History 4403 - Spring 2001
Europe, 1648-1789: The Age of Enlightenment

Room: 3006
Section 2670/2675: TTh, 11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

Instructor: Doug Catterall

Office: West Hall, 217 N
Office Hours: M-F, 1-3 p.m. and by appointment

work telephone: 581-2949
home telephone: 536-7950
e-mail: dougc@cameron.edu

Goals and Approach: The purpose of this course is to introduce you to events and changes bearing on the religious, social and cultural complexion of Europe that unfolded in later 17th and 18th centuries. Traditionally historians think of this time span as encompassing the Scientific Revolution, the Enlightenment and the Age of Absolutism, but our focus will chiefly be on the Enlightenment in France, the British Isles, German speaking Europe and the Dutch Republic. However one decides to name it, the ideas that took root in Europe in this period are still very much with us today, and not just in so-called Western society. Here are some of them: freedom of the press, freedom of expression, secularism, atheism, equality between peoples, classes and genders, representative democracy, evolution, cultural relativism, separation of church and state, romanticism. . . I will stop here as the list is long indeed.

As you might imagine with so many ideas floating about, historians have had a difficult time deciding what the Enlightenment, at its heart, was. While we will not come up with any definitive answers this term, we will try to look at the merits of seeing the Enlightenment from several perspectives. We will look at those who created and promoted the Enlightenment's chief ideas (though not all of them), which is the approach of the intellectual historian. Among the thinkers we will encounter are Kant, Hume, Rousseau and Diderot. Another level at which we will look at the Enlightenment involves looking at the people who were involved with the ideas of the Enlightenment but were not among its most famous exponents. Most of these people came from the professional and commercial classes. The great mass of Europe's population (we will focus mainly on France, the British Isles, German speaking Europe and the Netherlands) will also come under scrutiny. I hope too that we will be able to see the Enlightenment not just as a collection of important but "dead" ideas but also as a living attitude of mind.

In this course we will strive to grapple with all of the many facets of the Enlightenment with an eye towards gaining a greater understanding not only of the European past but also of ourselves and the society in which we currently live. As I place a particular emphasis both on written and oral expression, it is also my hope that you will each improve your abilities in these areas as well.

Ideal Environment: The heart of the class-room environment (for me) rests in respect, enthusiasm, and openness. This may sound general, so I will elaborate. Enthusiasm means a persistent willingness to tackle the problems that come up in the readings and assignments for each week. It does not mean that everyone always has to show up happy and cheerful, but readiness to make a contribution to class is a must. Respect in the classroom means valuing each person's participation, not because their ideas are the best (although you might think so), but because he or she is trying to make a contribution to the group. Openness lies in the freedom for people to express their thoughts and opinions, which includes scope for debate and disagreement with me or anyone else. The closer we approach this ideal environment, the more the classroom will be an effective space for clarifying, making manageable and even experimenting with the issues confronted in the course. This ideal may not always be achievable, but in my view we should always strive for it.

Requirements: Course work consists of four elements: participation in discussion, informal writings, formal writings, and an essay-based examination.


a. Preparation: In order to understand the lectures and participate in class discussions and other activities you will need to do the assigned readings. Please budget time to complete readings for the date in which they appear in the assignment and reading schedule. The readings are in two forms, which are listed below.

Major Secondary Works:
Robert Darnton, The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural
History (New York: Random House Inc., 1985)

Thomas Munck, The Enlightenment: A Comparative Social History 1721-1794
(New York: Oxford University Press, 2000)

Primary Sources:

Denis Diderot, The Nun, translated by Leonard Tancock (New York, Penguin Putnam Inc., 1974)

Race and the Enlightenment: A Reader, edited by Emmanuel Chukwudi Eze (Malden, MA:
Blackwell Publishers Inc., 1997)

Jean-Jaques Rousseau, The Social Contract and Discourses (North Clarendon, VT: Tuttle Publishing, 1993)

Susan Vreeland, The Girl in Hyacinth Blue (New York, Penguin Putnam Inc., 2000)

