HIS304: Enlightenment Europe and the Creation of the Modern World


HIS304: Enlightenment Europe and the Creation of the Modern World

Key details

Accredited towardsBachelor of Arts in the Liberal Arts
Unit typeElective unit
Credit points6
Indicative contact hours3 hours per week
Offered inSemester 2
Tuition feeLearn more



At the end of the seventeenth century and beginning of the eighteenth century, philosophers in Britain and France considered the advancements in science and society of the previous era. Such advancements, they argued, ushered into European society ideals of human liberty and progress, resulting in the publication of dictionaries, encyclopaedias, political tracts, historical works, novels, and a variety of scientific treatises. These writings were intended to promote human knowledge and assist social advancements. The aggressive ideology of these philosophers, as well as the perceived demise of traditional political and religious institutions, also led to social and political revolutions in France and America. And in the early nineteenth century, such changes continued to manifest themselves in religious and political conflict and thought, including the flourishing of German romanticism in the midst of the Napoleonic Wars. This unit considers these events and examines critically the writings of the so-called Age of Reason.


Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit of study, students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate an understanding of the events in Europe following the Scientific Revolution of the seventeenth century.
  2. evaluate critically the intellectual movements and ideologies to have emerged in Europe in the eighteenth century and early nineteenth century.
  3. analyse and explain the contribution of enlightenment authors to modern thought.
  4. use a wide range of primary sources in reconstructing events and processes of the age.
  5. engage in independent research and to evaluate critically conflicting scholarship in the field.
  6. write well-argued and well-structured essays and appropriately use references and bibliographies according to academic conventions.


Interested in other History units?

HIS101: Western Societies from Antiquity to the Present
HIS102: The Ancient World – From the Birth of Greek Rationalism to the Crisis of the Roman Republic
HIS203: The Early Church and the Roman Empire – From the Principate of Augustus to the Reign of Justinian
HIS204: The Medieval World
HIS301: Topics in Twentieth-Century History
HIS302: Australian Politics, Culture and Religion since 1788
HIS303: Humanists and Reformers – The Renaissance
HIS304: Enlightenment Europe and the Creation of the Modern World



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