Germanic Languages | Special Topics in Germanic Studies
E371 | 32579 | Chaouli

Topic: "The Enlightenment and its Shadows"

Since the eighteenth century, the Enlightenment has set the tone for
most intellectual debates in the West (and increasingly world-wide),
in the sense that its ideas have both nourished new ways of thinking
and writing and provoked them into opposition. Core Enlightenment
ideas—the critique of the social and cosmic orders, scientific
rationality, new legal norms, all ratified through the use of
reason—have become part of the fabric of our lives, yet they have also
been continually under revision and attack. This course introduces
students to some of the main expressions of Enlightenment thinking and
examines some of the major narratives that expose its shadows, in both
literature and philosophy. Readings will include work by Kant,
Mendelssohn, Lessing, Kleist, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, and Kafka.