This exciting course is based on the close reading of classic texts in modern European culture. These texts include Hume’s Natural History of Religion, Marx/Engels’, The Communist Manifesto, Mill’s Autobiography, Rousseau’s The Social Contract, Sartre’s Nausea, Voltaire’s Candide or Optimism, and Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own. The course commences with a detailed study of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment and its impact on the French Revolution. It concludes with a survey of European socialism, feminism, fascism, existentialism, and critical theory. The objective of the course is to acquaint students with Modern European intellectual revolutions, political ideologies, and aesthetic currents.
Dr. Ralph Leck is a specialist in modern European intellectual, cultural, and gender history. In addition to a Ph.D. and M.A. in History, he earned a certificate in critical theory from the Critical Theory Institute at the University of California, Irvine, where he studied with Jean-François Lyotard and attended the lectures of Jacques Derrida. Dr. Leck is the former director of Peace and Justice Studies at Marian University. His publications include Georg Simmel and Avant-Garde Sociology: The Birth of Modernity, 1880-1920 (available on Amazon.com/books) and “Anti-Essentialist Feminism Versus Misogynist Sexology in Fin de Siècle Vienna,” Modern Intellectual History (2012). His book—Vita Sexualis: The History & Theory of European Sexual Science, 1860-1900—is forthcoming from Berghahn Books in 2013.