The Age of Reason: Europe in the 18th and 19th Centuries
As taught in: Spring 2005
Has there ever been an "Age of Reason?" In the western tradition, one might make claims for various moments during Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance. In this class, however, we will focus on the two and a half centuries between 1600 and 1850, a period when insights first developed in the natural sciences and mathematics were seized upon by social theorists, institutional reformers and political revolutionaries who sought to change themselves and the society in which they lived. Through the study of trials, art, literature, theater, music, politics, and culture more generally, we will consider evolution and revolution in these two and a half centuries. We will also attend to those who opposed change on both traditional and radical grounds.
*Some translations represent previous versions of courses.