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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: Athens of the North: The Scottish Enlightenment (PGHC11479)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course provides an introduction to the advanced study of Scottish intellectual history in the period 1660-1780. The course will examine the origins of the Scottish Enlightenment and introduce students to some of its key ideas. Ranging across history, philosophy, religion, science and law, the course will sample the works of writers including Hutcheson, Hume, Robertson, Smith and Ferguson.
Course description The course will discuss the Enlightenment's social context, from drink-fuelled taverns to university lecture theatres. Each class session will address a particular theme or author. The first sessions will engage with recent debates about the origins and character of the Scottish Enlightenment, examining the contributions of international influences and indigenous traditions of learning. The course will then turn to a series of major authors, topics and approaches. Here emphasis will be placed on close reading of primary sources, as well as wider matters of interpretation. Students will gain from the course knowledge of the interests of Scotland's eighteenth-century intellectuals, and the ability critically to assess recent debates about the Scottish Enlightenment's sources and nature.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Athens of the North: the Origins and Ideas of the Scottish Enlightenment (online) (PGHC11393)
Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate a detailed and critical command of the main historical arguments surrounding the origins and significance of the Scottish Enlightenment;
  2. analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship concerning the Scottish Enlightenment, primary source materials including works by Enlightenment authors, and conceptual discussions about this period of Scottish history;
  3. develop and sustain original scholarly arguments in oral and written form by independently formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence considered in the course;
  4. demonstrate 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.
Reading List
Extracts from: Francis Hutcheson, An Inquiry into the Original of our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue, 4th edn. (1738); David Hume, The History of Great Britain (1754); William Robertson, The History of the Reign of the Emperor Charles V (1769); Adam Ferguson, An Essay on the History of Civil Society (Edinburgh, 1767); John Millar, The Origin of the Distinction of Ranks, 3rd edn. (London: John Murray, 1779); Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1790 edn.) via ECCO.

Extracts from: Hume, Essays, Moral and Political (1741, rev. edn. 1777); David Hume, An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding (1777 edn.) via

Extracts from: Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1789 edn.) via

Adam Smith, Lectures on Jurisprudence, ed. R.L. Meek, D.D. Raphael and P.G. Stein (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1978), pp. 13-23

Elizabeth Mure, 'Some remarks on the change of manners in my own time, 1700-1790' in Dorothy McMillan (ed.), The Scotswoman at Home and Abroad: Non-Fictional Writing, 1700-1900 (Glasgow: Association for Scottish Literary Studies, 1999), pp. 33-42
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Alasdair Raffe
Tel: (0131 6)51 4269
Course secretaryMiss Katherine Perry
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