"Without language, things cannot well be expressed or published to the World," wrote Edward Phillips in The New World of English Words (1658). In this course, we will interrogate the power of words to communicate and classify, to impose meaning and order in the historical moment that brought about many of our modern institutions and ways of thinking: the European Enlightenment. From the binomial taxonomies with which Linnaeus ordered "chaos and confusion" to the racist taxonomies deployed to reinforce inequities, we will survey how language facilitated the consolidation of European power at home and abroad. We will further develop the visual literacy to decode how images convey knowledge. Looking back to the period that gave shape to many modern languages, institutions, and divisions of knowledge, we will be poised to face today's crises.