Fall 2014

Asia in the European Mind: Modern European Discourse on History and Identity

Listed in: First Year Seminar, as FYSE-121

Moodle sites: Course  |  Section 01  |  Section 02


Trent E. Maxey (Section 01)
Dwaipayan Sen (Section 02)


Intellectuals in post-Enlightenment Europe have frequently drawn on images of Asia and Asians to illustrate what it means to be modern, enlightened, historically progressive, and universal.  These images of Asia in European thought have been surprisingly consistent and durable. Through close readings of key figures in the intellectual tradition of modern Europe, including Georg W. H. Hegel (1770-1831), Karl Marx (1818-1883), and Max Weber (1864-1920), this seminar asks why this might have been the case. We will explore the epistemological and ideological function of the division between universals and particulars by placing the philosophical projects of these thinkers in historical context. We will conclude the semester by examining more recent examples of intellectuals struggling against universal definitions of modernity, in particular, the project of “provincializing Europe”. The seminar will focus on the related skills of close reading, engaged discussion, and critical writing. You will write guided response papers to the readings, participate in writing workshops, conduct peer review exercises, and give oral presentations. Fall semester. Professors Maxey and Sen.

If Overenrolled: Dean handles this


2015-16: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2014