Enlightenment, Revolution and the Modern Social World - SOCI7640

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


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.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 22
Private Study Hours: 128
Total study hours: 150


The module will be of particular relevance to the BA (Hons) Sociology and it will also be of relevance for the BA in Cultural Studies. It is also likely to be of interest to students in the Humanities. It can be a 'WILD' module.

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Book Review – 2000 Words (40%)
Essay – 3000 Words (60%)

Reassessment methods

Coursework 100%

Indicative reading

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

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

8.1 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;
8.2 Identify and assess the social forces, political events and cultural conditions that gave rise to the Enlightenment;
8.3 Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the historiography of 'the Enlightenment' and the 'Enlightenment project' from the nineteenth
century through to the present day;
8.4 Evaluate the significance of the Enlightenment for the emergence and development of sociology;
8.5 Critically analyse the enduring legacy of Enlightenment for 21st Century culture and society;
8.6 Reflect critically and historically on the cultural proclivities and human consequences of western modernity;
8.7 Critically assess the contribution of Enlightenment thought and politics to modern advancements in human rights and movements of
humanitarian social reform.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

9.1 Demonstrate systematic understanding of key aspects of their field of study, including the acquisition of coherent and detailed knowledge;
9.2 Demonstrate written communicative skills;
9.3 Critically assess the argumentation and reasoning of authors;
9.4 Manage their own learning;
9.5 Engage in independent thinking and critical analysis.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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