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The subject follows the intellectual history of early modern Europe in a global political and economic context. It looks at the way European encounters with other parts of the world and the subsequent colonial enterprise produced changes to the intellectual formation of Europe. It will also study how new conceptions of knowledge - about nature, about humans, and about God - were interwoven with social and political developments. In particularly, it will discuss how the rise of modern science in the seventeenth century and the emergence of a world view based on reason related to earlier ideas of natural magic. Topics will include Renaissance humanism and practical science, the Protestant reformations, demonology and witchcraft, the Columbian exchange and colonial trade, slavery, new natural philosophy and the mathematisation of nature, the emergence of the experimental method, science and early modern state formation, Newtonianism and the radical enlightenment, enlightenment science and colonial empires.
Note: This subject is jointly taught by the History and History and Philosophy of Science disciplines and is an elective in both majors.
Intended learning outcomes
Students who successfully complete this subject will:
- demonstrate familiarity with the major intellectual, social and political developments of the period from the fifteenth through to the eighteenth centuries;
- be able to reflect critically on the complexities of periodization in History;
- be able to examine intellectual positions and their historical development;
- understand the complex interaction between different forms of experience that contributed to the emergence of modern science;
- put their own position in an historical perspective;
- have developed effective written communication and presentation skills (written and oral), and the ability to collaborate constructively within the classroom;
- be able to conduct independent research including the appropriate use of primary and secondary sources in mounting an historical argument;
- demonstrate ethical integrity in written work and classroom activities.
Last updated: 26 March 2020