Art and the Impact of Secularism on Eighteenth-Century Society

by Alden R. Gordon, Gwendolyn Miles Smith Professor of Art History and Chair of the Fine Arts Department, Trinity College

This course idea is based upon a desire to create a philosophical and historical framework that permits the understanding of the dramatic changes in the settings of daily living, the fine arts and architecture that is based in the Enlightenment’s empowerment of the individual. These philosophical ideas along with the associated new respect for empiricism, science and nature (human, organic and inanimate) found expression in a dramatic new emphasis on secular subject matter in art and in new departures in the planning of domestic space in architecture. As the century progressed and Enlightenment individualism made an impact on political philosophy and government, architecture responded with forms and historical quotations of style that expressed republican and democratic values.
The course, to be entitled Art and the Impact of Secularism on Eighteenth-Century Society, will explain how absolutist monarchs like Louis XIV and his successors authorized the creations of academies which sponsored the growth of the new ideas and promoted the professionalization of artistic and intellectual pursuits even though those ideas eventually undermined the authoritarian basis of absolute divine-right monarchy. Ranging from the style and subject matter of painting to the appropriate forms of decorative furnishings for intimate spaces in private residences, the course will contextualize the way secular genre subjects of everyday life were powerfully expressive of the shift in values from hierarchichal institutions of religion and state to the subversive realm of private emotion and the desire for individual happiness and fulfillment.
The course will make use of philosophical, scientific and literary readings along with first-person accounts and travel literature to amplify the issues in the realm of ideas which were also expressed visually and materially in the arts. Eventually, it is my goal to write an art history text book to accompany this course.
Syllabus for a Proposed Course
This is a survey course which aims to give a picture of the entire spectrum of architecture and of the fine and decorative arts in a full European cultural context. Students will learn about individual artists and architects in readings which will be done in parallel to the course lectures which will concentrate on overarching patterns of stylistic evolution and changes in usage brought about by shifts in social and economic conditions. All students will do an independent research project and term paper based on a single work of art that they can study at first hand or on a central text of the period.  Students who are able to read in a foreign language (French, Italian, German, Spanish or a Scandinavian or Central or Eastern-European language) may earn an extra half-credit by doing an additional body of reading in the foreign language as part of the Languages Across the Curriculum program.
Course requirements: There will be two exams and one research term paper project
which will require students to visit a major museum collection or rare book library on
their own. There will also be one required group museum trip. Students will be graded
upon the tests, term paper project, attendance at class meetings and museum trips, and
on active and informed participation in class discussions. Students will be assigned to
lead discussions in class on readings.
Texts: There is no single adequate text book for the broad sweep of European arts of the
eighteenth century. The books which do exist are divided by nationality and by medium.
Therefore, I am obliged to use several different books in which students will be assigned
readings. All of these will be on Reserve in the Trinity College Library. Shorter
essays will be available in a course reading packet (indicated in the syllabus by an asterisk *) which will be sold at cost in the Department of Fine Arts office. Students who
wish to own the books may purchase them either at the Trinity College Bookstore or via
one of the on-line commercial book dealers. Any edition is acceptible, though I provide
below the essential information for the latest editions including ISBN numbers for such
  • Wend von Kalnein, Architecture in France in the Eighteenth Century, New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1972, reissued 1995 (about $85) (0-300-06013-0)
  • Michael Levey, Painting and Sculpture in France 1700-1789, New Haven, Yale Univ. Press, (paperback, Amazon new $35, used $17.95);  (0-3-0006494-2)
  • John Summerson, Architecture in Britain 1530-1830, New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1993 (0-300-05886-1)
  • Ellis Waterhouse, Painting in Britain: 1530-1790, New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1953, 1994 (0-3-0005833-0)
  • Michael Levey, Painting in Eighteenth-Century Venice, 1959. (0-3-0006057-2)
  • Paul Hyland ed., The Enlightenment: A Sourcebook and Reader, New York, Routledge, 2003 [ISBN 0-415-20449-6 pap.]
For students without sufficient prior study of European history, it is recommended that you buy a standard history, such as Jeremy Black, Eighteenth-Century Europe in the History of Europe series in paperback, New York, St. Martin’s Press, 2nd edition, 1999.
PART I: From Grandeur to Intimacy. Circa 1680 to circa 1745. FRANCE
  • Introduction and Overview. Historical perspective. Readings from John Locke, “An Essay Concerning Human Understanding,” (1690) from Paul Hyland ed., The Enlightenment: A Sourcebook and Reader, New York, Routledge, 2003 [ISBN 0-415-20449-6 pap.]
  • The Pre-eminence of France and the reordering of artistic leadership in the Late Reign of Louis XIV. The importance of the French arts institutions and their educational model.
  • Palaces, Gardens and Interiors and the Expression of  Power and Social Order. Reading: * Joan DeJean, “Introduction, Living Luxe” and “Fashion Queens” from The Essense of Style: How the French Invented High Fashion …, New York, Free Press, 2005. (Coursepack) and Reserve: Skim picture books on Open Reserve on Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte; Palais de Versailles; French Gardens;
  • France as a Model for Europe. Reading: Wend von Kalnein, Architecture in France in the Eighteenth Century, New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1972, (text and also on reserve). Introduction and Part I, Chapter 4.
  • “Domestic Architecture in and outside Paris.” and Michael Levey, Painting and Sculpture in France 1700-1789, New Haven and London, Yale Univ. Press, 1993, Chapter 2, Sculpture: Coustou to Slodtz.
  • The Importance of Paris. Urbanism, Residences for the newly wealthy and changes in manners. Reading: * Rochelle Ziskin, The Place Vendôme: Architecture and Social Mobility in Eighteenth-Century Paris, Cambridge University Press, 1999. Chapters 2, “Social Representation and Gendered Realms” pp 34-64 & Chapter 5, “Not at all Monsieur Jourdain,” pp 114-127. (Coursepack) (Book is On Reserve for consultation of illustrations, TC Library: NA 9072 . P37 P589 1999)
PART II: Art And The Expression Of The Subjective. 1715-1760
  • Interior Architecture, Painting, Sculpture and Stucco. The Great Itinerant Artists. Reading: Kalnein, Architecture in France in the Eighteenth Century, Part Two, Chapter 5 and 7: * Katie Scott, The Rococo Interior, New Haven, Yale Univ Press, 1995, Ch 7, “Earthly Paradise on the L
    eft Bank,” pp 147-176 (Coursepack).
  • Country Life and Gardens and Sculpture. Reading: LIBRARY RESERVE: Mark Girouard, Life in the French Country House, Chapters 5 (The Curious History of the Salon) and 6 (In and around the Boudoir).
  • The Decorative Arts: Tapestry, Silver, Porcelain, Furniture, Small Sculpture, Musical and Scientific Instruments.  This topic will be continued from class into the museum visits. Reading: * Carolyn Sergentson, Merchants and Luxury Markets: The Marchands Merciers of Eighteenth-Century Paris, London, Victoria and Albert Museum, 1996, Chapter 4, “Importation and Imitation,” pp. 62-96. (Coursepack). LIBRARY OPEN RESERVE: Consult pictures in books on French furniture, porcelain and tapesty.
  • The Eclipse of Dutch Art and the Rise of French Painting and Sculpture. The Literary and Philosophical sources of the Enlightenment. The emergence of new or newly respectable genres in art and contrast to Academic hierarchies. French Painting and Engraving. READING:.Michael Levey, Painting and Sculpture in France 1700-1789, New Haven, …, Chapter 1 & 4 (Painting up to the Death of Boucher, 1770, sections on Boucher, Chardin, Greuze).

