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Aims and Assessment



  • The module will introduce students to the Enlightenment, a movement of ideas c.1650-c.1800 that has been seen as the providing the foundation of modernity.
  • The module will introduce students to a multi-discplinary approach, drawing on expertise from across different departments in the humanities and social sciences for its lectures.
  • The module will offer undergraduate students some of the research expertise located in the Eighteenth Century Centre and the European History Research Centre.
  • The module will seek to explore types of history that students are unlikely to have covered before and also a period (the C18th) which will be unfamiliar to most.
  • The module will deepen students' awareness of the different types of historical sources, including material objects that they will see in the Enlightenment Gallery in the British Museum.
  • The module will ask students to think about the relevance of the past to the present
  • The module will complement "Making of the Modern World (HI153)" which begins with a week on the Enlightenment.
  • The module will complement the core second year History module The European World 1500-1700 and the third year core module Historiography.


Students should read carefully the formal requirements as set out by the Department the Assessment and Submission webpages.

First year students:

Students are assessed by a 1000 word essay plan (17% of total mark), a 2000 word essay developed from the essay plan (33%) and a 3000 word essay on a different topic (50%).

The deadlines are as follows:

- Essay plan: 12pm, Wednesday, week 7, term 1

- 2000 word essay: 12pm, Wednesday, week 3, term 2.

- 3000 word essay: 12pm, 8th May

The essay plan and first essay will focus on one of the listed primary texts (click here) Each text is followed by a list of questions about it. Choose one of these questions, and use it for your plan and subsequently for the first essay.

For the essay plan you should read the text, chose your question and write:

1. an introductory paragraph that addresses the question so that it is clear how you understand the issue that the question raises and that you take yourself to be answering.

2. The essay plan should then identify a series of points you want to address more fully in the subsequent paragraphs - essentially, for the plan, write the topic sentence (the opening sentence of a paragraph that sets out what the paragraph will discuss) and then give a brief gloss about what will each paragraph will argue.

3. These sketchy paragraphs should try and identify sections in your primary source that you want to refer to and that you think will help you in making your case. You may also show awareness of secondary literature and historiographic disputes as they relate to the question you are tackling. Remember that if you quote sources you should use quotation marks and cite the source, or you should put things in your own words. And when you quote, follow this by saying what you think the quote shows (so as to make clear how you are interpreting it, and how you want your reader to interpret it).

4.Then try to suggest what kind of conclusion you hope to draw (where you link that conclusion carefully to the question you have chosen to tackle.)

The second assignment will be a 2,000 word that will develop the essay plan from term 1.

The third and final piece of submitted work is a 3,000 word assessed essay. A list of essay titles may be found here. An alternative title may be negotiated with the course leader.

Essay plans and essays should be submitted according to the specifications of the Department, via tabula.

The long, formally assessed essay of 3000 words must be handed in by the deadline announced by the department for all assessed work. With the longer essay you should try to investigate a question in more depth than was possible for the shorter, formative essays and also incorporate some reflection on primary literature (either material we have studied in class or feel free to range more widely in other texts -see the bibliography for collections of primary sources and also help with secondary reading). You can choose a title from the list of questions but you can also negotiate a different title with your seminar tutor. There will be an additional lecture in week 9, Term 2, providing advice and guidance on the long essay - please check the time and location on the course outline.

PLEASE NOTE: you should submit an electronic version of all your work via Tabula, since it will be put through the department's anti-plagiarism software. You should use a cover sheet for all your work. Details on how to submit the essays and deadlines for submisson can be found on the Assessment and Submission webpages.

Deadlines for Visiting Students

Please note that these may differ from the above and will be as follows:

Full year students taking 30 CATS modules will complete the same assessment as home students

One term visiting students on 30 CATS modules (achieving 15 CATS):
1,000 word essay plan (25%) due Wednesday Week 5
3,000 word essay developed from the essay plan (75%) due Wednesday Week 10

Two term visiting students on 30 CATS modules (achieving 24 CATS):
1,000 word essay plan (17%) due Wednesday Week 7 of Term 1
2,000 word essay developed from the essay plan (33%) due Wednesday Week 3 of Term 2
2,500 word essay (50%) due Wednesday Week 10 of Term 2