HIST 2085 The Enlightenment: The Birth of Modern Thought

HIST 2085 The Enlightenment: The Birth of Modern Thought (HB) (HA-AS) (HPE, HEU)

Tuesday and Thursday: 2:45-4:00

Professor Paul Friedland

Until the 18th century, criminals and heretics were tortured and killed before large crowds of spectators, Jews and other outcasts were required to wear special badges and segregated from the rest of society, and Kings were thought to be the representatives of God’s majesty on earth. In the middle of the 18th century, these and other long-standing traditions came under attack by a cultural and intellectual revolution known as “The Enlightenment.” In reading circles, coffee houses, and salons from Paris and London to Philadelphia, a new system of thought developed and spread throughout Europe and the colonies. Through the writings of Voltaire, Rousseau, Montesquieu, and others, we will explore the radical ideas about politics, religion, law, race, and gender by which intellectuals claimed to be sweeping away the “barbarism” of the old world and ushering in the modern “Age of Reason.”  

Photograph: Retrieved from File:François-Marie Arouet, dit Voltaire (1694-1778) portrait (A).jpg - Wikimedia Commons. Depicted person: François-Marie Arouet (1694–1778), known as Voltaire, French Enlightenment writer and philosopher.  Artist: Maurice Quentin de La Tour  

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Depicted person: François-Marie Arouet (1694–1778), known as Voltaire, French Enlightenment writer and philosopher.