History 4403 - Spring 2004
Europe's Enlightenments, 1648-1789

Room: South Shepler Tower 511
Section 1195: M, 2-4:30 p.m.

Instructor: Douglas Catterall

Office: 634 South Shepler Tower
Office Hours:
M 10 a.m.-12:00 p.m., T, 2-6 p.m., & Th 1-4 p.m. and by appointment
work telephone: 581-2949
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 the 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 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 rather 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.

Specific Objectives of the Course:

This course will provide you with opportunities to improve in the following three areas of intellectual endeavor:

Contextual Knowledge:
In this course you will improve your knowledge of the events, historical actors, and transformational trends that unfolded in Europe from 1650 to 1789 and pertained to the Enlightenment and its origins.  In particular you will learn about 1) major changes in artistic and intellectual endeavor and their broader influences on European societies; 2) the crucial shifts in religious belief and practice and their broader impact on Europe; and 3) the basics of the social, economic, and political events of this era.  You will gain information on these topics by reading, evaluating, discussing, and writing about the books and in-class readings assigned for the course and by writing the various papers, quizzes, and examinations that the course requires.

Historical Thinking and Research Skills:
Since this is a seminar in which our main goal will be to understand how different historians have tried to understand complex historical phenomena, you will improve your ability to evaluate conflicting interpretations of past events and issues. You will do this in two ways: 1) by contributing to discussions
in class, which is a major component of the course grade, and 2) by writing the various papers and tests that form the writing component of the course. All of the papers in this course are tied in some way to the research process that historians typically use.  In order to write these papers you will thus learn how to engage closely with primary and secondary source materials.  We will also discuss how historians have tried to relate their work to that of other historians (historiography); how they have used sources to explore the past (methodology); and how historians deal with the complex task of defining change, continuity, and the causes behind each.  Thus, you will be thinking about how to conduct, organize, and present research by examining and discussing how others have done these things and you will gain a knowledge of the terms and categories that historians use when they practice their craft.  In addition, you will have the opportunity to experience the research process as you write your primary and secondary source-based papers.

Texts and Other Aids

Major Secondary Works:

Robert Darnton, The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French CulturalHistory (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 or paper resources in the public domain; if at all possible I will make these supplements available to you at no cost to yourselves.



1. Discussion (10% of Course Mark): 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.

2. Informal Writings (5% of Course Mark): Occasionally I will assign short (usually two, double-spaced, typed pages written in 12 pt. Times Roman font) writing exercises to help focus our discussions. The emphasis will vary from paper to paper.

3. Enlightenment Reading Quiz (5% of Course Mark): 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 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.  I have issued questions for all of the readings set for the Munck text and our class discussions of the Munck book will revolve around them.  A selection of these questions will then appear on the reading quiz on February 9. The quiz will be part of your participation grade and is worth 5% of the total grade.  The questions are located below in the schedule of readings and assignments.  

4. Calculating Participation Credit: Informal writing(s), class discussion and the reading quiz will be worth 20% of the final grade. You can receive up to 5 points for each day's class participation (for a total of 70 points), 35 points for informal writings and 35 points on the reading quiz. An A in participation requires a minimum of 112.5 points, a B 100 points, a C 87.5 points, a D 75 points.

Reaction Papers (60% of Course Mark): You will have to write three focused essays/reaction papers. Each paper will account for 20% of your total grade and will be six to seven double-spaced, typed pages in length written in 12 pt. Times Roman font and must be properly footnoted.  I will pay particular attention to the degree to which people improve over course of the term.  General guidelines for the papers, including a tutorial on footnoting, can be obtained by clicking on the hypertext in this sentence.  Due dates for the papers are listed below along with more specific guidelines under the schedule of readings and assignments.

Examination (20% of Course Mark): 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.

Grading Breakdown:

Component:                                Percentage:        
Attendance and Participation in
Discussion                                                   10
1 Book Quiz                                                  5
Informal Writings                                         5
3 Reaction Papers @ 20% each                60                                       
Final Examination                                       20                
Total                                                          100

General Policies:

Classroom Environment: Talking to your classmates or others outside the context of classroom activities is rude and will not be tolerated.  Reading outside materials, listening to music, taking telephone calls on your cell-phone, and similar non-class related activities are equally unacceptable.  I expect all students to be respectful of one another's right to speak and express opinions.  Disagreements and different viewpoints are welcome, but debates should not involve insults.  Finally, food and drink are permitted in class as long as courtesy is observed; e.g. if you haven't quite finished your cup of coffee, do bring it along to class, but turning the classroom into a cafeteria is not permissible.  

Attendance: As noted above, regular attendance is crucial to your success in this class.  If you miss class regularly, your grade will suffer.  I would also like to note that frequent lateness in coming to class and frequent early departures will also be penalized as these habits are rude to your fellow classmates and to me as the instructor.  I will take attendance daily in this class and an absence is an absence and will be counted as such.  

