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The Enlightenment: Who, When and Where?

Caiani, Ambrogio A. (2017) The Enlightenment: Who, When and Where? In: Marsh, Ben and Rapport, Michael, eds. Understanding and Teaching the Age of Revolutions. Harvey Goldberg Series . University of Wisconsin Press, pp. 55-77. ISBN 978-0-299-31190-2. (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:55805)

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The great reward in looking for or studying the Enlightenment, for both teachers and students, is that it continues to unsettle assumptions and forces us, as Kant urged so long ago, to think differently. Perhaps the best means of allowing students to taste the complexity of this intellectual effervescence is to utilize simple questions to uncover its intricacies. The Enlightenment unsettles historians by asking constantly, that highly irritating question, ‘how do you know what you know’? The point here is not to seek to reconstruct a ‘real’ Enlightenment. Indeed, such an individual self-contained movement probably never existed. The number of participants, the diversity of ideas and the transnational (perhaps oceanic) context involved makes this intellectual climate incommensurable. The object of the exercise is to ask better questions in order to know a little more and, if all goes well, think in more sophisticated ways about the eighteenth century. This chapter will show that seemingly simple questions can help students develop interesting ways of reflecting and learning about the Enlightenment. The following questions will be explored:

1. Who was the Enlightenment?

2. When was the Enlightenment?

3. Where was the Enlightenment?

Item Type: Book section
Uncontrolled keywords: Enlightenment, Age of Revolution, Pedagogy
Subjects: D History General and Old World
D History General and Old World > D History (General)
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D901 Europe (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of History
Depositing User: Ambrogio Caiani
Date Deposited: 04 Jun 2016 16:43 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 13:35 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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