Great Works An Intellectual History of Modern Europe

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GH 201 University Honors Program Great Works An Intellectual History of Modern Europe The true historian must understand and evaluate the events [s]he studies…
GH 201 University Honors Program Great Works An Intellectual History of Modern Europe The true historian must understand and evaluate the events [s]he studies and in doing so, [s]he becomes a philosopher. Morton White, The Age of Analysis Dr. Ralph Leck Office: Stalker Hall 007 Office Hours: T/TH 3:30-5 pm I. What is Intellectual History? What is intellectual history and how does it differ from the study of philosophy? First, the discipline of philosophy is devoted to the study of philosophers. Conversely, the study of intellectual history includes a much broader history of ideas. This broader swath includes ideologies of power, literature and the arts, political philosophies, and disciplinary theories (sociology, anthropology, psychology, etc.). Second, historians of ideas seek to articulate the connection between thinkers and an historical era. Another way of expressing this is that intellectual historians apprehend the cultural meaning of ideas by situating them within a historical context of power and social relations. By contrast, most philosophers evaluate ideas without any reference to a specific historical context. Third, historians of ideas are not interested in the knowledge of thought and philosophy for its own sake. Rather, intellectual historians believe that the study of ideas is the best way to understand the history of humanity. II. Chronology and Themes The course begins with a study of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment and French Revolution. It ends with the rise of European fascism, the emergence of existentialism, and the development of critical theory. The greatest emphasis will be given to the period between 1750 and 1930. The objective of the course is to acquaint students with Modern European intellectual revolutions, political ideologies, and aesthetic currents. Students will study political and economic ideologies such as conservatism, political liberalism, economic liberalism, socialism, and feminism. The course seeks to foster (1) knowledge of events such as the French Revolution and historical processes such as industrialization and (2) intellectual appreciation of European cultural and intellectual life. In so doing, it is expected to develop students' critical skills and make them better world citizens. 1 III. Learning Objectives Students who complete this course should acquire an understanding of the following topics:  The rise of rational-empirical knowledge and the decline of theological authority  The effect of the Scientific Revolution on the Enlightenment  The influence of Enlightenment on the French Revolution  The impact of the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution on European life  Classical political ideologies (conservatism/Burke, liberalism/Mill, and socialism/Marx)  The revolt against the dispirited nature of science (Nietzsche)  The anthropological imagination as a critique of European ethnocentrism  WWI, socialist revolutions, and fascist reactions In addition, the course will help students do the following:  Understand the major currents of modern thought  Understanding major intellectual and cultural movements in their historical contexts  Apply analytical writing skills to explain and interpret modern intellectual history The course will help students understand the ideas of key thinkers and dominant ideologies in their historical context. This understanding of the past will enrich students’ understanding of the present. Required Texts Marvin Perry, Western Civilization: Ideas. Politics & Society, Vol. 2 (2012) Lily Braun, Selected Writings on Feminism and Socialism (B) Horkheimer/Adorno, “The Culture Industry” in Dialectic of the Enlightenment (B) David Hume, Dialogues and Natural History of Religion (Oxford UP, 1993) Immanuel Kant, “What is Enlightenment?” 1783 (B) Marx/Engels, The Communist Manifesto (Norton Critical Edition, 1988) John Stuart Mill, Autobiography (Penguin Classics, 1990) Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract (Penguin Classics, 1968) Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea (New Directions, 2007) Voltaire, Candide or Optimism (Penguin Books, 2005) Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own & Three Guineas (Oxford UP, 2008) Please note: Readings followed by (B) will be found on Blackboard. Requirements & Grading 1. Participation (15%) Mandatory 2. Reader Response Essays (25%) 15 Jan; 19 Feb; 16 Apr 3. Integrative Essays (40%) 31 Jan; 7 Mar; 4 Apr 4. Final Exam/Paper (20%) I. Participation: 15% Attendance, with assigned readings in hand, is mandatory. Students will receive credit for attendance and additional points for in-class oral participation. Participation in discussions is required. Absences, early departures, and attendance without the assigned readings will negatively impact your grade. Credit for participation will be given to students who complete the weekly readings and make intelligent verbal contributions. 