This module is designed as an exploration of both the social history and historiography of 'the Enlightenment'. It draws a focus to the legacy of Enlightenment in contemporary sociological theory. It explores the bearing of Enlightenment ideas and interests upon the intellectual and political cultures of western modernity. It introduces students to ongoing debates concerned with the legacy of the Enlightenment in twenty-first century society. In this context, it explores the influence of the Enlightenment and its cultural portrayal in contemporary sociology in current disputes concerned with the legacy of colonialism, the gendering of the public sphere, the fate of religion and religious culture through modern times, the cultivation of our social and political democracy and the ‘tragic’ fate of modern rationality.
This module appears in the following module collections.
The module will be taught by lectures, seminars and private study.
Total Contact Hours: 22
Private Study Hours: 128
Method of assessment
Book Review – 2000 Words (40%)
Essay – 3000 Words (60%)
Demonstrate an advanced understanding of the range of intellectual interests, moral agendas and political concerns that animated debates within the 'Enlightenments' of Europe and North America;
Identify and assess the social forces, political events and cultural conditions that gave rise to the Enlightenment;
Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the historiography of 'the Enlightenment' and the 'Enlightenment project' from the nineteenth century through to the present day;
Evaluate the significance of the Enlightenment for the emergence and development of sociology;
Critically analyse the enduring legacy of Enlightenment for 21st Century culture and society;
Reflect critically and historically on the cultural proclivities and human consequences of western modernity;
Critically assess the contribution of Enlightenment thought and politics to modern advancements in human rights and movements of humanitarian social reform.
See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)
Cassirer, E. (1951) The Philosophy of the Enlightenment, Princeton University Press.
Gay, P. (1966 & 1969 ) The Enlightenment: An Interpretation (2 Volumes) W. W. Norton
Israel, J. I. (2002) Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and the Making of Modernity 1650-1750, Oxford University Press.
Outram, D. (2013). The Enlightenment (New Approaches to European History) 3rd Edition, Cambridge University Press.
Pagden, A. (2013). The Enlightenment And Why it Still Matters. Oxford University Press.
Porter, R. S. (2001) The Enlightenment, Palgrave
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Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
- ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
- The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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