Course Descriptions: Spring 2014 - HTY 599: European Enlightenments, 1650 – 1800
Instructor: Angela Haas
Time: Wednesday; 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Description: Over two centuries ago, Immanuel Kant famously asked, “What is Enlightenment?” Scholars today are more inclined to follow Jonathan Israel and ask, “Enlightenment! Which Enlightenment?” This course explores various manifestations of “enlightenment,” while problematizing historical interpretations of the “Age of Enlightenment.” Readings will explore the intellectual trends traditionally associated with the Enlightenment, as well as the exchange of a wide variety of ideas among historical agents who were long marginalized in studies of the period, ranging from women, to religious apologists, to the urban poor. Through an examination of contemporary debates over a variety of topics—politics, society, science, medicine, miracles, etc.—the Enlightenment reveals itself as a series of interlocking and countervailing trends, often lacking coherence, but rarely lacking modern resonance.