Fall 2013 - Graduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
This graduate seminar examines the intellectual and cultural history of American liberalism from the eighteenth through the twentieth centuries, with special attention to key ideas about selfhood, social order, the roles of reason and emotion in understanding human action, and notions of freedom and progress. The course is concerned less with the political or institutional history of liberalism in terms of changing government policies, and more with examining liberalism as a changing body of beliefs, values, and cultural orientations. Some topics to be considered: what are the core elements of a liberal worldview or sensibility? Has liberalism been the dominant political culture in the United States or are there alternative bodies of thought, such as republicanism, conservatism, or radicalism of various kinds? What have been the defining moments in the history of liberal culture in the United States? What is the relation between progressivism and liberalism, liberalism and "the left," and liberalism and secularism? What role have social science, religion, and moral philosophy played in the development of a liberal sensibility?
Joyce Appleby, Liberalism and Republicanism in the Historical Imagination
James Kloppenberg, The Virtues of Liberalism
Walter Lippmann, Drift and Mastery
Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., The Vital Center
John Dewey, Individualism Old and New
Alice O'Connor, Poverty Knowledge
Additional readings by Nancy Cohen, John Rawls, Isaiah Berlin, J.M. Opal, Jane Addams, John Stuart Mill, Daniel Rodgers, Gary Gerstle, Dorothy Ross, Lionel Trilling, Richard Hofstadter, Richard Rorty and others.
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
Mandatory attendance and participation in class discussion; one oral presentation; one research paper (15-20 pp.)