HIST 541 MOD EUR HIST - (13062-SP2021)

The philosopher Kant once defined being “enlightened” as “thinking for yourself.” Explore the eighteenth-century phenomenon called the Enlightenment by reading authors like Kant, Rousseau, and Voltaire who questioned tradition and authority by trying to think for themselves. After engaging with great books from the period in the first half of the course, investigate how historians have thought about the Enlightenment. Is it best understood as a unified movement that advocated solutions to problems? Or is it better thought of as a number of open-ended debates in which the questions are more important than the answers? Does the Enlightenment still matter today? If so, why?