PART III: Italy, Austria, Germany.

  • Italy in the Eighteenth Century: Rome.. Reading:  *Christopher A. M. Johns, “The Entrepôt of Europe: Rome in the Eighteenth Century,” from E. Bowren and J. Rishel eds., Art in Rome in the Eighteenth Century, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2000, pp. 16-45 (Coursepack). & * John Pinto, “Architecture and Urbanism,” from E. Bowren and J. Rishel eds., Art in Rome in the Eighteenth Century, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2000, pp. 112-121. (Coursepack) [TC Quarto N 6920 .A7 2000]
  • Rome as the Destination of Travelers: Per Bjurström, “Physiocratic Ideals and National Galleries,” from Per Bjurström, The Genesis of the Art Museum in the 18th Century, Stockholm, Nationalmuseum, 1993, pp. 28-60. (Coursepack)
  • The Importance of Travel and First Hand Experience. II. Italian Painting, Sculpture & Decorative Arts by Artistic Centers: Naples, Venice, Turin, Genoa, Florence. Reading: Michael Levey, Venetian Painting, (On Reserve)
  • Austria and the German States. Readings TBA. Library Open Reserve: Books on Meissen Porcelain; Splendor of Dresden.
  • Architecture and Interior Decor in England and the British Embrace of Continentalism. Reading: John Summerson, Architecture in Britain 1530-1830, New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1993, Chapter 17 (English Baroque: Hawksmoor, Vanbrugh, Archer); Chapter 20 (The Palladian Phase 1710-50: The Palladian Movement: Campbell, Burlington and Kent) and Chapter 23 (The House and the Street in the Eighteenth Century).
  • English Painting. Hogarth and Gainsborough to Wright of Derby. Reading (On Reserve) Ellis Waterhouse, Painting in Britain: 1530-1790, New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1953, 1994, Chapter 11 (Hogarth), Chapter 18 (Thomas Gainsborough).

PART V: Sublime, the Picturesque, National Antiquariansim and Historicism.

  • Historicism in Architecture and Decorative Arts. Summerson, Chapter 24 (Building in Gothic: From Wren to Walpole); Chapter 25 (Neo-Classicism and the Picturesque 1750-1830: Neo-Classicism and Britons Abroad); Chapter 26 (William Chambers and Robert Adam).
  • The Sublime and the Picturesque in Landscape Painting, Garden Design and in Art. READING: * Longinus, 1st C. AD, W. Rhys Roberts trans. Longinus: On the Sublime, Cambridge University Press, 1907, pp. 42-59, Sections 1- 8, and Section 36, pp.135-136, On Sublimity and Human Nature; (Coursepack) The English Garden: Its Sources in Baroque Landscape Painting and Its Impact on Later Art and Architecture. Waterhouse, Chapter 17 (Richard Wilson 1713-1782); Chapter 21(Wright of Derby and the Painters of Romantic Literature)
  • Levey, Painting and Sculpture in France 1700-1789, Chapter 4 (Painting up to the Death of Boucher, 1770 section on landscape painter Vernet) & Chapter 6 (Painting up to the Salon of 1789, through section entitled Genre: Aubry and Boilly). The Psychological and Fantastic Dimension and the Transition to Romanticism: Fuseli, Stubbs, Goya
  • History Painting 1750-1789 in England and France: Reading: Waterhouse, Chapter 16 (Sir Joshua Reynolds); Chapter 19 (Foundation Members of the Royal Academy); Levey, Painting and Sculpture in France 1700-1789, Chapter 6 (Painting up to the Salon of 1789, Second part to end.) * Andrew McClellan, The Museum and Its Public in Eighteenth-Century France,” from Per Bjurström, The Genesis of the Art Museum in the 18th Century, Stockholm, Nationalmuseum, 1993, pp. 61-80 (Coursepack)
  • French Sculpture. Bouchardon, Caffiery & Falconet to Houdon. READING: Levey, Painting and Sculpture in France 1700-1789, Chapters 3 & 5.
  • French Architecture from Soufflot to Ledoux. Reading: Kalnein, Architecture in France, Part Three, Early Neoclassicism. Note that interior styles are dealt with in the sections on “Decoration.” Library Open Reserve: Books on Neoclassicism in Decorative Arts.

Worldly Islam: The Sacred, the Secular

by Raymond Baker, Professor of International Politics, Trinity College

This course addresses two challenges:

  1. The inadequacy of dominant interpretive frameworks for understanding the global changes brought by the Information Revolution and the new Network Economy and Society; and
  2. Western incomprehension of Islam in the Global Age, with particular emphasis on Islam as a worldly as well as spiritual force.

While these two crises are widely discussed, they are rarely, if ever, discussed in tandem. The course opens with a theoretical consideration, derived from complexity theory, of the changed character of our world in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the end of the Cold War, and the transformations of societies and economies around the world by the new information technologies and the global market they enable. At the same time, the course proposes new ways of understanding Islam in our time, based on critical rereading of the Islamic heritage. What resources does the Islamic historical and philosophical heritage offer to contemporary Muslims to develop effective ways of contending with our globalized world? How have Islamic thinkers and power holders responded to assertive Western secularism? Why, with material conditions almost everywhere in decline, is Islam thriving in the new conditions of globalism, despite the weakness of its material base in failed societies, while secularism as a compelling ideological force appears to weaken?

The discussion format for the course requires that readings be completed for each meeting. Please do not attend class meetings for which you are not prepared, without indicating at the beginning of class that you have not done the reading. (Please note that the readings for this course are heavy and difficult; drop the course now if you cannot put in the time required.)

Books for purchase:

  1. Mark Taylor, The Moment of Complexity;
  2. David Waines, An Introduction to Islam;
  3. Albert Hournai, Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age;
  4. John Esposito Unholy War;
  5. Raymond Baker, Islam Without Fear;
  6. Khalidi, Medieval Islamic Philosophical Writings;
  7. Williams, The Word of Islam;
  8. Stephen Zunes, Tinderbox;
  9. Albert Hourani, Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age;
  10. Mahatir Muhammad, Excerpts from Collected Works.
  11. In addition a packet of readings from Muahmmad Abduh, Ali Shariati, Yusuf al Qaradawy will be provided.


