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. We will 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's TheComplete Stories, Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem, and Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish. Students are required to purchase a copy of Strunk and White, The Elements of Style.
This course emphasizes the development of several skills, including close reading, interpretation, and expository writing. Students are required to pose and post critical questions concerning the readings posted to the course blog on the night prior to each meeting. Each week students will write a brief essay commenting on a passage in the week’s reading. These essays are evaluated for grammar, style, logical coherence, and clarity.