For this assignment, write 4-5 pages considering the passage quoted below from Immanuel Kants 1784 An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment? Think of it as something like a jewel in Indras net as discussed by Timothy Brook in Vermeers Hat. What does it tell us about the broader contexts of modern history? For this assignment and in terms of content, focus mostly on the eighteenth-century and nineteenth century and their relationships with the Enlightenment, industrialization, and imperialism.
Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one’s understanding without guidance from another. This immaturity is self-imposed when its cause lies not in lack of understanding, but in lack of resolve and courage to use it without guidance from another.
Specifically, in completing this assignment one might think of Robinson Crusoes industriousness and work ethicalong with his obsessions with walls, fences, hedges, and timewhich make him something like the bourgeois king of his island. One should think about this in connection with Robinsons relationship with his man Friday. Along with this, it is also good to consider the technological development represented in John Gasts American Progress on the one hand, and the plight of indigenous peoples in the painting on the other. In general, one should link Kants words above and other things we have discussed regarding the eighteenth century and after, with progress, development, or accumulation and whatever might drive progress, development, or accumulation.
Lastly, in addition to using Vermeers Hat methodologically and as a model for how to understand the relationship between a cultural artifact (a painting or a passage from an essay) and its broader context, one may look at Brooks work as a source for understanding what in early modern history preceded the Enlightenment, industrialization, and fully modern imperialism (namely, the scientific revolution, European exploration and trade, the Protestant Reformation, the rise of the bourgeoisie, and/or renaissance humanism).