Postgraduate Course: The European Enlightenments, 1670 - 1820 (PGHC11489)
|School||School of History, Classics and Archaeology
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||The Enlightenment continues to be regarded, and usually celebrated, as a key moment in the transition to modernity. The purpose of this course is to complicate that view by recovering some less familiar beliefs and ideas that did not contribute to the 'modernity' of the European Enlightenments, but were an integral part of them.
In public discourse the Enlightenment continues to be regarded (and usually celebrated) as a key moment in the transition to modernity. As a result, discussions about the Enlightenment have a tendency to turn into debates about the benefits and disadvantages of modernity, understood in a particular way. The defenders of modernity will emphasise the importance of, for example, rationalism, tolerance, scientific and technological progress, and political and economic freedom, all of which, it is said, are modern values that were promoted or even invented by the Enlightenment. Critics of modernity will accuse its defenders of shallow optimism and of turning a blind eye to the harmful effects of modernity, among which they may include the environmental costs of technological change, a casual disregard for the dangerous uses to which scientific discoveries can be put, a narrowly economic understanding of well-being, or an arrogant belief in the superiority of 'the West' over other cultures. The conflation of Enlightenment with a certain kind of modernity also explains why in recent years the Enlightenment has been held up as an antidote to religious (mainly Islamic) fundamentalism and political populism.
The purpose of this course is to complicate those views by focusing on ideas and beliefs which were clearly part of the eighteenth-century European Enlightenments, but are not compatible with their reputation for promoting modernity.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2019/20, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||One 4,000-word essay (90% of the final mark)
Class participation (worth 10% of the final mark)
One 500-word book review. This is a required submission for feedback, but does not contribute to the overall course mark.
||Students are expected to discuss their coursework with the Course Organiser at least once prior to submission, and are encouraged to do so more often. Meetings can take place with the Course Organiser during their published office hours or by appointment. Students will also receive feedback on their coursework, and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the Course Organiser.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- demonstrate in seminar discussions, the book review, and the essay a detailed and critical command of the body of knowledge concerning the European Enlightenments;
- demonstrate in seminar discussions, the book review, and the essay an ability to analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship concerning the European Enlightenments, relevant primary source materials, and methodological questions in intellectual history;
- demonstrate in seminar discussions, the book review and the essay an ability to understand and apply specialised research or professional skills, techniques and practices considered in the course;
- demonstrate the ability to develop and sustain original scholarly arguments in oral and written form by independently formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence considered in the course;
- demonstrate in seminar discussions, the book review, and the essay originality and independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers; and a considerable degree of autonomy.
|W. Clark, J. Golinski, and S. Schaffer (eds.), The Sciences in Enlightened Europe (Chicago, 1999).|
L. Hunt and M. Jacob, "Enlightenment Studies", in The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment, ed. A. C. Kors (Oxford, 2003), vol. 1.
J. Israel, A Revolution of the Mind (Princeton, NJ, 2010)
M. Mulsow, Enlightenment Underground: Radical Germany, 1680 - 1720 (University of Virginia Press, 2015) - ebook.
J. G. A. Pocock, Barbarism and Religion. Volume 2: Narratives of Civil Government (Cambridge, 1999).
R. Porter, (ed.), The Cambridge History of Science: Volume 4. Eighteenth-Century Science (Cambridge, 2003).
J. Robertson, The Enlightenment. A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2015)
B. Taylor and S. Knott (eds.), Women, Gender, and Enlightenment, 1650 - 1850 (Basingstoke, 2005)
S. Sebastiani, The Scottish Enlightenment. Race, Gender and the Limits of Progress (Basingstoke, 2013)
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Course organiser||Dr Thomas Ahnert
Tel: (0131 6)50 3777
|Course secretary||Mrs Lindsay Scott
Tel: (0131 6)50 9948