Seton Hall University Honors Program

HONS 2104 AA

Colloquium on 

Contemporary Civilizations

Spring 2001

February 27, 2001 version

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Expectations and Assignments Course schedule Art Gallery  Reading List Class Discussions


Dr. Petra t.D. Chu:

Dr. Judith C. Stark:

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Course Schedule


Romanticism 1815-1848

Introduction to the course; discussion of the "modern world" and its principal features.  Discussion of assignments.

Europe after 1815


Romanticism 1815-1848

The Romantics and Nature

Enlightenment to Romanticism: the limits of reason; questions about God and religious faith; epistemological revolutions: empiricism, rationalism, and Kant's "Copernican Revolution."

Discussion: William Cullen  Bryant, Thanatopsis; Wordsworth, two poems; Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species.

Background readings:

  • Societies and Cultures in World History (SC), ch. 25
  • The Heritage of World Civilizations (HWC), ch. 24, 25


Romanticism 1815-1848

Romanticism and the preoccupation with history

Discussion: Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Utilitarianism, liberalism and individual freedom

Reading: J.S. Mill, On Liberty

Background readings:

  • SC, chapter 25
  • HWC, chapter 26


Romanticism 1815-1848

Science, progress and the Industrial Revolution

The textile industry and the beginnings of mass production


Revolution of 1848

Developments in capitalism

Reading: Thomas Malthus, Essay on Population, writings from the Abolitionist movement

See also the Malthus website.

On Abolitionism:


The Revolution of 1848

Background reading:

  • SC, chapter 25
  • HWC, chapter 26


Revolution of 1848

Rise of the media and popular culture

Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto

Click here for study questions on the Communist Manifesto

Discussion: The Communist Manifesto


1848-1870: Progress and Discontent

Literary responses to industrialization

Discussion: Rebecca Harding Davis, Life in the Iron Mills

Artistic responses to industrialization

Discussion: The Letters of Gustave Courbet, selections

Background reading:

  • SC, chapter 26
  • HWC, chapters 27-29



1848-1870: Progress and Discontent

The place of women in the nineteenth century

Discussion: Seneca Falls Declaration of Sentiments and Revolution; John Stuart Mill, The Subjections of Women


1870-1900: Opulence and Decadence

The lure of/discontent with ruban life: Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Symbolism

Discussion: Emile Zola, The Ladies' Paradise, selection; Gaugin, Noa Noa, selection

Background reading:

  • SC, chapter 26
  • HWC, chapters 27-29


1870-1900: Opulence and Decadence

Philsophy's critique of culture; decadence and democracy; transvaluation of values

Discussion: Dostoyevsky, The Grand Inquisitor


1870-1900: Imperialism and Colonization

Imperialism: the Reach of the European Powers

Imperialism and the world fairs


  • SC, chapters 27 and 28
  • WWC, chapters 31, 32


1870-1900: Imperialism and Colonization

Imperialism and the colonization of Africa

Discussion: Conrad, The Heart of Darkness


The collapse of tradition

Midterm Exam

1900-1914: Art, Music, Literature:  the collapse of


  • SC, chapters 27-28
  • MW, ch. XV
2/27 The collapse of tradition

The medical model of mental life and mental disorders

Discussion: Freud, Lectures on Psychoanalysis

3/1 World War I and the 1920s

World War I (guest lecture)

Discussion of T. Findley, The Wars


  • SC, ch. 29
  • HWC, ch. 34
3/6 World War I and the 1920s


Discussion of poetry of Kurt Schwitters, e.e. cummings, and T.S. Eliot


The Inter-War period: 1920s and 1930s

Responses to World War I: Changing roles of women

Discussion: T.S. Eliot, selections from Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own


Discussion: André Breton, Surrealist Manifesto and poetry

Viewing of selection of  "Un chien andalou" (Dali and Buñuel)


  • SC, chapter 30

  • HWC, chapter 35

3/13 3/15

Spring Break - No classes


The Inter-War period: 1920s and 1930s

The Great Depression

American painting between the wars


World War II and aftermath

Totalitarianism, State Terror and the Holocaust

Viewing of "degenerate Art"