Additional source hand-outs and readings as needed

All of the above readings will be required for the course and are available at the CU bookstore. The Enlightenment: A Comparative Social History 1721-1794 provides a broad overview of the main issues in the course. The other works, of which one is a secondary work, another a novel and the other three primary sources, are intended to give you snapshots of particular contexts and will allow us to become familiar with historical processes at first hand. When necessary I will supplement these readings with short source readings, usually taken from online resources.

b. Discussion: This may seem like a small thing and something unrelated to the real stuff (passing the exams and hammering out the papers). As this is an upper division course, however, I want to stress that participation in discussion will count heavily in your grade and that active participation often improves performance in the pressure situations. In general, I will gauge participation on a daily basis with a check, check-plus, check-minus system.

c. Informal Writings: Occasionally I may assign short writing exercises to help focus our discussions. The emphasis will vary from paper to paper. Informal writings will also be graded with a check, check-plus, check-minus system and include comments.

d. Enlightenment Reading Quiz: For the next several weeks we will be reading Thomas Munck, The Enlightenment: A Comparative Social History, 1721-1794. This book will be our main overview of the most important issues in the course. On completing our reading of the book you will take a fairly extensive quiz (it should last an entire hour) over what you have read. As it is a reading quiz, I will make available all of the questions on this quiz in advance. Most of the questions will be factual with a minimum of interpretation. Learning the answers to them should give us all a common vocabulary with which we will be able to discuss the other books in the course on a more or less equal footing. At this point, my plan is to issue questions on a weekly or semi-weekly basis that you should prepare for class discussion. A selection of these questions will then appear on the reading quiz on February . The quiz will be part of your participation grade and is worth 5% of the total grade.

e. Credit for Participation: Informal writing(s), class discussion and the reading quiz will be worth 20% of the final grade. I will count each day you show up in class and each informal writing as one participation measurement for which you can receive up to 10 points. To have a fair shot at an A in participation you must have a minimum of 28 measurements or a potential to receive 280 points. If you have less than 28 measurements, then your participation grade will naturally suffer. In addition to these points, as noted above 25% of the participation grade will be earned by taking the reading quiz outlined above.

Reaction Papers: You will have to write three focused essays/reaction papers. Each paper will account for about 20% of your total grade, but with particular attention paid to the degree to which people improve over course of the term. Due dates for the papers are listed below. General and specific guidelines for the papers will be provided in this syllabus. Examinations: There will be one examination worth 20% of the total grade. This will be an end of term examination and will likely be a mixture of essays and matching questions. Guidelines for the grading standards that apply to written work done for this class may be found by clicking on the hypertext in this sentence.

Guidelines for Academic Work:

Late Papers: The following policy applies to all late papers for this course that will receive a letter grade. All papers submitted at any time on the day that the paper is due will be considered on time. Papers submitted after that date, no matter what the reason may be, will be automatically marked down one grade. You will then have ten days from the original due date to turn in the paper, during which time no further penalty for lateness will be incurred. If in that time you are unable to complete the work, the paper will receive a zero.

Late Informal Writings: No late informal writings will be accepted, so don't ask. Remember, though, that your participation grade is a composite of your performance in class and your performance on informal writings. As long as you manage to achieve a total of 28 measurements, it will not matter to me how you do so. Although I will obviously keep track of what you do by way of participation I would advise you to remain aware of where you stand for yourself so that you know whether or not you are achieving the necessary minimum level of participation.

Missed Examinations: As noted above, there is a final examination for this course. Makeup's for the final examination will be allowed only under extraordinary circumstances and the nature of any make-up final given will be determined at my discretion.

Plagiarism: Plagiarism is the representation of the work of another as your own. In all of the writing you do for this course you must make clear to me which ideas in a paper are your own and which come from someone else. This is especially important for any formal essays you write. In these such essays you must cite all primary and secondary sources you use in accordance with the proper conventions. I will provide a sheet explaining the basics of citation before any formal essays come due. If for some reason you do not receive a copy of this hand-out, do not assume you will be exempt from following its guidelines as it will be available on the online syllabus. In cases of plagiarism, the Department of History and Government at CU follows the plagiarism policy in the 2000-2001 "Student Handbook," pp. 207-211. Please heed this warning.

