London Coffeehouses Culture and Modernity

The culture of the early 1700s London coffeehouses is often seen as the spark that kindled the advent of modern democracy. The censorship of the press in England expired in 1695 and suddenly London was flooded with newspapers and pamphlets that openly scrutinized practically all aspects of public life. They were read and passionately discussed in countless coffeehouses that soon became social institutions in their own right. Yet this idealized world of London coffeehouses also had another, much darker side. The famous British writer Daniel Defoe, who was a frequent coffeehouse patron, described them as places of scandal and depravity, infested with deception and the manipulation of information for commercial gain. Relying mainly on the early 1700s newspaper articles, essays, and pamphlets - but benefiting also from the fact that we will be in London – ewe will try to mentally recreate the atmosphere of the English metropolis at the dawn of what we call the Enlightenment era. Your research will rely on digitized materials from historical databases and your findings will be presented in digital form on a website created specifically for this class – contributing to the St. Lawrence’s Digital Humanities project.  This course fulfills the FYP graduation requirement.

Students interested in the London FYP course should contact the Center for International and Intercultural Studies , email or call 315-229-5991.  A separate pregram abroad application is required for this FYP course. Application deadline May 23.


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