Discussion: Selections from Hitler, Mein Kampf; Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem


  • SC, chapter 32
  • HWC, chapter 36


World War II and aftermath

Cultural Responses to WWII: Abstract Expressionism


Russia and the Cold War

The bi-polar world and the arms race

Discussion of Kafka, The Trial


  • SC, chapter 34
  • HWC, chapter 37


Russia and the Cold War

The Russian Avant-garde and social realism

Discussion: A. Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago; Anna Akhmatova, Requiem, selections


The 1960s and 70s

Cultural Revolution in China

Discussion: Selected readings from Chairman Mao; Anchee Min, Red Azalea


  • SC, chapters 31-33
  • HWC, chapter 38


The 1960s and 70s

The Environmental Movement

Discussion: Rachel Carson, Silent Spring


Holy Thursday - University Closed


The 1960s and 70s

Cultural upheavals in the sixties; the role of the media

Pop Art


  • SC, chapter 34
  • HWC, chapter 37


The 1960s and 70s

The Women's Movement

Discussion: Selections by Brownmiller, Lorde, Morales, and Lerner

Feminism in the arts


The new world order and globalization

Discussion: "Vaclav Havel, the End of the Modern Era"


  • SC, chapters 34-35
  • HWC, chapters 38, 39


The new world order and globalization


Final Examination 12:45 pm



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Reading List:

Required Texts

Arendt, Hannah. Eichmann in Jerusalem. Viking/Penguin.

Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. Dover.

Davis, Rebecca Harding. Life in the Iron Mills. Feminist Press.

Dostoevsky, F. The Grand Inquisitor. Hackett.

Findley, Timothy. The Wars. Penguin/Canada.

Freud, Sigmund. Five Lectures on Psychoanalysis. Norton.

Kafka, Franz. The Trial. Norton.

Marx, Karl. The Communist Manifesto. Bantam Classics.

Min, Achee. Red Azalea. Mass Marketing Reprint.

Woolf, Virginia. A Room of One’s Own. Harcourt Brace.


On Reserve in the Library

Two standard history texts are on reserve for your use. You are required to read the chapters that are correlated to the material each week.

Kishlansky, M. et al. Societies and Cultures in World History. Vol 2, Harper Collins (abbreviated in the syllabus as SC).

Craig, Albert et al. Heritage of World Civilizations. Vol. 2, Prentice Hall, 1999 (abbreviated in the syllabus as HWC).


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Expectations and Assignments

Class Attendance

Regular and punctual attendance is required. Since one class period is equivalent to a week’s work in a three-credit course, absence from class is tolerated only for the most serious reasons. If an absence from class is unavoidable, please notify Dr. Stark as soon as possible. Also, please plan ahead for attendance at any scheduled extra-curricular events and trips. Your presence on these occasions is expected and essential.


Academic Integrity

Any instance of cheating, plagiarism, or otherwise representing the words or work of others as your own is a violation of honesty and academic integrity and will render the student liable to serious penalties.


Term Paper Assignment

You may choose any topic (event, person, texts, ideas, art works, themes, questions, social movements) related to the course. You must discuss your topic and receive approval for it from Dr. Chu or Dr. Stark. Length 12-15 pages.

Dates for assignments:

Feb. 15: submission of topic and preliminary bibliography

March 8: outline

March 29: draft (at least one major section of your paper)

April 19: final paper due


New York Times Book Review

Every Tuesday morning we will spend the first 15 minutes reviewing 2 book reviews relating to some aspect of the course. Students will do this in pairs.


Grading Procedures

Dr. Petra Chu (Art and Music) and Dr. Judith Stark (Philosophy) are the lead professors for the course. Professors from other departments will also lecture during the semester. Dr. Chu and Dr. Stark will assign your final grade based on the following:


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Class Discussions

Discussion Leader:  Before leading the discussion in class, you should email 5 or 6 discussion questions to your fellow students. For the Tues. discussion, post your questions by Sunday night and for Thurs., please post them by Tues. night.

