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HIST121 The Enlightenment

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Queen's University
HIST 121
Ana Siljak

HIST121 7 January 2013 Reading(s): The Enlightenment: Part 1 1. The Modern Era - West becomes the west; defines itself as civilization; deems itself good - Modernity - Religious as a separate thing 2. Historical Contexts A. Local Time - No conception of universal time - Cyclical B. Dynastic Politics - Polity; single person whose power was derived from divinity or heredity - Sovereignty didn’t take legitimacy from those it ruled - Closer to center of monarchy = more power, central effect of politics; unequally distributed - Sense of belonging undeveloped; see self as a subject C. Stratified Culture - Peasant, urban, elite - No social welfare for peasants; starvation throughout Europe; peasant class dignified - Urban world growing; 1750 – 1/5 of world’s cities held more than 5 thousand people o Tradesmen, merchants, lawyers, etc - Public spaces; city squares; growth of sense of the public - Bourgeoisie: political and social change - Dramatic change happens in elite - Elite: luxury of time, ostentation, extensive travel, literacy D. Religion - Religion still major force of public and private life - Religious vocabulary - Power largely justified by religious terms - Births, marriages, holidays, funerals What is Enlightenment? - Radical break from the past - ―Triumph of rationality, science, freedom‖ = tone of textbooks - Clarity, shedding light - Enlightenment thinkers = prophets of a new era - Kant: ―Man’s release from immaturity‖ o Think freely, freed from prejudice; preconception; tradition; religion; superstition - Separation of church and state, separation of politics and religion
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