  • Taylor, The Moment of Complexity, Introduction, chaps 1 and 2
  • Taylor, The Moment of Complexity, chaps 3 and 4
  • Taylor, The Moment of Complexity, chaps 5, 6 & 7.
  • Waines, An Introduction to Islam, chaps 1-2
  • Waines, An Introduction to Islam, chaps 3-4
  • Waines, An Introduction to Islam, chaps 7-8



  • Williams, chap 1. “Word of God”, chap 2 “The News of God’s Messenger”
  • Williams, 3 “The Law of God”; 4. “Interior Religion: Sufism” 5. “The Statements of the Theologians”
  • Abduh, “Tawhid”


ISLAMIC THOUGHT philosophers, Islamic scholars, and Sufis.

  • Khalidi, Medieval, Introduction and al Farabi, X1 – 26


  • Khalidi, Medieval, Ibn Sina and al Ghazali, pp. 27 -98
  • Khalidi, Medieval, Ibn Tufayl, and Ibn Rushd, pp. 99- 180 (read Ibn Rushd first and carefully; skim Ibn Tufayl)



  • Hourani, Arabic Thought, preface, chap 1-6
  • Shariati, Religion vs Religion, entire.(handout)


  • Zunes,chaps 1-7.


The ISLAMIC SECULARISM of Mahatir Mohamad (Malaysian case study)


  • Esposito, chap 1-4


  • Baker, Islam Without Fear, Prologue, chap 1-6

Selected Research References for Course Development

  • Ibn Sina (Avicenna),


  • Avicenna on Theology, A. J. Arberry,
  • Risala fi’l ‘ashq (Treatise on Love) Translated by E. Fackenheim,



  • Books of the Ihya by Al-Ghazali
    • First Quarter: Acts of Worship
    • Second Quarter: Norms of Daily Life
    • Third Quarter: The Ways to Perdition
    • Fourth Quarter: The Ways to Salvation

All works in this collection are accessed through the main URL indicated above. The language of the work’s translation is noted for each link. The site is well organized by Quarters and books. All book titles within the Quarter are listed but there are several that are not available on this site. File formats are a mix of PDF, WORD and HTML. Files are quite large but can be easily downloaded. A link to the copyright information is provided at the bottom of the page.

Ibn Rushd (Averroes),


  • Tahfut at Tahafut (Incoherence of the Incoherence), Translated by Simon Van Den Bergh,
  • On the Harmony of Religion and Philosophy,
  • On the Harmony of Religion and Philosophy, new translation by G.F. Hourani,
  • Faith and Reason in Islam- Averroes’ Exposition of Religious Arguments, translated by Ibrahim Y. Najjar,

These works are all provided in English but are in an HTML format and therefore not in an easily downloadable form and best viewed at their source URL.

Secularism Definitions:

  • The Secular Society, A brief history of the origins of the Secular Society beginning with George Holyoake.
  • Garver Joel S., Professor of Philosophy, LaSalle University, Deconstructing the Secular, a Summary of John Milbank’s Theology and Social Theory,
  • Robert Green Ingersoll, Secularism, 1887, The Independent Pulpit, Waco, TX, An essay on the meaning of Secularism.
  • Einstein on Science and Religion, An essay by Einstein on the conflict between knowledge and belief.
  • The Secular Web, A website focused on an atheistic perspective of secularism.

The Dao of Secularism: Political Transformation and Secular Values in 20th Century Asia

by Michael Lestz, Associate Professor of History, Trinity College

I. Course Description:

In the 19th century, societies across the Asian map were governed by autocratic states that derived their legitimacy from religious or meta-religious worldviews and their accompanying ideologies. In China, the dynastic state based its legal and institutional framework on Song Neo-Confucianism; in Vietnam and Korea, Confucian monarchies, likewise, dominated the state. In Cambodia and Thailand, dynasties found legitimacy from the Hindu notion of the “god king” (devaraja). And in Japan, a hybrid mixture of Shinto and Confucianism provided a template for imperial and Shogunal rule.

These traditional schemes of legitimacy vanished in the twentieth century. Struggles against colonial rule, revolution, and complex post-colonial conflicts about the appropriate nature of the state yielded new states. Communism, development dictatorship, democracy, or military rule were the dominant political templates for the states that emerged in the ruins of the traditional order.

Within these states, secular values often motivated dramatic acts of personal sacrifice and passionate devotion to goals such as national unification, socio-economic transformation, and resistance to real and perceived forms of oppression. In addition, there was often an explicit renunciation of the traditional values as they were deployed in the political arena.

At the same time, however, the bedrock of the Confucian, Buddhist, or Shinto past continued to channel the “dao” or “way” of secular states.

Using memoirs, novels, documentary material, and historical monographs, this course will investigate the intellectual fabric of such powerful secular commitments in a number of Asian societies. The course will be formed around the lives of particular historical actors, revolutionaries, humanists, soldiers, and proponents of secular change, in China, Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia and perhaps other East and Southeast Asian societies.

This course will be a senior seminar and will be offered during the 2010-2011 academic year.

II. Bibliography (abbreviated/*starred titles to be ordered or duplicated for the course):

  1. Bao Ninh, The Sorrow of War, Penguin, 1996.
  2. David Chandler, Voices from S21, Terror and History in Pol Pot’s Secret Prison, University of California Press, 2000.
  3. Dang Thuy Tram, Last Night I Dreamed of Peace, Harmony Books, 2007.
  4. Dower, John W. Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II. New York:  W.W. Norton and Company, 1999.
  5. Lloyd Eastman, The Abortive Revolution: China Under Nationalist Rule, 1927-1937, Harvard University Press, 1974.
  6. Bernard Fall, Ho Chi Minh on Revolution and War, Selected Writings 1920-1966, New American Library, 1967.
  7. Kazuo Kawai, Japan’s American Interlude, University of Chicago Press.
  8. Joseph Lau, The Analects of Confucius.
  9. Joseph Lau and Howard Goldblatt, The Columbia Anthology of Modern Chinese Literature, Columbia University Press, 2007.
  10. Michael Lestz, Pei-Kai Cheng, and Jonathan Spence, The Search for Modern China, A Document Collection, Norton, 1999.
  11. Michael Lestz, Fascism in Republican China, 1924 to 1938, ms.
  12. Michael Lestz (trnsl.) Zhou Daguan’s A Record of the History and Customs of Cambodia (Zhenla Fengtuji), ms.
  13. Li Kuan Yew, The Singapore Story (2 vols),
  14. Loung Ung, First They Killed My Father, Harper Collins, 2000
  15. Mao Zedong, Collected Writings of Mao Zedong,
  16. Nikolai Ostrovsky, How the Steel Was Tempered
  17. Philip Short, Pol Pot: Anatomy of a Nightmare, Macmillan, 2006.
  18. Edgar Snow, Red Star Over China, 1937.
  19. E. L. Voynich, The Gadfly, International Book and Publishing Company, 1900.
  20. Frederic Wakeman and Richard Edmonds, Reappraising Republican China, Oxford, 2000.
  21. Mary Wright, China in Revolution, The First Phase, 1900-1913, Yale University Press, 1971.

