ARTS 2004 - Arts Masterclass: Visiting International Academics

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2018

Knowledge as Power: Natural History and Enlightenment Thought. The eighteenth century was an era dedicated to the ideal of human progress. One of the best ways of achieving this goal, it was thought, was to develop new ways of understanding and conceptualising the natural world. The advancement of the natural sciences thus became central to the Enlightenment project, and emblematic of it. The pursuit of this objective galvanised the whole of Europe and led to major upheavals in scientific thinking and practices, upheavals which both reflected and contributed to significant changes at the political and institutional level. Taking as its primary example the situation in France and the intellectual ferment of Paris, this course will examine the rapid shift in mentalities that took place during the eighteenth century by considering such topics as: the role played by cabinets of curiosity in the promotion of scientific knowledge; the creation of museums and the importance of the new museological practices; the notion of science as a public good; the emergence of learned academies and the power structures they fostered; collecting practices and the relationship between objects and power; science and sociability at both the national and international levels; and the role of the French Revolution as a catalyst for institutional change and renewal. It will be of particular relevance to students of history, politics, art history and philosophy, but also to anyone interested in the history of ideas.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.