Fall 2013

Transformative Ideas

Listed in: Political Science, as POSC-117

Moodle site: Course


Thomas L. Dumm (Section 01)


This course explores a series of ideas from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries that have substantially changed the way people think about humanity in the Western world.  Each idea is closely associated with an author. While from year to year the ideas will change, for 2013 we will closely read and write about, Karl Marx and Frederic Engels The Communist Manifesto, Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, Friedrich Nietzsche’s On the Genealogy of Morals, Sigmund Freud’s The Ego and the Id, selections from Franz Kafka, The Complete Stories, Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jersualem and Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish. Students are also required to purchase a copy of Strunk and White, The Elements of Style.


This course will emphasize the development of several skills, including close reading, interpretation, and expository writing. You will be required to pose critical questions concerning the readings, posted to the course blog, the night prior to each meeting. Each week you will also be required to write a brief essay in response to a prompt provided by me commenting on a passage in the week’s reading. These essays will be evaluated for grammar, style, logical coherence, and clarity.

This is a discussion-based course with the expectation of active participation by students. You are required to have the reading for each class meeting completed prior to class. You will be evaluated for their ability to engage thoughtfully with the texts and with each other. Evaluation of participation will constitute the remaining 10% of the final grade for the course.

Limited to 15 students. Fall semester. Professor Dumm.

If Overenrolled: Preference given to first year then second year students then Political Science majors.


2020-21: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2013, Fall 2015