III. Class Schedule:

Week I: The Confucian State: China, Vietnam, Korea, and Japan

  • *Selections from Lestz, Cheng, and Spence.
  • *Joseph Lau, The Analects of Confucius

Week II: The Xinhai Revolution of 1911 and the Republican State in China

  • Selections from Lestz, Cheng, and Spence
  • Mary Wright, (selections) including:
    • Ernest P. Young, “Yuan Shik-k’ai’s Rise to the Presidency.”  pp. 419-442.

Week III: Fascism in China

  • *Lestz, Fascism in China
  • Eastman, The Abortive Revolution (selected chapters)
  • Wakeman and Edmonds, Frederic Wakeman, A Revisionist View of the Nanjing Decade: Confucian Fascism, pp. 141-178

Week IV: Confucianism and the Yan’an Way in Northern Shaanxi

  • Dai Qing, Wang Shiwei and “Wild Lilies,” 1994. pp. 3-21
  • Ding Ling stories: Lau and Goldblatt, When I Was in Xia Village, pp. 132-146 and In the Hospital
  • Liu Shaoqi’s How to Be a Good Communist (nine sections):
  • Mao Zedong’s Talks at the Yan’an Forum on Art and Literature:

Week V: The Plight of Korea: The Creation of New State Orders Below and Above the 38th Parallel in the Wake of Japanese Colonialism

Week VI: Occupation Japan: The MacArthur Constitution and the American-sponsored Invention of a New Constitutional Order

  • *Dower
  • Kazuo Kazai (selections)
  • documents

Week VII: Communist Revolution and Its Acolytes in Vietnam After 1954

  • Bao Ninh (selection)
  • *Dang Thuy Tram, Last Night I Dreamed of Peace
  • Ostrovsky (selection)
  • Voynich (selection)

Week VIII: Singapore and Li Kuan Yew: The Emergence of a Denatured Confucian Autocracy

Week IX: The Buddhist State: The Cambodian Variant

  • *Lestz,
  • Zhou Da Guan’s Zhenla Fengtuji

Week X: Sihanouk’s, the Devaraja System, and Development Dictatorship

  • Sihanouk memoirs

Week XI: The Pol Pot Experiment; A Communist State Founded on the Ruins of Angkor

  • *Chandler,
  • S-21 *Short selections

The Nature of Nature: Enlightenment Ideas about the Landscape

by Bruce Coats, Professor of Art History, Scripps College


This course will explore changing attitudes toward nature developed during the 18th century in Europe by surveying representations of nature in the visual arts (paintings, gardens, architecture and furniture), in the performing arts (music, dance and theater) and in texts (essays, poetry and novels). Concepts of reason, liberty and society as formed by the natural world or reflected in nature will be examined, especially in England and France during the Enlightenment.

In the late 17th century, European concepts of nature were still informed by church teachings and by political systems of strict hierarchies, as typified by the reign of Louis XIV and his gardens and palaces at Versailles. Throughout the 18th century new secular ideas about nature, based on scientific discoveries, geographic explorations, agricultural experiments, political developments, and philosophical speculations, resulted in radically varied views about Nature and in extraordinary representations of the natural world in the visual and performing arts. Country estates, such as Stowe in Buckinghamshire, were designed to reflect these political and social changes, in the statuary and pavilions placed around the garden and in the freedom to roam without pathways or an imposed agenda. People were expected to enjoy nature (Edmund Burke), to learn from nature (Jean Jacques Rousseau) and to respond to nature through reason and emotion (Immanuel Kant). By the early 19th century, nature was seen by some as a source for personal spiritual understanding, outside religious institutions, and as a resource for social improvement in new towns, public parks, and landscaped cemeteries. Such varied attitudes toward the nature of nature reveal much about the Enlightenment in Europe.

Required textbook:

  1. M. Andrew, Landscape and Western Art (LWA)
  2. D. Defoe, Robinson Crusoe

Lecture/discussion sessions:

This seminar will survey the varied ways in which Nature and the landscape were viewed in Europe during the 17th -19th centuries, with particular attention to how developments in secularism affected traditional iconographic interpretations of natural elements and influenced the creation of gardens and the depiction of landscape scenes.

I Introduction and Changing Definitions of nature

II Divine Realms

  • LWA 1-51; Geneva Bible

III Biblical and mythological representations of the natural world

IV Moorish and medieval monastery gardens – visit to Margaret Fowler Garden

V Imperial RealmsFormal gardens in Italy and France as symbols of Music, theater and visual arts in the iconographic p

  • LWA 53-75 Medici and Bourbon politics rograms at Versailles

VI Fantasy RealmsRococo architecture and the paintings of Watteau Discussion of Defoe’s novel

  • Robinson Crusoe

VII Botanical Realms Rousseau’s essay Botany

  • Exercises in botanical classifications and illustrations

VIII Linnaeus and Botanic Gardens in Padua, Leyden, Paris Versailles and Oxford

IX Botanical Gardens and Menageries

  • LWA 77-175

X Political Realms Stowe and the early English landscape garden

  • Pope’s Letter to Lord B.

XI Seasonal Realms

  • Vivaldi’s poems & music Representing the changes in weather, seasons, and social hierarchies

XII Agricultural Revolutions: Plows, fertilizers, native plants, and exotic imports

  • handout: Landscape Painting and the Agricultural Revolution

XII Creating the Picturesque Landscape in paintings and gardens: freedom of thought and of movement

  • handout: Landscape and Ideology April:

XIV Man in Nature and the Sublime Landscape

  • handout: Rousseau’s Julie, La Nouvelle Heloise and Emile

XV The Sublime Realm: Ermenonville, Desert de Retz and Monceau

  • handout : Burke on Our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful

XVI Poetic Realms and Picturesque Places

  • handout: Wordsworth’s poems Mapping our realm: seeing campus sites as “sublime” or “beautiful”

XVII Personalized Realms: self expression in Constable and Turner

  • handout: Landscape and Ideology:
  • LWA 176The Spiritual Realm: Kant, Blake and Friedrich
  • handout: Kant’s Critique of Judgement

XIX Analysis of Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony “The Pastoral”

XX Conclusion: Knowledge, Culture and Representation of Nature

The Sacred and the Profane in the Middle Ages

by John Eldevik, Ph.D, History Department, Pomona College

Catalogue Description

This course will attempt to understand and unravel the complex relationship between secular and sacred ideals of political and social order that characterized much of medieval intellectual discourse. We will examine the ways in which medieval jurists, theologians and religious dissenters reconciled notions of authority and order received from tradition and classical antiquity with the demands of divine revelation and the claims of the Church from the time of Augustine through the age of Conciliarism (ca. 300-1450).

