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42.346  Modern European Intellectual History 

Spring 2002

Michael C. Hickey   Office:  130 OSH, x4161   Hours:  M-W, 2:00-3:00; T-Th, 2:00-3:30    hickey@planetx.bloomu.edu  or  hickey@bloomu.edu

Please note that there are mirrored sites for this on-line syllabus is located at http://facstaff.bloomu.edu/hickey/homepage%20index.htm and at http://planetx.bloomu.edu/~hickey/homepage%20index.htm You might want to bookmark both pages, since one or the other may be “down” when you need to use it!

Navigate this page:    Course Description    Assignments and Evaluation

                                    Course Texts     Specific Instructions for Assignments

                                    On Source Citations, etcWeekly Syllabus of Readings

                                    European History Resources


Course Description:  This course is an introduction to 19th and 20th century European Intellectual History.  Defining just what we mean by "intellectual history" is not a simple task.  Where, for instance, do we draw the line between intellectual history and cultural history, the history of science and medicine, or the history of education?  In this course, we will limit our inquiry primarily to several major currents of philosophical debate about the nature of the individual, society, and politics.  We will be confronting the sticky problem of where ideas and intellectual movements  "come from."  In general, our approach will be to look at ideas as reflecting (or growing out of) specific historical (social, political, cultural, economic, etc) contexts.  We will begin by examining the roots of modern intellectual life in the scientific revolution and enlightenment though.  We will then give special attention to the influences of the French Revolution and the industrial revolution on intellectual life (and in particular on Romanticism).  Our attention will then turn to intellectual manifestations of the contradictions of early 19th century society (in particular, by looking at the work of Mill and Marx), and then to the relationship between "scientific" rationalism and anti-Rationalist thought in the later 19th century.  We will examine the origins and outcomes of World War One in relationship to the breakdown of faith in progress and the predominance of Freudian perspectives on the human psyche.  We will examine how this experience, as well as legacies of the Enlightenment and Romanticism, can help us understand both Communist and Fascist Utopian thought in the inter-war era. We then will address the origins and basic principles of Existentialism, before ending with a discussion of major late 20th century intellectual movements (in particular, Feminism and Post-Structuralism).


Assignments and evaluation:  Your final grade is based upon class participation (20 percent), a term paper (20 percent), and two take-home exams (30 percent each).  The Term Paper is due on 1 May.  Exam One is due on 20 March.  Exam Two is due at our Final Exam session. 

Link to directions for:     Class participation    Term Paper    Exam One    Exam Two

An "A" in this course means that your cumulative score on all assignments adds up to 93 percent or more of possible points; A- = 90-92 percent; B+ = 88-89 percent; B = 83-87 percent; B- = 80-82 percent; C+ = 78-79 percent; C = 73-77 percent; C- = 70-72 percent; D+ =68-69 percent; D = 63-67 percent; D- = 60-62 percent; and less than 60 percent = E.


Assigned Texts:

Marvin Perry, et. al., Western Civilization:  Ideas, Politics, and Society, Vol. 2  (6th ed.)

John Stuart Mill, The Autobiography of John Stuart Mill, ed. by J. H. Robson.

Karl Marx, The Portable Karl Marx, ed. by E. Kamenka.  

Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents, ed. by J. Strachey.

Jean Paul Sartre, Nausea, trans. by Lloyd Alexander.

Web-linked readings.


Specific Instructions for Assignments:

Participation:  This course is organized as a seminar, and it requires your active participation every week.  For this reason, participation accounts for 20 percent of your course grade.  It is your responsibility to attend every class session having already completed the week's reading assignments and having already prepared answers to the week's study questions.  I expect you to answer questions, but also to ask questions of me and of the other students.  I may assign you to do "group" presentations or to "take over" class at points as a discussion leader.  Your participation grade will be based upon both the frequency and the quality of your contributions to discussions.  Note that you can not contribute if you are not attending, and that I will lower your participation grade in direct ratio to the number of classes that you miss without a University-recognized excuse.


Term Paper:  You are to chose one thinker/writer/creative artist and spend the semester reading everything you can by and about that person (in the case of artists, this includes their creative works).  I expect that you will read a minimum of ten separate volumes (please note that I consider three articles in academic journals to be the equivalent of one book).  You will then write a paper that is a minimum of twelve pages long (typed, double spaced, with endnotes, which are in addition to the minimum page length). 

Your paper must either a) examine the subject's entire career from the perspective of his or her biography, with special attention to the historical context; or b) provide a detailed analysis of one particular aspect of the subject's thought or creative work.  This paper will account for 20 percent of your course grade, and is due on 1 May.  I will grade your paper on the basis of its accuracy, clarity, logic, and use of appropriate source material.

