German Thought and the Modern Era


In this introduction to the intellectual history of the German-speaking world from roughly 1750 to the present, we will read English translations of works by some of the most influential figures in the German tradition, including Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Adorno, Heidegger, Arendt, Habermas, and others. Our discussions will focus on topics such as secularization, what it means to be modern, the possibility of progress, the role of art and culture in social life, the critique of mass society, and the intrepretation of the Nazi past. We will consider the arguments of these thinkers both on their own terms and against the backdrop of the historical contexts in which they were written. Open to first-year students, non-majors and majors. Admission to 400-level courses (except 402, 403D, 404, and 408D) is contingent on completion of this course or 340C/340D. The main course is conducted in English, so this will only qualify for major or minor credit when taken in conjunction with one-hour discussion section in German (L21 341D).
Course Attributes: EN H; BU Eth; AS HUM

Section 01

German Thought and the Modern Era
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