Course Overview

Strictly speaking, “secularism” was an term coined in the nineteenth century. Yet the idea of defining a distinction between claims about life and society grounded in humanistic philosophies versus knowledge attained through divinely revealed texts or traditions is one that goes back to the Middle Ages. The Enlightenment was not an inevitability, but neither could it have taken place without the intellectual framework erected by medieval jurists and philosophers who grappled with the relationship between church and state, or, as they put it, regnum et sacerdotum – between priestly and royal authority in society. Out of this debate emerged the strains of thought – religious, historical and philosophical- that would eventually form the foundation of a modern idea of the political, that is, a sphere of thought and action based on empirical perceptions of the world and society and not beholden to revealed authority. The course will not attempt to locate the “origins” of secularism in any particular medieval discourse, but emphasize instead the enduring problem of authority and order and they ways in which those same questions resonate with us today in the form of debates over things like individual liberty versus the security of the state. Instead, medieval thinkers conceived of the universe and humanity as a single, divinely-ordered system, or body, but distinguished within it sacred and profane (rather than “secular”) spheres of authority, life and knowledge, and within those sacred and profane spheres, many nested orders of hierarchy. How those realms and their hierarchies related to each other within the body politic formed the crux of medieval political philosophy.

The three great monotheistic faiths that have shaped the Western tradition have all faced the same fundamental problem when it came to the question of civil governance and social order: is all government ordained by God, and thus to be structured according to Scriptural and hierocratic principles, or did God envision a dual system of governance for the world and his followers, namely a sacred and a profane? If so, were they equal, or did one have preeminence over the other? Is political organization, and by extension, civil government, a product of nature (Aristotle), or does it arise from divine providence, or merely the need to control evil in a fallen world? These questions were first articulated and debated in Christian antiquity, which inherited a complex metaphysical and tradition on one side from Hellenistic and Roman philosophy, and on the other from the Bible and patristic theology. Proceeding from the theopolitical synthesis presented in St. Augustine’s masterpiece, De civitate Dei, this course will trace the dialectic between hierocratic and royal/secular conceptions of political power and social authority across the medieval West, examining issues such as theories of kingship and divine rulership, ideologies of reform, social justice and political dissent in their historical contexts. The struggle to define the relationship between royal and papal authority will certainly occupy a central place in the syllabus, but we will also explore issues such as biblical exegesis and political theory, the Crusades, the formation of the ius commune (which blended canon and Roman legal traditions), as well as alternate systems of thought and dissent, particularly mysticism and popular theologies. An important part of the course will also consist of understanding the key contributions of Jewish and Islamic philosophy to Christian political philosophy in the Middle Ages.

Some of the key texts this course will utilize include the writings of St. Augustine, particularly The City of God, the Ten Books of History by Gregory of Tours, texts from the eleventh century reform movement and the Crusades, Peter Abelard, John of Salisbury, selected works by Al-Farabi, Ibn Sina, Thomas Aquinas, Marsilius of Padua, Dante, Bartolus of Sassoferato, William of Ockham and Lorenzo Valla.

Reading Schedule (by week) with possible texts

1. The Greco-Roman Tradition of Statecraft

  • Plato, Timaeus
  • Aristotle, Politics, Bks 1-4
  • Cicero, On Laws, Bk. 2

2. Religion & Politics in the Bible

  • I Samuel 8-31;
  • II Chronicles 1-9;
  • Romans 13

3. The Constantinian Revolution

  • Eusebius of Cesarea, Life of Constantine Roman Martyrology (selections)
  • Peter Brown, “The Rise of the Holy Man in Late Antiquity”

4. The Augustinian Synthesis

  • Augustine, Political Writings (selections)
  • Ibn Sina (Avicenna), Metaphysics, ch. 10
  • Al-Farabi, The Political Regime

5. The Politics of Holiness in the Dark Ages

  • Gildas, On the Ruin of the Britains
  • Gregory of Tours, Ten Books of History (selections)
  • Jonas of Bobbio, Life of St. Columbanus

6. Carolingian Thought

  • Readings from Agobard of Lyon, Einhard, Hrabanus Maurus and Hincmar of Rheims (ed. Dutton)
  • Mayke de Jong, “The Empire as Ecclesia: Hrabanus Maurus and Biblical Commentary for Rulers,” in Using the Past in the Early Middle Ages

7. Religion, War and Violence in the Age of Crusades

  • Adalbero of Laon, Poem for King Robert
  • Documents on the Peace of God (selections)
  • Gesta Francorum (selections)
  • Odo of Deuil, The Journey of Louis VII to the East (selections)
  • Bernard of Clairvaux, Letter to Pope Eugenius

8. Reform and Politics in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries

  • Texts on the Reform Movement & Investiture Controversy (ed. Miller) Maureen Miller, “Religion Makes a Difference”

9. The New Schools of the Twelfth Century and Political Theology

  • Peter Abelard, Christian Theology, Bk. II
  • John of Salisbury, Policraticus (selections)

10. The Iberian Masters

  • Avicenna, The Decisive Treatise (selections)
  • Maimonides, Guide for the Perplexed (selections)
  • Isaac Abravanel, Biblical Commentaries (selections)

11. Aquinas and the Parisian Controversies

  • Thomas Aquinas, Selected readings

12. The Avignon Papacy and the Crisis of Church and State Part I: The Case for the Church

  • John of Paris
  • Giles of Rome
  • Bulls of Boniface VIII and John XXII
  • Donation of Constantine

13. The Crisis of Church and State Part II. The Case for the State

  • Marsilius of Padua
  • William of Ockham
  • Lorenzo Valla
  • Bartolus of Sassoferrato

14. The Politics of Faith and Popular Dissent

  • Arnold of Brescia (select texts)
  • John Wyclif Piers Plowman (selections, esp. Book VII)

The Strange Meanings of Things

by Barbara Benedict, Charles A. Dana, Professor of English Literature


This course is designed for first- and second-year students as a close-reading introduction to basic literary techniques and categories, with a strong writing component. It is not directed solely at upcoming English majors but they will probably be the majority of the class.

How important is your “stuff” to you? What does it mean? When is a thing just a thing, and when does it represent something else? In this course, students will examine the literary representations of material culture, including clothes, tools, collections of things, paintings, jewelry and books, in a range of works from the Renaissance to the present time. We will analyze what different kinds of things mean at different periods of history, and how writers invest them with magical, religious, satirical and sentimental significance. Readings will include drama, novels, poetry, and journalism, as well as some history, and anthropological and literary theory. This course fills a cultural context requirement for English majors.

