
Week 9: The progress of societies
Week 10: Aesthetics and literature
Week 11: Science and the natural world

The course is assessed by a coursework essay of 2500-3000 words, in which students will respond to questions about the contexts of the Scottish Enlightenment, and an exam of 2 hours with essay questions and gobbets focusing on the themes of weeks 5-11.

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Enlightenment Scotland c.1690 - c.1800 (HIST10339) AND The Scottish Enlightenment (HIST10158)
Other requirements A pass or passes in 40 credits of first level historical courses or equivalent and a pass or passes in 40 credits of second level historical courses or equivalent.
Before enrolling students on this course, Personal Tutors are asked to contact the History Honours Admission Administrator to ensure that a place is available (Tel: 503780).
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting Students should usually have at least 3 History courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this) for entry to this course. We will only consider University/College level courses.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  12
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 172 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 67 %, Coursework 33 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) One essay of 2500-3000 words (33%) and one two-hour exam (67%)
Feedback Students will be invited to submit an essay plan to the course organiser, in order to receive formative feedback in advance of completing the assessed essay. Students will receive written feedback on their coursework, and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the course organiser during his published office hours or by appointment. Feedback on the essay will be both summative and formative, helping students to prepare for the exam.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, a detailed understanding of processes of intellectual change in eighteenth-century Scotland;
  2. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, an ability to read, analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship concerning the Scottish Enlightenment;
  3. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, an ability to understand, evaluate and utilise a variety of primary source material relating to the Scottish Enlightenment;
  4. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, the ability to develop and sustain scholarly arguments in oral and written form, by formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence;
  5. demonstrate independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers.
Reading List
Broadie, Alexander (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to the Scottish Enlightenment (Cambridge: Cambridge U.P., 2002)
Broadie, Alexander, A History of Scottish Philosophy (Edinburgh: Edinburgh U.P., 2009)
Campbell, R.H., and Andrew S. Skinner (eds.), The Origins and Nature of the Scottish Enlightenment (Edinburgh: John Donald, 1982)
Dwyer, John, Virtuous Discourse: Sensibility and Community in late Eighteenth-Century Scotland (Edinburgh: John Donald, 1987)
Forbes, Duncan, Hume's Philosophical Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge U.P., 1975)
Garrett, Aaron, and James A. Harris (eds.), Scottish Philosophy in the Eighteenth Century: Volume I: Morals, Politics, Art, Religion (Oxford: Oxford U.P., 2015)
Phillipson, Nicholas, Adam Smith: An Enlightened Life (London: Penguin, 2010)
Pocock, J.G.A., Barbarism and Religion: Volume II: Narratives of Civil Government (Cambridge: Cambridge U.P., 1999)
Sher, Richard B., Church and University in the Scottish Enlightenment: The Moderate Literati of Edinburgh (Princeton, NJ: Princeton U.P., 1985)
Stewart, M.A. (ed.), Studies in the Philosophy of the Scottish Enlightenment (Oxford: Oxford U.P., 1990)
Withers, Charles W.J., and Paul Wood (eds.), Science and Medicine in the Scottish Enlightenment (East Linton: Tuckwell, 2002)
Wood, Paul (ed.), The Scottish Enlightenment: Essays in Reinterpretation (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2000)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills ability to draw valid conclusions about the past
ability to identify, define and analyse historical problems
ability to select and apply a variety of critical approaches to problems informed by uneven evidence
ability to extract key elements from complex information
readiness and capacity to ask key questions and exercise rational enquiry
ability to search for, evaluate and use information to develop knowledge and understanding
ability to test, modify and strengthen one's own views through collaboration and debate
intellectual curiosity
ability to make effective use of oral, written and visual means convey understanding of historical issues and one's interpretation of them.
ability to marshal argument lucidly and coherently
ability to collaborate and to relate to others
readiness to seek and value open feedback to inform genuine self-awareness
a command of bibliographical and library research skills, as well as a range of skills in reading and textual analysis
close reading of texts
an ability to produce coherent and well presented text, sometimes of considerable length
KeywordsScottish Enlightenment
Course organiserDr Alasdair Raffe
Tel: (0131 6)51 4269
Course secretaryMr Jonathan Donnelly
Tel: (0131 6)50 3781
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