Monday, January 29, 2007

The Long Nineteenth Century

Back to teaching: my current course is "The Long Nineteenth Century," essentially an intermediate historiography course for undergraduates. How long was the Long Nineteenth Century? How sexy is a course about the age of prudery? I hope to convince that this era of European history is the perfect vehicle for studying the paradigms and tropes of modernization that can be applied to other places and other eras.

So, to the syllabus. As you can tell, there are four broad themes that we will explore: revolution, social structure, nationalism, anxiety. What I hope to get across is the duality of the spirit of the age: change and progress that turns on itself.

I think I've picked out some interesting readings. After Andrew's recommendation, I've assigned Ernest Gellner's Nations and Nationalism, which works as both an outline of modernization as well as a strawman. We also colluded on the decision to assign Gide's The Immoralist. Michael Gross' The War against Catholicism is my favorite recent work in German history, and I am anxious to share it with students. There are a few chestnuts: how could I teach such a class and not assign something from Peasants into Frenchmen?

Finally, I'll experiment with having students contribute to a blog. It will be for members only, although I am sure there are people out there who'll wonder how well it's going.

This course explores the “Long Nineteenth Century,” an era that began with the French Revolution, ended effectively with World War One, and defined the paradigm of modernity. Rather than offering a straight account of what happened, the course will approach important historical themes that will help students develop their own interests. We will explore the meaning and impact of revolution, the evolution of social structures, conditions and attitudes of women, the nation as a political concept, and the cultural shift from faith in reason and progress to subjectivity and irrationality.

The following are available for you to purchase at Odyssey Books at the Village Commons.
TCW Blanning, ed., The Nineteenth Century: Europe, 1789-1914
Michael Gross, TheWar against Catholicism
Søren Kierkegård, Fear and Trembling
André Gide, The Immoralist
Ernest Gellner, Nations and Nationalism

Other readings include selections of primary sources, articles and chapters from books. Many of them are available online, either at internet sites or available on JSTOR. All other readings will be made available at the library on short-term reserve, although I will endeavor, when possible, to put them online for you. Each student will come to class prepared, having read everything for that day and with two written questions based on the reading. (Note: readings are set only to February 19. Changes should be anticipated.)

January 29 First day: introduce course, readings, assignments; themes of nineteenth century history; students’ input on tailoring syllabus.

Age of Revolution

January 31 States and Estates
Reading Blanning, p. 1-9
Gellner, p. 8-18

February 5 Enlightenment and the Public Sphere
Reading: Kant, “What is Enlightenment” (online)

February 7 Coming of the French Revolution
Abbé Sieyès, “What is the Third Estate” (online)

February 12 Citizens
Reading: Dorinda Outram, “The Guillotine, the Soul, and the Audience for Death” in The Body and the French Revolution, p. 106-123
Gouges, “Declaration of the Rights of Women” (online)

February 14 World of Revolution
Blanning, 9-33, 158-165
Schurz, “Looking Back at 1848" (online)

February 19 Industrial Revolution
Reading: Blanning, 89-97
Gellner, 19-38
E.P. Thompson, “Time, Work-Discipline and Industrial Capitalism” (JSTOR)

February 21 Romanticism
Readings: ETA Hoffmann, “The Sandman” (online)

February 26 Kierkegaard
Reading: Søren Kierkegård, Fear and Trembling

Modern Society

February 28 Bourgeoisie
Readings: Blanning 47-61

March 5 Private Life
Readings: Marion Kaplan, Making of the Jewish Middle Class (selection TBA)

March 7 Liberalism
Mill, “The Subjection of Women” (selection TBA)
Jurgen Kocka, “The Middle Classes of Europe” (JSTOR)

March 12 Secularism
Reading: Michael Gross, The War against Catholicism
Blanning, 130-140

March 14 Renewed Spirituality and Crisis of Identity
Reading: Michael Gross, The War against Catholicism

March 26 Conservatism
Readings: Blanning, 70-77
Pius X, Syllabus of Errors (online)
Metternich, Political Confessions of Faith (online)