Book List:

  1. John Locke, selections from An Essay on Human Understanding
  2. Susan Stewart, selections from On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, and the Collection
  3. William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice
  4. Daniel Defoe, The Apparition of Mrs. Veal
  5. Charles Dickens, The Old Curiosity Shop
  6. Virginia Woolf, Jacob’s Room or To the Lighthouse
  7. John Fowles, The Collector
  8. Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
  9. Edgar Allan Poe, Selected stories including “The Black Cat” and “The Purloined Letter”
  10. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, selected stories including “The Case of the Orange Pips”
  11. Other selected short stories
    1. Selections from poltergeist and witch narratives (long 18th C mainly)
    2. Thorstein Veblen, selections from The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions Selected poems, mainly from The Norton Anthology of Poetry, shorter edition, including:
    3. William Shakespeare, Sonnet 18: “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”
    4. Andrew Marvell, “On a Dew Drop”
    5. Robert Herrick, “On Julia’s Clothes”
    6. Jonathan Swift, selections including “The Dressing Room,” “On a Nymph going to Bed”
    7. Alexander Pope, The Rape of the Lock John Gay, Book I from Trivia, or the Art of Walking the Streets of London
    8. John Keats, “Ode on a Grecian Urn”
    9. Robert Browning, “My Last Duchess”
    10. Robert Frost, “The Gift Outright”
    11. Adrienne Rich, “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers”
    12. Richard Wilbur, “Objects”; “Museum Piece”
    13. William Carlos Williams, “The Red Wheelbarrow”
    14. Elizabeth Bishop, “One Art”
    15. Selected song lyrics TBA by the class.

PART I: The Body and Things: where does the body stop and clothes begin? short introductory lectures on Renaissance, pre-industrial British society, sartorial laws, Catholic rituals, and literary traditions of dream-visions in which things mean something immaterial that reveals/conceals a moral truth; the eighteenth-century influx of cloth goods; changing notions of cleanliness and the borders of bodies and things; and modern theory on clothes, bodies and identity.

Readings for Weeks 1, 2 and 3:

  • John Locke, from Essay on Human Understanding
  • Shakespeare
    • Sonnet 18 “Shall I compare thee to a summer’ day?”
    • The Merchant of Venice
  • Robert Herrick, “On Julia’s Clothes”
  • Alexander Pope, The Rape of the Lock, Cantos I and II
  • Madonna, “Material Girl”
  • Jonathan Swift, “The Dressing-room,” “The Ivory Table-Book,” “A Nymph Going to Bed,” etc.
  • Bob Dylan, “Leopard-skin Pillbox Hat”
  • Students’ selected song lyrics John Gay, Book I from Trivia; the Art of Walking the Streets of London

PART II: Things, Spirits and Sins: where does the material begin and end? how can thing embody evil? short introductory lectures on the repression of superstition in the 18thc, witches, devils, empiricism, the Royal Society and the rise of science.

Readings for Weeks 4, 5 and 6:

  • Andrew Marvell, “On a Dew Drop”
  • Daniel Defoe, “The Apparition of Mrs. Veal”
  • John Keats, “Ode on a Grecian Urn”
  • Alexander Pope, The Rape of the Lock, Canto III-V.
  • Poltergeist narrative, “The Lambs Inn Ghost”
  • Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Case of the Orange Pips”
  • Students’ selected song lyrics

PART III: Collecting Things: when does possessing something possess you? how can ownership change the owner’s personality or identity? Short introductory lecture on Victorian culture and the history of auctions and collecting.

Readings for Weeks 7, 8 and 9:

  • Veblen, selections from The Theory of the Leisure Class
  • Robert Browning, “My Last Duchess”
  • Edgar Allen Poe, “The Black Cat” and “The Purloined Letter’
  • Robert Frost, “The Gift Outright”
  • Charles Dickens, The Old Curiosity Shop
  • John Fowles, The Collector
  • Janis Joplin, “Lord Won’t you buy me a Mercedes-Benz?”
  • Students’ selected song lyrics

PART IV: Remembered Things: are things what one remembers them to be? how do they furnish the mind and shape the idea of the past? short introductory lecture on WWI.

Readings for Weeks 7, 8 and 9:

  • Susan Stewart, selections from On Longing
  • Virginia Woolf, Jacob’s Room or To the Lighthouse
  • Adrienne Rich, “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers”
  • Richard Wilbur, “Objects”; “Museum Piece”
  • William Carlos Williams, “The Red Wheelbarrow”
  • Elizabeth Bishop, “The Art of Losing”
  • Students’ selected song lyrics

The World Disenchanted: The Origins and Impact of Secularization

Jonathan Elukin, Associate Professor Department of History, Trinity College


For most of human civilization, people thought the world was filled with the spirits of gods that directly affected their lives. This “enchantment” took the form of beliefs in magic, angels, demons, and miracles. Such a conception of an enchanted world thrived in the Christian society of pre modern Europe as well and continues to characterize many societies or sub cultures throughout the contemporary world. The process of secularization–that is, the shift away from thinking of the world as enchanted–should be studied systematically. Moreover, the impact of the process of secularization needs careful study as well. The disenchantment of the world affected many aspects of European society in the early modern period, including attitudes towards tolerance, nature, human identity, authority and government. In many ways, our contemporary debates about the nature of secular societies grow out of these medieval and early modern ideas about the enchantment or disenchantment of the world.

Week 1: Ideas of Secularization

  • Charles Taylor, A Secular Age (Harvard University Press, 2007)
  • Gabriel Vahanian, Praise of the Secular (University of Virginia Press, 2008)
  • Robert Coles, Secular Mind (Princeton University Press, 2001)
  • Steve Bruce, God is Dead: Secularization in the West (Wiley-Blackwell 2002)
  • Owen Chadwick, Secularization of the European mind in the 19th century (Cambridge University Press, 2008)

The introduction to the course will survey attempts to understand what secularization means. Does it happen to different societies at different times? Is there one definition of secularization? Is it purely a post-Enlightenment European phenomenon? Are there secular or religious ways of thinking? Can we really divide society into sacred and secular?

Week 2: Christianity and the Miraculous

  • Augustine, Confessions and City of God
  • Ramsay MacMullen, Christianity and Paganism in the Fourth to Eighth Centuries (Yale University Press, 1999).
  • Robin Lane Fox, Pagans and Christians (Penguin, 2006)
  • Valerie Flint, The Rise of Magic in Early Medieval Europe (Princeton University Press, 1994)

Week 3: Supernatural Beliefs in Medieval Europe

  • Cuming and Baker eds., Popular Belief and Practice: Papers Read at the Ninth Summer Meeting and the Tenth Winter Meeting of the Ecclesiastical History Society (Studies in Church History) (Cambridge University Press, 2009)
  • John Arnold, Belief and Unbelief in Medieval Europe (Hodder Arnold, 2005)
  • Michael Bailey, Magic and Superstition in Europe: A Concise History from Antiquity to the Present (Critical Issues in History) (Rowman and Littlefield, 2006)
  • John Van Engen, “The Christian Middle Ages as a Historiographical Problem,” American Historical Review 91 (1986)
  • C.S. Watkins, History and the Supernatural in Medieval England (Cambridge 2008)

