PTC Mod 3 By Courtney Pruett
The document "European Enlightenment Thought and Inquiry" is an Instructor Commentary that focuses on the significant developments of the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment was an "intellectual movement to include scientific principles, especially natural laws, into daily life, apply to social behaviors and make practical applications to science" (European Enlightenment). One of the main ideas of the movement focuses on gender equality and the idea that women were not inherently inferior to men. This document is historically significant because it provides a brief outline of the key developments of the Enlightenment period. For example, the document included the thoughts and works of people such as Antoine-Leonard Thomas, Jean Jacques Rousseau, and Mary Wollstonecraft, each challenging women's standing in society and her ability to become equal to man through education and society. These developments changed the way society viewed itself. Understanding how and why society began to advance is crucial to understanding how these changes in thought and inquiry affect modern society.
The weblink "Of Elephants and Roses: Encounters with French Natural History, 1790-1830" provides an overview of a museum exhibit that demonstrated the France's role in the Enlightenment and its impact on various arts and sciences. The Paris Museum of History and Malmaison, the private gardens of Napoleon's wife, Empress Josephine, were the primary focus of the exhibition. According to the source, "these two sites acclimatized plants and animals from all around the world, produced new scientific knowledge, improved agricultural productivity and diversity, helped promote economic prosperity, and contributed to the glory of France" (Elephants and Roses). The exhibition featured items such fossilized mastodon teeth, Les Roses (one volume of Pierre Joseph Redouté’s three-volume masterpiece on roses), and the only surviving dinner plate from a Sèvres porcelain service for Louis XVIII, decorated with a South African sand lily. Each exhibition focused on an significant advancement based in France, including the birth of paleontology, the search for trees in response to France's decreasing forests, exotic birds favored by Empress Josephine, rare flowers, and the story of a famous giraffe. This exhibition is significant because it is a showcase of French history and demonstrates how France interpreted the developments of the Enlightenment.
The weblink "Lady Mary Wortley Montagu" focuses on the life of Lady Mary, an Englishwomen famous primarily for her letters describing her travels to the Ottoman Empire. According to the source, "the picture of Eastern life and manners given in these letters is admitted by all who have since visited the Levant to be in general as correct as it is clear, lively, and striking; and they abound not only in with and humour, but in a depth and sagacity of remark, conveyed in a style at once flowing and forcible, such as has rarely been produced from a female pen" (Life of Lady Mary). Lady Mary's letters and their popularity among the English nobility reveals how foreign ideals impacted and fascinated the English. Lady Mary's ability to not only accurately depict her foreign experiences and the cultures she encountered, but do so in an entertaining, educated, and well written manner gave her works notoriety. The history of Lady Mary and her impact on the European world is significant because it depicts how Europe, specifically England, interacted and perceived foreign territories and cultures.
The weblink "Discover Islamic Art (Ottoman Empire)" focuses on Islamic art under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. According to the source, "Whether decorating a palace or a mosque, adorning their own houses, or creating products for export to an eager European market, the Ottomans adhered to an aesthetic generated at the top. It was an aesthetic shaped by the Ottoman’s deep Islamic piety, as seen in the emphasis on floral elements redolent of Paradise" (Discover Islamic). The weblink demonstrates this affect by exhibiting various types of art in multiple venues including architecture, court life, table culture, exports, and places of religion. This weblink is significant because it demonstrates foreign culture through art. This source demonstrates the Western influence of Islamic art under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. It is important to understand how the history of the region differs from European culture and how foreign concepts influenced the western world.