Comparative Literature | Understanding Modernity
C641 | 26967 | Prof. Calinescu

Department of Comparative Literature
Spring 2006
CMLT-C641 (26967)
Understanding Modernity: Historical and Intellectual Backgrounds.
Professor Matei Calinescu         T:  5:30-8:30

The course focuses on crucial historical events in the post-
Reformation period in the West (from the wars of religion in Europe
to the American and French Revolutions and beyond) in order to
account for the emergence of modernity as understood by such major
social thinkers, philosophers, and psychologists as Max Weber, Karl
Marx, Soren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud and
others. Among the topics to be discussed are: the crisis of the idea
of authority, the idea of progress, the Enlightenment and its
consequences, the idea of decadence, the appearance of nation state
and nationalism, the politics of religion and the religion of
politics, fascism, socialism versus capitalism, and the question of
modernization. Special attention will be devoted to the various
literary modernisms in the 20th century, including, in its latter
part, the emergence of postmodernism. Readings will include works by
the authors mentioned above.