Preparation: All assignments for a given day, whether reading or writing, are to be completed before the class meets on that day.  I also recommend that you take notes as you read and during lectures and discussions as this will make studying for the reading quiz and final examination as well as writing the papers for the class less of a challenge.

Late Formal Writings/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 seven days from the original due date to turn in the paper. 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 marks on informal writings and I have designed the grading system to allow you a "head start".  Thus, as long as you manage to achieve the necessary points for participation, 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 so that you know whether or not you are achieving what you wish in this important component of the course mark.

Missed Quizzes and Examinations: Make-ups for the reading quiz and the final examination are granted to the student at the instructor's discretion and only with a legitimate (e.g. a medical emergency) and documented reason.  

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 such essays you must cite all primary and secondary sources you use in accordance with the proper conventions. Attached to this web syllabus are guidelines for footnoting and you are responsible for understanding them.  In cases of plagiarism, the Department of History and Government at CU follows the plagiarism policy in the current "Student Handbook," as described in sections 4.07 and 4.08 of the CU Code of Student Conduct.  Penalties for plagiarism as defined by the Student Code of Conduct include:

1) The student may be required to perform additional academic work/project not required of other students in the course;
2) The student may be required to withdraw from the course with a grade of "W" or "F"; or
3) The student's grade in the course or on the examination or other academic work affected by the dishonesty may be reduced to any extent, including a reduction to failure. Please heed this warning as I am quite serious about it.

Disability Statement: If you have a documented disability or suspect that you have a learning problem and need reasonable accommodations, please notify me as soon as possible so that appropriate arrangements can be made.

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 the CU Library web-site (for off-campus access please obtain the appropriate password from the CU Library staff).  For the Columbia Encyclopedia (as well as other reference resources go to: http://www.bartleby.com/ .  Finally you can also consult Encarta at: http://encarta.msn.com/ (though not all of it will be available to you unless you are a subscriber, the encyclopedia will be) 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

(1/12) Introduction, Course Overview, and Historians' Views of the Enlightenment
Read: The Enlightenment, 1-20: Study Questions

Overview 2: Books, Broadsheets and Other Communication Media

Week 2

(1/19) Popular vs. Elite Culture; Literacy, Education, Visual Culture and Sociability
Read: The Enlightenment, 21-45: Study QuestionsThe Enlightenment, 46-75: Study Questions

Week 3

(1/26) Publishers, Printers, Readers and the Press; Religion, Freedom of the Press, Crime and the Law
The Enlightenment, 76-131: Study Questions; The Enlightenment, 132-162: Study Questions

Overview 3: Political and Social Change in the Enlightenment

Week 4

(2/2) Property, Poverty and Reform; The State and the People
The Enlightenment, 163-192: Study Questions The Enlightenment, 193-203, 211-223: Study Questions
Last Questions and Concerns Re: Reading Quiz.

The Enlightenment in the Dutch Republic

Week 5

(2/9) The Dutch Republic: Cradle of the First Enlightenment?
Reading Quiz

Week 6

(2/16) The World of a 17th-Century Painter; The Middle Classes and the Poor in Enlightenment Holland
Girl in Hyacinth Blue, 155-242.
Review: Key Terms

Week 7

(2/23) The Agrarian Netherlands; The Dutch Enlightenment Among the Elite
Read: Girl in Hyacinth Blue, 82-154.
Review: Key Terms

The Enlightenment in France

Week 8

(3/1) The Beginnings of the French Enlightenment; Peasants and Workers in 18th-Century France
Great Cat Massacre, 9-65, 75-104.

Week 9

(3/8) The Respectable Middle Class in Montpelier; The Intellectuals of Paris
Great Cat Massacre, 107-143, 145-189.

Spring Break Week

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

Week 10

The Enlightenment Judges Humanity

(3/22) Introducing Natural History; Hume and Beattie on Whiteness and Africans
Read: Race and the Enlightenment, 10-37; Turn In (can also be turned in on 3/29 as on time): Reaction Paper #1.

Week 11

(3/29) Immanuel Kant and Johann Gottfried Herder on the Concept of Race; Views of Race from the Later Enlightenment.
Race and Enlightenment, 38-108.

Week 12

(4/5) Rousseau on Inequality
Read: Social Contract and Discourses, 49-126; Turn In: Reaction Paper #2.

The Enlightenment and Politics

Week 13

(4/12) Rousseau on State and Society
Read: Social Contract and Discourses, 181-274.

The Enlightenment and the Church

Week 14

(4/19) Rousseau on State and Society 2; The Church in France 1
Read: Social Contract and Discourses, 275-309, The Nun, 21-98.

Week 15

(4/26) The Church in France 2; Wrap-Up
Read: The Nun, 99-189; Turn In: Reaction Paper #3.

Final Exam Week

(5/4) Final Examination, Tuesday, 10:00 a.m .-12:00 p.m.

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