Week 4: Miracles and Skepticism in the Middle Ages

  • Susan Reynolds, “Social Mentalities and the Case of Medieval Skepticism” Transactions of the Royal Historical Society Ser. 6, 1 (1991), 21-41
  • John Edwards, “Religious Faith and Doubt in Late Medieval Spain:
  • Soria, circa 1450-1500″ Past and Present no. 120 (August 1988), 3-25
  • Stephen Justice, “Did the Middle Ages Believe in Their Miracles?” Representations 103 (2008) 1 -29
  • Benedicta Ward, Miracles and the Medieval Mind: Theory, Record, and Event, 10001215 (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1987)
  • Michael Goodich, Miracles and Wonders: Church, Faith and Culture in the Medieval West (Ashgate, 2007)
  • Gabrielle de Nie, Word, Image and Experience: Dynamics of Miracle and Self-Perception in Sixth-Century Gaul (Ashgate, 2003)
  • Deirdre Jackson, Marvellous to Behold, Miracles in Illuminated Manuscripts (British Library, 2007)

This part of the course will survey the nature of religious belief in the ancient and medieval worlds. It is crucial here to note that the readings will introduce the problem of the extent and nature of belief in the miraculous in these societies. In other words, we will study the complicated reality of religious belief and challenge the idea of a uniformly religious medieval or pre-modern world. Secularization happened to societies that had been grappling with different levels and kinds of religious belief for centuries. The vocabulary of skepticism and un-belief had its origins in religious societies.

Week 5: Sacred and Secular in the Early Modern World

  • Lawrence Besserman, Sacred and Secular in Medieval and Early Modern Culture: New Essays (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006)
  • Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic: Studies in Popular Beliefs in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century England (Oxford University Press, 1997)
  • Hill, English Bible and the Seventeenth-Century Revolution (Penguin 1995)
  • Lucien Febvre, The Problem of Unbelief in the Sixteenth Century: The Religion of Rabelais (Harvard University Press, 1985)
  • John Somerville, Secularization of early modern England: from religious culture to religious faith (Oxford University Press, 1992)
  • Alan Charles Kors, Atheism in France, 1650-1729: The Orthodox Sources of Disbelief (Princeton University Press, 1990)

Week 6: Science and Secularism

  • Steven Shapin, The Scientific Revolution (University of Chicago Press, 1998)
  • Peter Dear, Revolutionizing the Sciences: European Knowledge and Its Ambitions, 1500-1700 (Princeton University Press, 2001)
  • Lorraine Daston, Katherine Park, Wonders and the Order of Nature, 1150-1750 (Zone Books, 2001)

This section of the course will study the development of secular thinking in the early modern period, with a particular focus on the evolution of critical attitudes towards the biblical text and the appearance of scientific modes of thought. In both cases, however, we will try to see these developments as arising out of a religious context rather than appearing as an alternative to religious mentalities.

Week 7: Secularism and Tolerance

  • Perez Zagorin, How the Idea of Religious Toleration Came to the West (Princeton University Press, 2005)
  • Jan Assmann, Of God and Gods: Egypt, Israel, and the Rise of Monotheism (University of Wisconsin Press, 2005)

Week 8: Tolerance in the Medieval World

  • Cary Nederman, Worlds of Difference: European Discourses of Toleration (Penn State Press, 2000)
  • Cary Nederman, Beyond the Persecuting Society: Religious Toleration Before the Enlightenment (Penn State Press, 1997)
  • Gervers and Powell, Tolerance and Intolerance: Social Conflict in the Age of the Crusades (Syracuse University Press, 2001)
  • Laursen and Nederman, eds., Difference and Dissent: Theories of Toleration in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (Rowman and Littlefield, 1996)
  • Sophia Menocal, Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain (Back Bay Books 2003)
  • Stroumsa and Stanton, eds., Tolerance and Intolerance in early Judaism and Christianity Cambridge (Cambridge University Press, 2008)

Week 9: Tolerance in Early Modern Europe

  • Benjamin Kaplan, Divided by Faith: Religious Conflict and the Practice of Toleration in Early Modern Europe (Harvard University Press, 2007)
  • Stuart Schwartz, All
    Can Be Saved: Religious Tolerance and Salvation in the Iberian Atlantic World (Yale University Press, 2008)
  • Grell and Scribner, Tolerance and Intolerance in the European Reformation (Cambridge University Press, 2002)
  • Hans Bödeker, Clorinda Donato, and Peter Hanns Reill, eds., Discourses of Tolerance and Intolerance in the Enlightenment (University of Toronto Press, Center/Clark Series, 2009)
  • Alan Levine, ed., Early Modern Skepticism and the Origins of Toleration (Lexington Books, 1999)
  • B. J. Skopol, Shakespeare and Tolerance (Cambridge University Press, 2009)

Secularization is often thought to have created the possibility of a new kind of tolerance. Human beings were no longer trapped in the religious mind-set of absolute truth that promoted or facilitated persecution of one faith by another. Recent scholarship on the nature of medieval and early modern religious relations has challenged that narrative. This section of the course will attempt to assess this new historiographical challenge to the narrative of secularization and tolerance.

Week 10: Whither Secularism?

  • Adam Sutcliffe, Judaism and Enlightenment (Cambridge University Press, 2005)
  • Graham, The Re-enchantment of the World: Art versus Religion (Oxford University Press, 2007)
  • Ziolkowski, Modes of Faith: Secular Surrogates for Lost Religious Belief (University of Chicago, 2007)

Week 11: Science Fiction or The Survival of Religion in Secular Forms

  • Benjamin Plotinsky, “How Science Fiction Found Religion,” City Journal 19:1 (2009)
  • Kraemer, The Religions of Star Trek (Basic Books, 2008)
  • Readings of selected science fiction novels, including Frank Herbert, Dune
  • Screening of selected science fiction films, including The Matrix.

Week 12: Return of Religion

  • G. Kepel, The Revenge of God: The Resurgence of Islam, Christianity and Judaism in the Modern World (Penn State Press, 1994)
  • Stephen Jenkins, The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity (Oxford University Press, 2007)
  • Stephen Jenkins, The New Faces of Christianity: Believing the Bible in the Global South (Oxford University Press, 2006)
  • Mark Taylor, After God (University of Chicago Press, 2009)

Week 13: Conclusion

The final weeks of the seminar will study the resurgence of religion in the modern world and the creation of alternative modes of enchantment. Is religion or religious mentalities being preserved in art or science fiction? Can true secularism survive? How will new religious cultures in the developing world and in some western societies interact with modern secular ideology?

Anxiety in the Age of Reason

by Andre Wakefield, Assistant Professor of History, Pitzer College

Course Description

Many Enlightenment authors expressed confidence in the relentless progress of knowledge, but they also exuded skepticism and unease about reason. New questions about nature, and new approaches to studying it, unleashed fears about humanity’s place in the world. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz worried that the specter of infinite time might eliminate the need for God; David Hume doubted the necessity of cause and effect; Immanuel Kant limited reason to make way for faith. Each of these writers used reason to question the religious and metaphysical foundations of knowledge. But reason also created its own fears about faith and reason, about certainty and belief. This course is about those fears, and what lay behind them.

