Life as an Extreme Sport

add another class

I decided I didn’t have enough on my plate for fall quarter, so I signed up for another class:

European Intellectual History: Nineteenth Century

Selected topics in intellectual history up to 1890. The philosophical consequences of the French Revolution, the development of idealism, conservatism, romanticism, and early socialist theory; positivism, the problems of historicism, new forms of Christian apologetics, utilitarianism in decline, liberalism as philosophy, the early Marx.

Class Description

The Course will examine the historical fate of the three major frameworks of thought (Scientism, Romanticism and Dialectical Theory) whose development and interaction shaped intellectual production in nineteenth century Europe. Of central concern will be the relation between secular historical consciousness and the desire to establish secure foundations for ethical values and cultural meaning. We will attempt to construct a viable historical genealogy for the course’s conclusion- Nietzsche’s proclamation of the “Death of God” and the “Death of Man”–extending back to the period of the French Revolution.


Recommended preparation

A course in modern European History, like HST 113 or HSTEU 303, or an introductory course in Western Intellectual history, like HST 207.

Class Assignments and Grading

Weekly response papers to the assigned Reading, collected at the mid-term and at end of course, an 8-10 page term paper, and participation in a small, unsupervised student discussion circle.

Required Reading

Texts by Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, G.W.F. Hegel, Karl Marx, Rene Chateaubriand, Gustave Flaubert and Friedrich Nietzsche, as well as a number of shorter selections from other writers.

So that puts me at 18 credits, teaching 5 of them, and 5 of them research/thesis. And then there’s the working thing, and the arm thing, and… wheee!

Before you think I’m too crazy, chances are very good I will take the class S/NS – I just need to talk to John* about it first. But the class sounds fabu, I pay for 18 credits whether I take 13 or 18, and it’s a chance to learn more in an academic setting than I would otherwise. Why not take advantage of those extra five credits and DO something with them?

* John is the chair of the department, and will also be the professor for the class I will help teach. I’ve decided to stalk him this quarter, since Phillip was busy doing classes I’ve already taken. Which doesn’t mean I’m not stalking Phillip, I’m just going to stalk in new and interesting ways, and expand while doing so. But yes, stalking John, and figured I should talk to him about why I want to do S/NS and see what he says and go from there. Since John is, hopefully, writing a letter of recommendation (LOR) for me, I want to stay on his good side.