Document 11139460

Please note that this syllabus should be regarded as only a general guide to the course. The instructor may have changed
specific course content and requirements subsequent to posting this syllabus. Last Modified: 08:11:13 12/09/2014
The Twentieth Century and the Tradition II (HONR3302 01&02)
Spring 2015
Professor Constas, Stoke Hall S273, x 21046
Office hours: MW 9-10, 1:30-2:30, and by appointment
Course Description
The period since the Second World War has been one of significant changes in the
domains of intellectual, cultural, vocational and social life. Since the mid-point of the 20th
century there have been numerous disruptions and innovations in the ways people think,
create, work and cooperate. Liberation movements across the globe continually resist
authoritarianism and question authority. As a result, the personal search for meaning and
value increasingly takes place in a globalized, digitized, networked world of plurality and
difference. It is in this “deconstructed” world that each of us now constructs a life. The
purpose of this course is to examine the nature of “postmodern” life, and to consider how
some writers and artists formed by the Western cultural tradition have responded to the
questions of the present.
Course Requirements
* Class attendance and preparation, reflected in class participation. Two unexcused
absences will result in a lowering of your participation grade 1/3 point (e.g. from a B+ to
a B). Three or more unexcused absences will result in a lowering of your participation
grade one whole grade (from B to C) (25% of course grade).
*One (maybe two) short (5-7 minute) seminar presentations (details TBD).
*One semiotic analysis (“mythology”).
* Two 5-7 page essays. The essays must reflect a close reading of a text (or texts) we
have read and must move beyond the content of class discussion. Explicit and numerous
references to the text in question are expected. Please consult the course’s Essay
Guidelines for proper format and suggested approaches (25% of course grade).
*One in-class exam on April 8 (25% of course grade)
*A final exam, nature TBD (25% of course grade).
Books to Purchase
Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart (Anchor) ISBN 978-038547454-2
Julian Barnes, A History of the World in 10.5 Chapters (Random) ISBN 978-0679731375
Roland Barthes, Mythologies (VHPS) ISBN 978-0809071944
JM Coetzee, Disgrace (Penguin) ISBN 978-0143115281
Don DeLillo, White Noise (Penguin) ISBN 978-0143105985
Cormac McCarthy, The Road (Vintage) ISBN 978-0307387899
Josef Pieper, Leisure, The Basis of Culture (978-1586172565)
Other assigned readings (*)
Judith Butler, “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution”
Michel Foucault, “What is Enlightenment?”
Martin Heidegger, “Letter on Humanism”
Immanuel Kant, “What is Enlightenment?”
Daniel Maguire, “When History Turned a Corner” (from Christianity Without God)
Elaine Pagels, “Gospels in Conflict: John and Thomas” (from Beyond Belief)
Katha Pollit, “The Smurfette Principle”
Marilynne Robinson, “Darwinism” (from The Death of Adam)