LIT6856: Modernity, Rationality, and Irrationality, Fall 2018
Course Meetings: Fridays, periods 3-5 (9:35 AM-12:35 PM); in TUR 4112
Instructor: Professor Susan Hegeman / firstname.lastname@example.org/ 352-294-2815 / TUR 4119
Office hours: Tuesdays, 11:35-1:35, or by appointment
Course Goals and Objectives
Through genuine and persistent engagement with course materials, activities, and discussions, students will:
- gain a critical understanding of some key historiographic and theoretical concepts, including modernity, civilization, capitalism, the commons, primitive accumulation, Enlightenment, romanticism, disenchantment, and neoliberalism
develop knowledge of and skills in interpreting, discussing, and writing critically about key texts in critical theory
- gain fluency in current critical debates about labor, subjectivity, the histories of modernity and capitalism
- develop skills in academic writing, research, and argumentation
Required Course Materials
Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism trans. Talcott Parsons (Dover 048642703X)
Sigmund Freud, Civilization and its Discontents, trans. James Strachey (Norton 0393301583)
Friedrich Nietzsche, Genealogy of Morals, Basic Writings of Nietzsche, trans. Walter Kaufmann (Random/Modern Library 0679783393
Max Horkheimer and T. Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment, trans. Edmund Jephcott (Stanford University Press 0804736332)
- Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks, trans. Richard Philcox (Grove Press; Revised edition 0802143008)
- Silvia Federici, Caliban and the Witch (Autonomedia; 1570270597)
- Michael Löwy and Robert Sayre, Romanticism Against the Tide of Modernity, trans. Catherine Porter (Duke University Press 0822327945)
Raj Patel and Jason W. Moore, A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things (University of California Press; 0520299930)
- David Graeber, Bullshit Jobs (Simon & Schuster 150114331X)
All other course materials—other required and supplementary readings, syllabus, documents, assignments, course calendar and discussion prompts—are posted on the course’s Canvas e-learning website.
- Attendance and active participation in the seminar is expected. You should be prepared to be called upon. You will also be asked to informally introduce the readings for a given week.
- You will hand in 25-30 pages of written work over the course of the semester. Depending on your needs and goals for the course, this may be in the form of three short papers of 8-10 pages in length, one long paper, or a long and a short paper. Students choosing to write one long paper should be in consultation with me early in the semester and show me a prospectus of 1-2 pages by November. I recommend that advanced students working on extended projects related to the course material write one long paper. Students whose goals are to develop a strong familiarity with the material should consider writing shorter papers of a more explicatory sort.
October 5, November 9: dates for turning in short papers
November 9: prospectuses for longer papers due; students writing two shorter papers must turn the first paper in by this date
December 7: last day to turn in papers and receive comments before the end of the semester
December 13: last day to turn in a paper and receive a GRADE for the semester.
Course policy on Incompletes: I am willing to let students take Incompletes to have more time to complete a long final research paper. However, in the interest of not excessively prolonging the work of this course, I will accept seminar papers and grade them for full credit until the end of the spring 2008 semester. Students who turn in papers after this date will not receive an “A” in the course.
Accommodations for Disabilities
Academic Honesty Policy
Schedule of Readings and Discussions