2 II. Reader-Response Essays: 25% Reader-response essays will be rejoinders to the weekly reading. These essays will respond to questions in the “SCHEDULE OF LECTURES & DISCUSSIONS” section of this syllabus. Students will write 3 reader-response essays. There are no make-up essays. III. Integrative Essays: 40% The three integrative essay questions and their due dates can be found in the “SCHEDULE OF LECTURES & DISCUSSIONS” section of this syllabus. The essays will be written using the course readings. You must prepare a draft for peer review. The draft and peer reviews will count toward the grade, and they must be submitted with your final paper. These essays will integrate lecture materials, relevant readings, and discussion perspectives. They should reflect a passion for communication and constitute compelling intellectual work. Your authorial voice should be clearly distinguished from the perspective of the authors and texts. IV. Final Exam: 20% The final exam will be comprised of two take-home essays. Students will turn in the essays during the regularly scheduled final exam. There are no make-up exams for students who have not made arrangements with me prior to the final exam. Essay Grading Scale A (Outstanding) level essays integrate course readings, lectures, and discussion themes and put forth an original, creative argument or thesis. “A” essays are extremely well organized and possess excellent thematic coherence. “A” work is free of grammatical and spelling errors and cites all sources properly. B (Above Average) “B” level essays integrate course readings and materials and construct a well- reasoned argument or thesis. “B” essays are well organized and possess good thematic coherence. “B” work contains very few grammatical and spelling errors and cites sources properly. C (Average) “C” level essays meet the course requirements and demonstrate a basic assimilation of course readings and course materials. “C” essays repeat a few ideas from the course but do not display full mastery of the material. Often “C” work suffers from poor organization. The essay may lack a thesis and/or clear topic sentences. Sources may not be cited properly. “C” work will have a few grammatical and spelling errors. D (Below Average) “D” level essays reflect minimal mastery of key concepts, course readings, and course material. “D” essays lack structure and thematic coherence. Some sources may not be cited. This work generally has many (5 or more) grammatical and/or spelling errors. F (Failing) “F” work (1) reflects little or no mastery of the materials and (2) generally possesses no thematic coherence. “F” work may contain a substantial amount of information that is irrelevant to the essay question. Plagiarized work will receive a failing grade. Course Grading Scale A = 93-100 A- = 90-92 B+ = 87-89 B = 83-86 B- = 80-82 C+ = 77-79 C = 73-76 C- = 70-72 D+ = 67-69 D = 60-66 F = 59 and below Class Policies 3 1. All electronic devices must be turned off before entering class. If students use electronic devices during class, they will be asked to leave. To negotiate exceptions, please come to my office hours. 2. Late work will not be accepted. The only exception is bona fide emergencies. You will need documentation. Accepted late assignments will be marked down one letter grade for every class meeting that they are late. 3. No make-up exams for in-class essays will be given unless students have received permission from their teacher prior to an exam or quiz. 4. Plagiarized assignments will receive a failing grade for a first offense and a zero for the second offense. 5. No food, please. You may bring water. 6. Emails should be treated as formal communications and therefore must include (a) a subject line, (b) the instructor’s professional title, and (c) a salutation. Guidelines for Class Conduct 1. Respect learning and the wisdom of social justice. 2. Practice courtesy and civility. 3. Sycamore Ps: punctual, professional, prepared. 4. Non-class related activities are forbidden in class. 5. Hands up…Please raise your hand when you wish to speak. 