Texts for class discussion                                         Discussion Leaders

Romantic poetry (2 volunteers)

Darwin, Origin of Species

J.S. Mill, On Liberty

Malthus, Essay on Population

Readings from the Abolitionist movement

Marx, The Communist Manifesto

Davis, R.H. Life in the Iron Mills

Declaration of Sentiments

J.S. Mill, The Subjection of Women

Dostoevsky, The Grand Inquisitor

Conrad, J. The Heart of Darkness (2)

Achebe, Chinua, essays

Freud, Five Lectures on Psychoanalysis

Findley, T. The Wars

Poetry: K. Schwitters, ee cummings, T.S. Eliot

Woolf, V. A Room of One’s Own

Hitler, Mein Kampf (2)

Arendt, H. Eichmann in Jerusalem

Kafka, F. The Trial (2)

Solzhenitsyn, A. The Gulag Archipelago

Akhamatova, Anna. Requiem

Min, Anchee. Red Azalea

Carson, Rachel. The Silent Spring

Women’s Movement of 1960 and ‘70s


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Art Gallery

may_3rd_sm.jpg (2183 bytes) Francisco Goya: The Execution of the Rebels, or The Shootings of May 3, 1808  (Scan by Mark Harden)
chalk_cliffs_sm.jpg (3012 bytes) Caspar David Friedrich, Chalk Cliffs on Rugen (Scan by Mark Harden)
tetschen_altar_sm.jpg (2920 bytes) Caspar David Friedrich, Tetschen Altar, or Cross in the Mountains (Scan by Mark Harden)
cole_savage_sm.jpg (1769 bytes) Thomas Cole, The Course of Empire: The Savage State (Scan by Mark Harden)
tcconsu_sm.jpg (1957 bytes) Thomas Cole, The Course of Empire: The Consummation of Empire
tcmanhoo_sm.gif (5981 bytes) Thomas Cole, The Course of Empire: Destruction
cole_desolation_sm.jpg (1553 bytes) Thomas Cole, The Course of Empire: Desolation (Scan by Mark Harden)
cole_childhood_sm.jpg (1590 bytes) Thomas Cole, The Voyage of Life: Childhood (Scan by Mark Harden)
cole_youth_sm.jpg (1905 bytes) Thomas Cole, The Voyage of Life: Youth (Scan by Mark Harden)
cole_old_age_sm.jpg (1397 bytes) Thomas Cole, The Voyage of Life: Old Age (Scan by Mark Harden)
sardanpl_sm.jpg (2450 bytes) Eugène Delacroix, The Death of Sardanapalus (Scan by Mark Harden)
Courbet8_sm.jpg (2078 bytes) Gustave Courbet, The Stonebreakers
milletgleaners_sm.jpg (1948 bytes) Jean François Millet, Gleaners
laundrss_sm.jpg (2808 bytes) Honoré Daumier, Laundress on the Quai d'Anjou (Scan by Mark Harden)
tuileries_sm.jpg (2164 bytes) Edouard Manet, Music in the Tuileries (Scan by Mark Harden)
manet_dejeuner_sur_lherbe_sm.jpg (2239 bytes) Edouard Manet, Déjeuner sur l'herbe (Scan by Mark Harden)
stlazare_sm.jpg (2105 bytes) Claude Monet, Saint Lazare Station (Scan by Mark Harden)
night_cafe_sm.jpg (2328 bytes) Vincent van Gogh, The Night Café (Scan by Mark Harden)
starry_night_sm.jpg (2538 bytes) Vincent van Gogh, Starry Night (Scan by Mark Harden)
market_sm.jpg (2412 bytes) Paul Gauguin, Market Day (Scan by Mark Harden)
surplage_sm.jpg (2147 bytes) Paul Gauguin, Tahitian Women, or On the Beach (Scan by Mark Harden)
jatte_sm.jpg (2026 bytes) Georges Seurat, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (Scan by Mark Harden)


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Image at top of page: Eugene Delacroix, Liberty Leading the People.  New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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