Exam One:  Using as your main sources John Stuart Mill's Autobiography and the early writings of Karl Marx (through 1848), write a 10 page paper (typed, double spaced, with endnotes, which are in addition to the minimum page length) that compares and contrasts how Mill and Marx understood the major problems confronting early 19th century European society and the proper means by which those problems should be addressed/solved.

You might consider giving special attention to the following issues:  how each conceived of the function of the state in a liberal capitalist society; how each understood the social forces that shape the identity and character of individuals; how each understood the relationship between an individual and society; and how each understood the nature of historical change.  This exam will account for 30 percent of your course grade.  It is due on 6 March.  I will grade your exam on the basis of its accuracy, clarity, logic, and use of appropriate source material.

Exam Two:  Using as your main sources Freud's Civilization and its Discontents and Sartre's Nausea, write a 10 page paper (typed, double spaced, with endnotes, which are in addition to the minimum page length) that compares and contrasts how Freud and Sartre understood the relationship between the individual and society, the nature/ problem of human freedom, and how humans create meaning in their lives

This exam will account for 30 percent of your course grade.  It is due at our Final Exam session.  I will grade your exam on the basis of its accuracy, clarity, logic, and use of appropriate source material.


Weekly Syllabus of Readings:

Week I (16 January):  Course Introduction.  

If possible, I'd like you to read Perry, chapter 17, before our class meeting.  If you can't do this, then read the chapter before the end of Week I!   Be sure to answer the Review Questions at the end of each chapter in Perry!.


Week II (23 January):  Roots of Modern Thought: The Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment.  

Read Perry, chs. 17 and 18.

Read either Descartes, "Discourse on Method" at http://www.utm.edu/research/iep/text/descart/des-meth.htm or Descartes "Mediations" (it is ok to just read the Synopsis, then decide if you want to read any of the specific meditations) at http://philos.wright.edu/DesCartes/MedE.html.

Read Voltaire, "Religion" from The Philosophical Dictionary at http://history.hanover.edu/texts/voltaire/volrelig.htm.

Read selections from Rousseau, The Social Contract at http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/Rousseau-soccon.html.

Read Kant, "What is Enlightenment?" at http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/kant-whatis.html and then read the "Introduction" to the Critique of Pure Reason at http://www.arts.cuhk.edu.hk/Philosophy/Kant/cpr. Be sure to click on the link to the Introduction.  Read only pp. 041-051.

Read the linked web-essay on Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan at http://www.philosophypages.com/hy/3x.htm.

Read Locke, "Introduction" to "An Essay Concerning Human Understanding" at http://www.ilt.columbia.edu/Projects/digitexts/locke/understanding/introduction.html.and "State of Nature" in his Second Treatise of Government at http://www.swan.ac.uk/poli/texts/locke/lockcont.htm. (Click on this chapter in the table of contents.)

Read Hume, "On Miracles" at http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/hume-miracles.html.

Read Smith, The Wealth of Nations (selections) at http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/adamsmith-summary.html.

Answer linked study questions of web readings for week two.


Week III (30 January):  The Dual Revolutions and Modern Thought: Romanticism.

Read Perry, chs.19-21 (for background), and ch. 22, esp. pp. 532-542.

Read Blake, "There is No Natural Religion" at http://members.aol.com/lshauser2/nonatrel.html

Read Wordsworth, "Advertisement" and at least the first 30 lines of the "Introduction" to "The Prelude" at http://www.bartleby.com/145/ww286.html and  http://www.bartleby.com/145/ww287.html.

Read Keats, "Happy is England" at http://www.bartleby.com/126/30.htmland "Robin Hood" at http://www.library.utoronto.ca/utel/rp/poems/keats7.html.

Read a portion of the 1837 edition of Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein  at http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/etcbin/toccer-new?id=SheFran&images=images/modeng&data=/texts/english/modeng/parsed&tag=public I'd really like you to read the author's introduction, chapter 6, and chapter 20, but you may chose any portion of the novel.  But do try to read a "chunk" of it!

(You may wish to take a look at page from which this html version is linked, the very useful "Resources for the Study of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein" from Georgetown University, at http://www.georgetown.edu/irvinemj/english016/franken/franken.htm)

For an example of the contrast between Enlightenment Classicism versus Early Romanticism in French Painting, compare Greuze, "The Paralytic" at http://www.hermitagemuseum.org/html_En/03/hm3_3_1_7b.html  to Gericault, "The Raft of the Medusa" (1819) at http://www.louvre.fr/anglais/collec/peint/inv0488/peint_f.htm or at http://www.artchive.com/artchive/G/gericault/raft_of_the_medusa.jpg.html

For a wonderful example of early Romantic response to industrialization in English painting, see Turner, "Rain, Steam, Speed" at  http://www.j-m-w-turner.co.uk/artist/turner-rain-steam.htm and "The Fighting Temeraire" at http://www.j-m-w-turner.co.uk/artist/turner-temeraire.htm

For the most dramatic example of early Romanticism in music, I strongly urge you to listen to a copy of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, if only the final (choral) movement!.

