The Modern and the Postmodern (Part 1)
- Course Pages
- “The Modern and the Postmodern Part I” covers the first half of a full semester course on European history, literature and philosophy. We begin with Immanuel Kant and Jean Jacques Rousseau and conclude with Friedrich Nietzsche and Charles Baudelaire and a very quick look at painting at the time they wrote. Although in the final week themes of postmodernism begin to emerge, a discussion of how modernism becomes postmodernism is at the heart of Part II of this course.
- Philosophy, Modernity, and Intellectual History
- Why is philosophy relevant to modernity?
Through reading Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Immanuel Kant, we examine philosophy as a reflection on modernity and progress.
- What is Enlightenment?
- Using Rousseau’s Discourse on the Origins of Inequality, we study how the pursuit of knowledge is related to the politics of inequality.
- From Enlightenment to Revolution
- Karl Marx is our focus here as we move from a consideration of ideas to a confrontation with alienation, class struggle and revolution.
- Modernism and Art for Art's Sake
- We read Flaubert’s Madame Bovary as a reflection on convention, stupidity and art in the wake of the failures of mid-19th century revolution.
- Re-imagining the World
- We situate Charles Darwin’s great achievement in the context of the English Enlightenment traditions and reimaging the world without a goal for change.
- From Struggle to Intensity
- Through an examination of Charles Baudelaire and Friedrich Nietzsche, we focus on an aesthetic embrace of intensity instead of search for the “really real.”
- A Quick Survey of how advanced painting moved toward a consideration of the surface of the canvas and away from a quest for the most realistic representation of the world.