Spring 2011 - Graduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
THIS COURSE IS AVAILABLE TO DOCTORAL STUDENTS ONLY
This course is an advanced overview of American thought from the seventeenth century to the present, with a focus on philosophy, political thought, and social thought.
Topics covered include: Puritanism, the American enlightenment, evangelical religion, romanticism, feminism, abolition and pro-slavery thought, Darwinism, natural science and religion, modernism and antimodernism, cold war liberalism and its critics, the rise of social science, pragmatism, forms of relativism, postmodernisms.
We will be reading short excerpts from a number of thinkers, including: John Cotton, Jonathan Edwards, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Sarah Grimke, Catharine Beecher, Frederick Douglass, George Fitzhugh, Abraham Lincoln, Thorstein Veblen, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, William James, W.E.B. Du Bois, Margaret Mead, John Dewey, Daniel Bell, Thomas Kuhn, Susan Sontag, and Richard Rorty. In addition, we will be reading a body of important secondary literature to provide a critical overview of the shape of the field and the significant questions and problems American intellectual historians are addressing. This course is designed to provide a pathway for those students considering preparing an examination field in American intellectual history, as well as those who may find it useful to related studies in modern literature and culture.
Texts being considered for required readings include:
David Hollinger and Charles Capper, eds., The American Intellectual Tradition, 5th edition, two volumes. (Vol. I 1630-1865; Vol. II 1865-2000)
Louis Menand, The Metaphysical Club
Elizabeth Fox-Genovese and Eugene Genovese, The Mind of the Master Class
Leslie Butler, Critical Americans: Victorian Intellectuals and Transatlantic Liberal Reform
Howard Brick, Transcending Capitalism: Visions of a New Society in Modern American Thought
Thomas Bender, ed., The Antislavery Debate
Jennifer Burns, Goddess of the Market
Sarah Igo, The Averaged American
Richard King, Race, Culture and the Intellectuals
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
Mandatory seminar attendance, preparation and participation; one oral presentation; one research paper (15-20 pp.)