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Intellectual Heritage - Birth of the Modern

All Sections - First 4 weeks first semester

This four-week segment of Intellectual Heritage is designed to introduce students to the concept of modernity and its historical development by systematically exposing them to fundamental ideas and epochal events which have helped to shape our contemporary view of the world and our place in it. Each week of the course is devoted to one of four interrelated themes presented in historical context and comprising material from antiquity, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the Enlightenment. The themes are: The Definition of Modernity, the Age of Discovery, the birth of Modern Science, and Progress and Enlightenment. Two hours of each week will be taken up with presentations utilizing a variety of formats which may include lectures, slides, films, demonstrations and dramatizations of historical events. The third hour will consist of discussion of assigned readings. "The Birth of the Modern" is intended to provide students with an appropriate foundation for the individual thematic sections of Intellectual Heritage which will follow.


  1. What is Modern?
  2. The Age of Discovery
  3. The Birth of Modern Science
  4. Progress and the Enlightenment


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