March 28 Workers and Social Politics
Readings: Blanning, p. 61-70, 85-89
Flora Tristan, “The Workers’ Union” (online)
Friedrich Engels, “Principles of Communism” (online)
Leo XIII, “Rights and Duties of Capital and Labor” (online)

April 2 Urbanization
Readings: Carl Schorske, Fin-de-Siècle Vienna (selection TBA)
René Schickele, “City Folk”

Age of Nationalism

April 4 Nationalism
Reading: Mazzini, “On Nationality” (online)
Blanning, 33-46, 104-118, 140-146
Gellner, 38-62

April 9 Nationalization
Readings: Eugen Weber, Peasants into Frenchmen (selection TBA)
Gellner 63-88

April 11 Mass Culture
Readings: Michael Miller, The Bon Marché (selection TBA)
Gellner, 88-109

April 16 Imperialism
Readings: Gewald, Herero Heroes (selection TBA)
Rudyard Kipling, “White Man’s Burden” (online)
Blanning, 188-200, 224-32

Age of Aggression

April 18 Avant Garde
Readings: Arthur Rimbaud, A Season in Hell (selection TBA)
Marinetti, “The Futurist Manifesto” (online)
Lenin, “Organization of Workers and Organization of Revolutionaries”, from What is to be done? (online)
Blanning, 152-7

April 23 Misogyny
Reading: Bram Dykstra, Idols of Perversity (selection TBA)

April 25 Sexuality
Reading: André Gide, The Immoralist

April 30 TBA

May 2 Persistence of the Old Regime
Blanning, 200-209, 233-240
Kafka, “Before the Law”
Gellner, 110-136

May 7 End
Blanning, 241-247
Gellner 137-43

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Random Notes

Cliopatria Awards: Rebecca Goetz, Brandon Watson and I served as judges for this year's Cliopatria Awards, honoring the best in history blogging from 2006. We were proud to honor Chris Bray for Best Series and Alan Baumler for Best Writer. Go check out all the winners.

Hillbilly Klezmer: I've divested myself of my old musical identity as a guitarist who played the "scene." Now, I am happily an amateur mandolinist! Fiddle tunes, reels, jigs ... they're all my current bag. Of course, I like the idea of an instrument that can range into other repertoires. Thanks to Joel at Far Outliers, I found this post on the Appalachian roots of the Klezmer revival. Before picking up the instrument, Adam Statman, along with Klezmer Conservatory Band's Jeff Warshauer, were among my favorite mandolinists.

Concerning another oddball instrument, the Hartford Courant profiles the ukulele.

Viennoise: Die Fackel is now online! Published by journalist/satarist Karl Kraus, the periodical is an essential source for Austrian cultural and social history.

Sighted: Topical Portrait Prints 1660-1714 (yep, she's back).

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Buyer Beware?

Annual tuition at Occidental, a private college, is $32,800. That means if you take "The Phallus" and "Blackness" (plus its prerequisite "Whiteness") this year on a four-course-per-semester schedule, you will have set your parents back $12,300.
Set your parents back? Could someone say the same thing for theology?

Trendy courses proliferate, certainly at small, private universities (including mine). Something, though, has been lost in listing "America's Most Bizarre and Politically Correct College Courses." The author of these studies assumes that professors make up these course, that they are a huge waste of time, and contribute nothing to the students' formation. But seeing trends in history, traditional courses (say "France, 1815 to 1945") have been disappearing because of dropping attendance, not faculty choices. On the other hand, professors struggle to come up with appealing courses with zippy titles that attract students. It's worth asking whether the faculty or the student body drives these trends. I would tend to think it's a buyer's market: students get courses that suit their interests more often than professors provide courses they think students need.

At its roots, however, this list is an attempt to devalue cultural studies. There appears to be no attempt to evaluate how the courses further students' knowledge of a discipline or perfect their skills therein.

Monday, January 08, 2007

You too, Moik?

I just died a little.