Answer linked study questions on web readings for week three


Week IV (6 February):  The Dual Revolutions, Liberalism and Conservativism

Read Perry ch.22, esp. pp. 542-552 and pp. 555-558 (on Nationalism).

Read Jefferson, "Declaration of Independence" at http://www.nara.gov/exhall/charters/declaration/declaration.html.

Read Seiyes, What is the Third Estate? (an excerpt)  at http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/sieyes.html.

Read the 1789 French "Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen" at http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/rightsof.htm.

Read Paine, The Rights of Man (a selection from text in response to Burke) at  http://www.ushistory.org/paine/rights/c1-010.htm.

Read Wollstonecraft, "Dedication" and "Advertisement" to The Vindication of the Rights of Women at http://www.swan.ac.uk/poli/texts/wollstonecraft/vindia.htm

Read Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France at http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1791burke.html

Read de Maistre, selestion from Essay on the Generative Principle at http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1810demaistre.html.

Read von Metternich, selection from Political Confession of Faith at  http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1820metternich.html.

Answer linked study questions for week four.


Week V (13 February):  The Dual Revolutions and Utopian Socialism

Read Perry, ch, 22, esp. pp. 552-555 AND ch. 23 (for background).

Read Saint-Simon, Lettres d'un habitant de Genève à ses contemporains (in English) at http://www.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/History/teaching/sem10/simon1.html and  Saint-Simon, "The Failure of European Liberalism" (from Deuxième appendice sur le libéralisme et l'industrialisme, Catéchisme des industriels) at http://www.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/History/teaching/sem10/simon3.html

Read Fourier, excerpt from Theory of Social Organization at http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1820fourier.html

Read Own, A New View of Society, "Dedication" and "Essay One" at    http://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/economics/owen/

Read Proudhon, What is Property?, chapter one (and as much else as you wish to read), at http://www.home.ch/~spaw3870/property/a_a_property%20_05.htm

Answer linked study questions for week five.


Week VI (20 February):  Contradictions of Early Nineteenth Century Society and John Stuart Mill

Read Perry, ch, 24, esp. pp. 602-608.

Read Mill's Autobiography and answer the linked study questions.


Week VII (27 February): Contradictions of Early Nineteenth Century Society and Karl Marx

Read Perry, ch. 24, esp. pp. 587-602.

Read The Portable Karl Marx, pp. xi-xiv, 5-241  and answer the linked study questions.


Week VIII (6 March):  Contradictions of Late Nineteenth Century Society--From Science to Irrationalism

Read Perry, re-read ch. 24, pp. 590-596; read chs. 25-27 (for background); read ch. 28, esp. pp. 696-706.

Read Darwin, Origin of the Species, "Introduction" and any other chapter that you might find of interest, at http://www.literature.org/authors/darwin-charles/the-origin-of-species/.

Read Huxley, "The Struggle for Existence" at http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1888thhuxley-struggle.html.

Read Pearson, National Life From the Standpoint of Science at http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1900pearsonl.html.

Read Rhodes, "Confession of Faith" at http://cla.calpoly.edu/~nclark/Hist431/Rhodes.htm.

Read Nietzsche, "An Attempt at Self-Criticism" from The Birth of Tragedy at http://www.mala.bc.ca/~johnstoi/Nietzsche/tragedy_all.htm

If you are interested in Nietzsche, you might want to take a look at this website-- "The Will to Power" at http://www.inquiria.com/nz/.

Optional: Read any section of Dostoevskii, Notes From the Underground at http://eserver.org/books/dostoevsky-underground/.

Answer linked study questions

Note:  No Class on 13 March.  Spring Break!

Week IX (20 March):  Contradictions of Late Nineteenth Century Society--Social Thought and the Arts

Read Perry, ch. 28, esp. pp. 706-723.

Simmel, "Conflict as Sociation" (3 pages) at http://www2.pfeiffer.edu/~lridener/courses/SOCIAT.HTML

Pareto, "The Circulation of Elites" at  http://www2.pfeiffer.edu/~lridener/courses/CIRCELIT.HTML and the discussion of The Theory of Elites and the Circulation of Elites at http://www.geocities.com/social_theory/vilfredo_pareto_ideas.html

Le Bon, The Crowd:  A Study of the Popular Mind (read the Front Matter, in particular, the Introduction "The Era of Crowds") at  http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/BonCrow.html

Weber, on "Bureaucracy" at http://www2.pfeiffer.edu/~lridener/courses/BUREAU.HTML

Weber, from The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism at http://www2.pfeiffer.edu/~lridener/courses/PECAP.HTML

Read the section on "Anomie," "Suicide," and "Crime" in the on-line Durkheim Archive at http://durkheim.itgo.com/anomie.html , http://durkheim.itgo.com/suicide.html , and http://durkheim.itgo.com/crime.html.

