Fall 2023

Vienna Around 1900: Cradle of Modernity

Listed in: First Year Seminar, as FYSE-123


Christian Rogowski (Section 01)


This course explores the “joyful apocalypse” of fin-de-siècle Vienna, where brilliant artistic creativity emerged in a volatile multi-ethnic Empire teetering on the verge of collapse. We shall examine how and why the city became the birthplace of many ideas on gender, sexuality, class, and ethnicity that continue to be relevant today. We shall explore artistic experimentation in literature (Schnitzler, Hofmannsthal, Musil, Kraus), music (Mahler, Schönberg), and the visual arts (Klimt, Schiele, Kokoschka, O. Wagner, A. Loos). We shall trace the various forces that sought to respond to a pervasive sense of crisis: the emergence of new, often irrational, forms of mass politics; the psychoanalysis of Freud; the skeptical philosophies of Ernst Mach and Ludwig Wittgenstein; the pacifism of Bertha von Suttner; and the emergence of modern Zionism (Theodor Herzl) in a context of a growing anti-Semitism that shaped Hitler’s irrational worldview. And we shall discuss how fin-de-siècle Vienna became a breeding ground for many of the social, cultural, and political forces that characterize modernity to this day. Weekly writing assignments of diverse kinds will be complemented by a focus on methods and techniques of inquiry.

Fall semester. Professor Rogowski.

How to handle overenrollment: First-year Dean will handle

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Regular brief writing assignments in response to readings; participation in classroom discussions; oral presentations.

FYSE 123 - LEC

Section 01
Tu 11:30 AM - 12:50 PM CONV 209
Th 11:30 AM - 12:50 PM CONV 209

ISBN Title Publisher Author(s) Comment Book Store Price
Fin de Siecle Vienna Vintage Books Carl E. Schorske Amherst Books TBD
Plays and Stories Continuum Arthur Schnitzler Amherst Books TBD

These books are available locally at Amherst Books.


Other years: Offered in Fall 2022, Fall 2023