6. Be prepared to take notes at all times. Class Discussions & Assigned Readings Thursday classes will often include discussions of lecture themes and course readings. Students are required to (1) bring the assigned weekly readings to class on Thursdays and (2) complete the weekly readings before Thursday classes. Students will be penalized if they do not have the assigned readings in their possession. SCHEDULE OF LECTURES & DISCUSSIONS WEEK 1: History as a Foreign Country 8 Jan: Critical Thinking & Key Concepts 10 Jan: The Crisis of Christianity READING: Perry, Ch 18; Kant, “What is Enlightenment?” 1783 (B) Reader-Response Essay #1 (One page, single-spaced) What, according to Perry & Kant, is the relationship of religion to Enlightenment? Explain. WEEK 2: From Divine Faith to Empirical Rationality 4 15 Jan: Leibnitz and Religious Absurdity Reader-Response Essay #1 Due 17 Jan: Discussion—Religious & Scientific Knowledge READING: Voltaire, Candide, Chaps 1-20 & 26-30 WEEK 3: The Enlightenment & World History 22 Jan: Religious Persecution, Imperialism, & Compassion 24 Jan: Discussion: Religion, Empire, & Compassion READING: Hume, Dialogues, Part 1 & Dialogues 1-5; Hume, Natural History of Religion (B) Integrative Essay #1 (2-3 pages, single-spaced) Part 1: Summarize Voltaire’s philosophical, ethical, and political criticisms of religion. Part 2: Analyze Candide using Hume’s social critique of religion. Part 3: Why did Enlightenment thinkers criticize religion? WEEK 4: First Essay Assignment: A New Epistemology & Politics 29 Jan: Peer Reviews/Rough Draft Due 31 Jan: FIRST ESSAY DUE READING: None WEEK 5: From Subjects to Citizens 5 Feb: Rousseau: Democracy as the Common Good 7 Feb: Discussion: Democracy and Capitalism READING: Rousseau, The Social Contract (Book I; Book II, Chaps 1-4, 6-7, 11; Book III, Chaps 4 & 15; Book IV, Chaps 1 & 8) WEEK 6: From Enlightenment to French Revolution 29 Jan: Edmund Burke, Reflections of the Revolution in France 31 Jan: Discussion: Democracy & Christianity READING: Perry, 454-476, 482-486; Alphonse, “Yet Another Effort,” 1795 (B) Reader-Response Essay #2 (1-2 pages, single-spaced) Part 1: Summarize & explain Rousseau’s democratic philosophy. Part 2: Using Alphonse & Perry, explain the secular impulses of the French Revolution. WEEK 7: Cultural & Political Ideologies: Liberalism 19 Feb: Economic & Political Liberalism Reader-Response Essay #2 Due 21 Feb: Discussion—Which of Mill’s themes reflect the concerns of the Enlightenment? READING: Mill, Autobiography (Chaps II & V-VII) 5 WEEK 8: Cultural and Political Ideologies: Socialism 26 Feb: Hegelians & Humanism: Transcending Christianity 28 Feb: Utopian & Marxist Socialism READING: Perry, 518-30 & 573-7; Marx, Communist Manifesto, 45-97 & 104-111 Integrative Essay #2 Part 1: What are Mill and Marx’s historical analyses of capitalist society? Part 2: What are the benefits & limitations of utopian socialism? Part 3: Whose version of socialism offers the best vision of social justice? Why? WEEK 9: Second Essay: Political Ideologies 5 Mar: Peer Review/Rough Draft Due 7 Mar: SECOND ESSAY DUE READING: None SPRING BREAK, March 11-15 WEEK 10: Feminism & Life Prospects 19 Mar: Reading Woolf 21 Mar: Discussion—Gendered Space READING: Woolf, A Room of One’s Own WEEK 11: Married Love and the Woman Question 26 Mar: Feminism & Culture 28 Mar: Discussion: Civic Intimacy READING: Braun, “Left & Right,” “The Dethroning of Love,” “The Female Mind” (B) Integrative Essay #3 (2 pages, single-spaced) Part I: Summarize the historical and ethical arguments of Woolf and Braun. Part 2: Compare and contrast the key ideas of Woolf and Braun. WEEK 12: Third Essay: Varieties of Feminism 2 Apr: Peer Review/Draft Due 4 Apr: THIRD ESSAY DUE READING: None WEEK 13: Modern Consciousness: Fascism 9 Mar: What is Fascism? 11Mar: Discussion—Reactions to Egalitarian Politics READING: Woolf, Three Guineas; Perry, 747-749 Reader-Response Essay #3 (1-2 pages, single-spaced) According to Woolf, what are the major institutional and ideological components of fascism? 6 WEEK 14: Modern Consciousness: Existentialism 16 Apr: Varieties of Existentialism Reader-Response Essay #3 Due 18 Apr: Discussion—Education & Existentialism READING: Sartre, Nausea; Perry, 850-851 & 793-799 WEEK 15: Critical Theory & Consumer Culture 23 Apr: Critical Theory as Anti-Authoritarianism 26 Apr: Discussion: Citizenship in the Post-Communist Age of Consumerism READINGS: Horkheimer/Adorno, “The Culture Industry” (B); Perry, 856-863 Final Exam Questions Essay #1 (2 pages, single-spaced) Part 1: Summarize the narrative of Nausea and explain the shocking ending. Part 2: Compare and contrast the ideals of the Enlightenment and existentialism. Essay #2 (2 pages, single-spaced) Part 1: Summarize the arguments of Horkheimer and Adorno. Part 2: Interpret critical theory as specie of the Enlightenment and Marxist thought. WEEK 16: Final Exam 2 May, 10 am 7
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