Lesson plans

I renounce my errors, or rather I declare that you have cleared up all my doubts. Now I must call you my teacher; since I have received a lesson from you, which the public did not share with me. I dutifully thank you for it: the frankness with which you have discussed the matter is a marvellous thing, since you could have ignored the requests of an ignorant and importunate person like me with perfect propriety.

— translation of French original, François Peleau to Thomas Hobbes (Bordeaux, 29 October 1656)

Through a collaboration with academics using EE in their teaching, EE is pleased to present a selection of lesson plans suitable for undergraduate classes.

We would like to thank the academics involved, and also to extend an offer to others who would like to make their lesson plans available to get in touch with us.

Dissonance in the Republic of Letters

By: Christopher Tozzi, Johns Hopkins University

Abstract: This lesson plan highlights the diversity of opinion within the Republic of Letters by presenting a few of the personal and intellectual conflicts in which thinkers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries involved themselves. By reading letters exchanged by Enlightenment thinkers, students will gain an appreciation of the intellectual nuances of the period and the way in which knowledge was pursued.

Topics: disputes & disagreements | diversity of opinion | intellectual rivalry

Inoculation in the Age of Enlightenment

By: Meghan Roberts, Northwestern University

Abstract: This lesson would be suited to courses that deal with the Enlightenment, the history of science and medicine, and could also be adapted to courses on early modern France and early modern Europe.

Topics: history of science and medicine | disputes & disagreements | smallpox

National Identity and Otherness in the Eighteenth Century

By: Neven Leddy, University of Ottawa

Abstract: This session tackles the complexities of identity in 18thC Great Britain and Europe. The correspondence of the key figures of the Scottish Enlightenment is used to illuminate the personal experiences which structure 18thC theories of the Other. In this session EE can be productively interleaved with electronic texts from other sources to structure a dialogue between biography and philosophy. The aim of this session is to problematize the modern nation-state as a conceptual lens to view the past. Students will become familiar with the 18thC model of a multi-ethnic state, a well the many layers of national and human identity.

Topics: identity and otherness | nation-state | multi-culturalism

Optimism and Cosmopolitanism in the Enlightenment

By: Neven Leddy, University of Ottawa

Abstract: This session introduces the Enlightenment through the Lisbon Earthquake of November 1st, 1755 focusing on the elements of Optimism and Cosmopolitanism. In the process it illuminates the diffusion of “news” through the eighteenth century Republic of Letters. The methodological thrust of the lesson plan is interdisciplinary, demonstrating the crossover and feedback between history, philosophy, religion and literature. It assumes a bilingual student body.

Topics: optimism | cosmopolitanism | diffusion of news

The Restoration and Early Eighteenth-Century Theatre World

By: Anne Greenfield, University of Denver

Abstract: This section will discuss the value of incorporating correspondence into courses on History and/or Literary History. Writers of letters tend to move from topic to topic far more readily and abruptly than do writers of more singularly-focused works (e.g., essays, poems, or political treatises). For this reason, correspondence gives students of History and Literary History a more expansive vision of the past, exposing them to writers’ insights into a wide variety of phenomena.

Topics: restoration theatre | advent of professional actresses | dramatic theory | censorship & moral action | physical structure of the theatre

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