The Enlightenment (roughly
1650-1800) was a politically and intellectually revolutionary period of history
that defined the ideas that continue to shape the way we see ourselves and the
world we live in – ideas like democracy, free speech, individualism, scientific
evidence, free markets, and human rights.
By examining this period, this module provides students with a crucial framework for understanding today's dominant intellectual currents and social contexts – a framework that proves remarkably useful for students in their second and third year. Indeed, graduating students often rank it among the most useful modules they've taken. Built on a spine of lectures delivered by experts from across the Faculties of Humanities and the Social Sciences, this interdisciplinary module covers topics such as slavery and anti-slavery revolts, how colonialism and technological change is reflected in literature of the time, early feminism, the American Revolution, the roots of capitalism, the aftermath of the Scientific Revolution, the origins of modern law and medicine, Rousseau's critique of social inequality, the French Revolution, and Dutch Still Life paintings as expressions of modern subjectivity. We will draw on artworks, novels, political pamphlets, and speeches, as well as philosophical texts.
- Module Supervisor: Fabian Freyenhagen