Linked study questions


Week X (27 March):  World War One and the End of Progress


First, in regard to transformations in art in the pre-war decades.

Please take a look at the paintings by

Renoir, at http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/renoir/parisian.jpg (1874) and  http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/renoir/terrace.jpg (1881)

Monet, at http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/monet/haystacks/ (1890-91)

Van Gogh at http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/gogh/vineyards/gogh.old-vineyard.jpg and http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/gogh/portraits/gogh.berceuse.jpg (1889)

Gauguin at http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/gauguin/gauguin.christ-jaune.jpg (1889) and at http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/gauguin/gauguin.nave-moe.jpg (1894)

Picasso at http://www.artic.edu/artaccess/AA_Modern/pages/MOD_1.shtml (1904, 1910), http://www.hipernet.ufsc.br/wm/paint/auth/picasso/people/women/picasso.women.jpg (1908)

Braques, Leger, and Piccasso (various Cubist paintings. 1907-1914) at  http://fapi.virtualave.net/semi/kubismus.html

Kandinskii at http://www.rollins.edu/Foreign_Lang/Russian/kand1.jpg (1908), http://www.rollins.edu/Foreign_Lang/Russian/kand5.jpg (1909), and  http://www.rollins.edu/Foreign_Lang/Russian/kand6.jpg (1911).

PLEASE take another look at the images and text in Perry, between pp. 640 and 641, and (again) read Perry, pp. 711-718!!!

IF you have a chance to do so, find a copy and listen to Stravinskii's Rites of Spring (1913), a path-breaking pre-war composition that paid homage to paganism... (remember the themes that we discussed last week?)

THEN, On World War One

Please BE SURE that you have read Perry, ch. 29, 30 (for background) and ch.31, esp. pp. 809-831!!!  This is REALLY IMPORTANT background.


Week XI (3 April):  Post-War Europe, the Search for Meaning, and Freud

Read Perry, ch. 31,  pp.809-831.

Read Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents and answer linked study questions.


Week XII (10 April):  The Radiant Future?  Neo-Positivism and Stalinist Intellectual "Life"

Read Perry, ch. 30, esp. pp. 769-776; ch. 31, esp. pp. 817-818.

I'm going to show a film (Eisenstien's Battleship Potemkin [1925]), which we will then discuss.  


Week XIII (17 April):  The Power of the Irrational.  Fascism and Nazism.

Read Perry, ch. 30, esp. pp. 776-802, ch. 32.

Read the following:

Mussolini, "What is Fascism" at http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/mussolini-fascism.html

Adolf Hitler's First Antisemitic Writing September 16, 1919 (http://h-net2.msu.edu/~german/gtext/kaiserreich/hitler2.html)

Adolf Hitler Speech of April 12, 1921 (http://history.hanover.edu/courses/excerpts/111hit1.html)

Adolf Hitler on Propaganda (from Mein Kampf) at  http://fcit.coedu.usf.edu/holocaust/resource/document/DocPropa.htm

(Please note that there are several full-text versions of Mein Kampf on line, but that many of them are posted by neo-Nazi groups (for instance, "stormfront.org")...PLEASE NOTE!!!  When you visit these sites, they will likely collect information from your computer, and you may end up on their mailing lists....)

Adolf Hitler Reichstag Speech 20 February 20, 1938  at   http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/wwii/bluebook/blbk05.htm

Der Giftpilz (The Toadstool) (from Calvin College German Propaganda Archive) (http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/thumb.htm)

Also, please browse through documents and read anything that interests you at 

    The Modern History Sourcebook on Nazism, at http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/modsbook43.html

    The Nazi Propaganda section of the German Propaganda Archive page at http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/

    Barnsdale's Weimar Republic links site at http://www.barnsdle.demon.co.uk/hist/weilin.html

In class, we will have a "free" discussion of Nazi thought.  In particular, I want you to think about how the ideas of Hitler and the Nazis relate to ALL of our previous readings (on liberalism, on Marx, on social darwinism, on Nietzsche, on "the crowd" and irrationalism, etc.).

Week XIV (24 April):  Existentialism and Other Post-War Currents of Thought

Read Perry, ch. 31, pp. 823-831; ch. 33 (background)

Read Sartre, Nausea


Week XV (1 May):  Cold War Currents, Feminism, and Post-Structuralism

Read Perry, chs. 33-34

Read (To be assigned!)

Answer linked study questions

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