Reference Desk: Here are some on-line encyclopedias that will help you answer some of the reading questions when the textbook is not detailed enough. For Encyclopedia Britannica go to: http://www.britannica.com For the Columbia Encyclopedia go to: http://www.bartleby.com/65/ Please Note: Information on the above two sites is copyright protected.

Schedule of Readings, Weekly Topics, Assignments and Activities

Overview 1: Everyday Culture in the Enlightenment

Week 1

(1/9) Introduction and Course Overview

(1/11) Historians' views of the Enlightenment, The Enlightenment, 1-20: Study Questions

Overview 2: Books, Broadsheets and Other Communication Media

Week 2

(1/16) Popular vs. Elite Culture, The Enlightenment, 21-45: Study Questions

(1/18) Literacy, Education, Visual Culture and Sociability, The Enlightenment, 46-75: Study Questions

Week 3

(1/23) Publishers, Printers, Readers and the Press, The Enlightenment, 76-131: Study Questions

Overview 3: Political and Social Change in the Enlightenment

(1/25) Religion, Freedom of the Press, Crime and the Law, The Enlightenment, 132-162: Study Questions

Week 4

(1/30) Property, Poverty and Reform, The Enlightenment, 163-192: Study Questions

(2/1) The State and the People, The Enlightenment, 193-203, 211-223: Study Questions

Week 5

(2/6) The Dutch Republic: Cradle of the First Enlightenment?
Review: Last Questions and Concerns Re: Reading Quiz.

The Enlightenment in the Dutch Republic

(2/8) Reading Quiz

Week 6

(2/13) The World of a 17th-Century Painter, Girl in Hyacinth Blue, 198-242.

(2/15) The Middle Classes and the Poor in Enlightenment Holland, Girl in Hyacinth Blue, 155-197.

Week 7

(2/20) The Agrarian Netherlands, Girl in Hyacinth Blue, 109-154.

(2/22) The Dutch Enlightenment Among the Elite, Girl in Hyacinth Blue, 82-109.

The Enlightenment in France

Week 8

(2/27) The Beginnings of the French Enlightenment

(3/1) Peasants and Workers in 18th-Century France, Great Cat Massacre, 9-65, 75-104.

Week 9

(3/6) The Respectable Middle Class in Montpelier, Great Cat Massacre, 107-143.

(3/8) The Intellectuals of Paris, Great Cat Massacre, 145-189.

Week 10

No Class This Week, Spring Break. Have a Great Break!!!

Week 11

The Enlightenment Judges Humanity

(3/20) Introducing Natural History, Race and the Enlightenment, 10-28.

(3/22) Hume and Beattie on Whiteness and Africans, Race and the Enlightenment, 29-37.
Turn In: Formal Writing #1.

Week 12

(3/27) Immanuel Kant and Johann Gottfried Herder on the Concept of Race, Race and Enlightenment, 38-78

(3/29) Views of Race from the Later Enlightenment, Race and Enlightenment, 79-108.

Week 13

(4/3) Inequality 1, Social Contract and Discourses, 49-84.

(4/5) Inequality 2, Social Contract and Discourses, 85-126.

The Enlightenment and Politics

Week 14

(4/10) Rousseau on the State and Society 1, Social Contract and Discourses, 181-228.

(4/12) Rousseau on the State and Society 2, Social Contract and Discourses, 229-274.

Week 15

(4/17) Rousseau on the State and Society 3, Social Contract and Discourses, 275-309.
Turn In: Formal Writing #2.

The Enlightenment and the Church

(4/19) The Church in France 1, The Nun, 21-98.

Week 16

(4/24) The Church in France 2, The Nun, 99-189.

(4/26) Wrap-Up.

Final Exam Week

(5/3) Final Examination, 8:00-10:00 a.m.
Turn In: Formal Writing #3.

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