Germanic Languages | German Culture Studies II
G564 | 2640 | Rasch

Max Weber and His Legacy

Three credit hour course meets; 2:30-3:45, TR in BH 205

Max Weber's description of the de-centered, rationalized, disenchanted, and
"polytheistic" modern world not only helps us understand 20th-century, German
(but not just German) intellectual, political, and cultural history, but also
serves as both a model and a challenge for our understanding of modernity as
such.  Behind much conservative and Marxist discontent with philosophical and
sociological positivism, relativism, the "neutralization" of the modern state,
and the "administered" society, one can recognize themes and analyses that were
first put on the table in their contemporary, social-theoretical form by Weber.
Similarly, the most ambitious modernist literary projects such as the prose works
of Broch, Mann, and Musil often deal with the same set of problems that Weber
examines in philosophical, historical, and sociological terms.  We will examine
Weber's early 20th-century articulation of some of these themes during the first
5 weeks of the course, and then spend the remaining time tracing the history of
their various receptions in literature, literary criticism, philosophy, and
political and social theory.  In particular, we will examine the implicit and
explicit careers of such topics as the "calling," value-neutrality and value-
relevance, charisma, rationalization, disenchantment, and the general critique
of (instrumental) reason.

The course demands a great deal of reading in a variety of different "genres,"
from philosophy to fiction, from literary to political and social theory.  The
aim will be to accustom students to read texts analytically, which is to say, to
learn to locate philosophical, ideological, and historical presuppositions that
organize and limit a text's argument.  To practice analytical and critical
habits, and to facilitate a lively and informed discussion, writing assignments
will consist of the following:
a) circa five (5) 2-3 page position papers, examining the specific
argument of a text or portion of a text, and
b) one (1) 12-15 page conference paper on a topic of your
choice, for a total of about 20-25 written pages during the course of the

The following list of texts is tentative, though changes (if any) are expected
to be limited to the Course Reader.  (Note: For students in departments other
than Germanic Studies, nearly all these texts [exception: Szondi] are available
in English.  All discussion will be in English.)

(+) Weber: Gesammelte Aufsätze zur Wissenschaftslehre (3-8252-1492-3)
(+) Weber: Die Protestantische Ethik I (3-579-01433-1)
(+) Weber: Politik als Beruf (Reclam: UB 8833)
(+) Mann: Der Tod in Venedig (3-596-11266-4)
(+) Mann: Tonio Kröger, Mario und der Zauberer (3-596-21381-9)
(+) Schmitt: Der Begriff des Politischen (3-428-07306-1)
(+) Horkheimer/Adorno: Dialektik der Aufklärung (3-596-27404-4)
(+) Luhmann: Observations on Modernity
(+) Course Reader (essays, chapters, etc., by: Berman, Broch, Goldman, Habermas,
Lillo, Marquard, Oakes, Schluchter, Strauss, Szondi, Todorov,