This course examines how the idea of "the modern" develops at the end of the 18th century in European philosophy and literature, and how being modern (or progressive, or hip) became one of the crucial criteria for understanding and evaluating cultural change. Are we still in modernity, or have we moved beyond the modern to the postmodern?
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.”
Paintings 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.
MOOCs stand for Massive Open Online Courses. These arefree online courses from universities around the world (eg. StanfordHarvardMIT) offered to anyone with an internet connection.
How do I register?
To register for a course, click on "Go to Class" button on the course page. This will take you to the providers website where you can register for the course.
How do these MOOCs or free online courses work?
MOOCs are designed for an online audience, teaching primarily through short (5-20 min.) pre recorded video lectures, that you watch on weekly schedule when convenient for you. They also have student discussion forums, homework/assignments, and online quizzes or exams.
Really enjoyed this excellent course which gives you a broad overview on the various themes in Art, Lierature, Science and Philosophy which made our modern world. Michael Roth is a fantastic lecturer, so knowledgeable yet accessible also. It was fascinating watching him search for the precise word he wanted to express his thoughts. Wish some of our English/European academics had his breadth and humanity. Well done Wesleyian!!
Dolly Yecompleted this course, spending 10 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
A illuminating class on our conditions in a world that changes at an exponential speed.
To quote one of the readings:"Modernity can best be grasped as an attitude, an ethos.
- This ironic heroization of the present, this transfiguring play of freedom with reality, this ascetic elaboration of the self — Baudelaire does not imagine that these have any place in society itself, or in the body politic. They can only be produced in another, a different place, which Baudelaire calls art."––– "What is Enlightenment" Foucault
Really good course! Michael S. ROth's lectures are of very high quality, informative, well thought through, and not boring at all. The reading materials are carefully selected and well explained for people who are new to literature, but also experienced readers found their match in the assignments' questions and comparisons.
Dorothycompleted this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
Exciting introduction to some of history's great thinkers. The professor did a great job of describing the context and culture during the time of each of the authors. This course has made it much easier for me to select which books or lines of thought to pursue on my own. There is even a bonus lesson on some famous artwork!
The Lectures and Readings are excellent. The essay assignments are excellent as well for honing your writing skills. I'd recommend this clas for anyone who wants to learn more about literature and philosophy.