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This course will introduce students to late seventeenth and eighteenth-century European thought through analysis and discussion of several major literary, philosophical, and artistic works of the period, notably Vico's New Science, Behn's Oroonoko, Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, Graffigny’s Letters from a Peruvian Woman, Voltaire's Candide, Rousseau's Discourse on the Origin of Inequality as well as excerpts from works by Locke, Kant, Diderot, Herder and others. Our focus will be eighteenth-century representations of non-European cultures. Among the topics we will consider are: Enlightenment universalism and its critics, philosophical travelers, the nature of exoticism, the myth of the "Noble Savage," and the relation of literary/artistic creation to political, economic, and historical contexts.
The philosophical and literary texts studied are crucial to our understanding of Modernity and have influenced European and American thought in the disciplines of Literary Studies, Philosophy, Anthropology, Science, Linguistics, and Political Science. Through close reading of original texts and critical writings from the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries, students will gain awareness of how difference was constructed during the Enlightenment.
Course approved by department on July 23, 2008
Area of Knowledge and Inquiry: Culture and Values (CV) Context of Experience: European Traditions (ET) Extended Requirement: Pre-Industrial Society (PI)
Credits: 3 Prerequisites: English 110, two semesters of instruction in one foreign language (or permission of the department). Existing Course: New Existing Course Number: Course Anticipated to be offered: Other Other (if specified): every two years Number of Sections: 1 Number of Seats: 25
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