Secularism caused anxiety, even in the age of reason. That is the heart of the matter, and what we will be exploring in this course. Even as Spinoza and Kant and Leibniz sought to unify scripture with reason, their writings both reflected and unleashed fears about how new modes of knowing might undermine old ways of believing. It is the dynamic that we will examine.

Required Readings

  1. Gould, Stephen J. Time’s Arrow and Time’s Cycle. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1987.
  2. Hume, David. A Treatise of Human Nature. London: Penguin Books, 1969.
  3. Kant, Immanuel. Critique of Pure Reason. Trans. Norman Kemp Smith. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1969.
  4. Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm. Protogaea. Edited and translated, with an introduction, by Andre Wakefield and Claudine Cohen. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008.
  5. Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm. Philosophical Essays. Edited and translated by Roger Ariew and Daniel Garber. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1989.
  6. Rossi, Paolo. The Dark Abyss of Time. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1984.
  7. Schmidt, James, ed. What is Enlightenment? Eighteenth-Century Answers and Twentieth-Century Questions. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996.
  8. Spinoza, Baruch (Benedict de). Theological-Political Treatise. Edited by Jonathan Israel; translated by Michael Silverstone and Jonathan Israel. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

Reading Schedule

Part I: Time, Fossils, Metaphysics

  • Class 1: Gould, Time’s Arrow, pp. 1-61.
  • Class 2: Gould, Time’s Arrow, pp. 61-208.
  • Class 3: Rossi, Dark Abyss, 3-120.
  • Class 4: Leibniz, Protogaea [all]
  • Class 5: Leibniz, “Discourse on Metaphysics,” 35-69.
  • Class 6: Leibniz-Newton Debate. In Leibniz-Clarke Correspondence, 11-97.

Part II: Reason, Faith, Skepticism: The Secular Challenge

  • Class 7: Leibniz, “Comments on Spinoza’s Philosophy,” in Ariew and Garber, eds. pp. 272-84; Spinoza, Theologico-Political Treatise (Elwes trans.), 1-11, chaps. VI-VII, XIV-XVI, XX.
  • Class 8: Hume, Treatise, 41-174.
  • Class 9: Hume, Treatise, 174-321.
  • Class 10: Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, 7-62, 65-91.
  • Class 11: Kant, Conflict of the Faculties, 23-61, and “What is Enlightenment?”; (in Schmidt, ed.); Mendelssohn, “What is Enlightenment?”
  • Class 12: Hamann, “Letter to Christian Jacob Kraus,” and Metacritique on the Purism of Reason,” in Schmidt, ed., 145-67.
  • Class 13: Fichte, “Freedom of Thought,” pp. 119-142 (in Schmidt, ed.)

Modern Secular Nationalism, Ancient Memories: The Case of the Jews

by Samuel Kassow, Charles H. Northam Professor of  History, Trinity College

Course Syllabus

The purpose of this course is to use the modern Jewish experience in order to introduce students to the complexities and challenges of understanding and defining the development of modern nationalism. The course will consist of two major parts. The first part will examine theories of nationalism and then survey the rise of modern nationalist ideologies in Europe. The second part will take up the Jews as a “case study”. In what ways does the development of modern Jewish nationalism conform to various topographies of nationalist ideology? How was modern Jewish Nationalism influenced by non-Jewish models and doctrines? By the same token, in what ways was the Jewish experience “sui generis” or unique? How can a case study of modern Jewish nationalism clarify wider aspects of nationalism as a political issue?

The course assumes that in studying the development of Modern Jewish Nationalism, and especially Zionism, the student will come to understand the complexities and apparent paradoxes that mark the rise of modern national identities. On the one hand Zionism strove to make the Jews a “normal” people, yet on the other hand modern Zionism drew much of its inspiration from the traditional conviction that Jews were a “special” people and that their modern liberation movement had to create a model state and not just, to quote Ahad Ha’am, a “kind of Jewish Latvia” (i.e., just another tiny ethnic nation state. We apologize in advance to any Latvians). In many ways Zionism was a strikingly modern movement that borrowed freely from the national awakenings of neighboring peoples and that offered new models of leadership and new modes of mobilization and propaganda. But on the other hand, Zionism also was inextricably linked to an ancient religious tradition, to the Bible and to powerful national memories and myths. While other national movements also appropriated and invented convenient “usable pasts” and fashioned stirring “imagined communities”, it was modern Jewish nationalism more than any other that had to renegotiate and redefine the complex interplay of religious and ethnic identities and motifs.

Students will begin by surveying some of the recent scholarship on Nationalism and then discuss some of the major issues that have preoccupied scholars. Is nationalism a largely modern phenomenon, an invented instrument that uses modern forms of communication to create “imagined communities”, mobilize backward masses, facilitate industrial development and bolster the power of self anointed elites? Or must one modify this linkage of nationalism and modernity in order to admit such decidedly pre-modern antecedents and models as the Bible, the Reformation and atavistic ethnic bonds? The first part of the course will also examine and redefine the common distinction between “ethnic” or “civic” nationalism. It will consider the complex role of religion in modern nationalism, as well as the reasons why some nationalisms proved to be more aggressive and exclusive than others. Studies will then study the complex interplay of ideology and nationalism as they consider critiques from the Left and from the Right.

Part One: Defining a Nation

Week One

  • Ernest Gellner, Nations and Nationalism, (Cornell University Press, 2009) Chapter One, pp. 1-8
  • Ernest Renan, “What is a Nation?” excerpts in Omar Dahbour and Micheline Ishay eds. The Nationalism Reader (Humanity Books, 1995), pp. 143-156
  • Walker Connor, “A nation is a Nation, is a State is an Ethnic Group” in Walker Connor, Ethnonationalism, pp..89-118

Week Two

  • Anthony Smith, The Nation in History (Brandeis, 2000), entire(79 pp.) Adrian Hastings, The Construction of Nationhood: Ethnicity, Religion and Nationalism (Cambridge, 1997) , pp.1-5, 14-34
  • Miroslav Hroch, “Why did they win? Preconditions for successful national agitation”,
    • 645-655.html

Part Two: The ideological context of modern European Nationalism

Week Three

  • From Omar Dahbour and Micheline Ishay eds. The Nationalism Reader:
    • Rousseau “On the Government of Poland” excerpt pp. 30-35
    • Kant Metaphysics of Morals pp. 38- 48
    • Fichte Address to the German nation pp, 62-71
    • Acton Nationality pp. 108-119
    • Mazzini Duties of Man 87-98
    • Herder Reflections on a Philosophy of History of Mankind 48-60

Week Four

Defining European nationalism from the Left

  • Voltaire, “Jews” in Paul Mendes Flohr and Jehuda Reinharz eds. The Jew in the Modern World (Oxford University Press, 1995), pp. 304-305
  • Marx ” On the Jewish Question” Excerpts from Paul Mendes Flohr and Jehuda Reinharz eds. The Jew in the Modern World (Oxford University Press, 1995), pp. 324-327
  • Lenin “Right of Nations to National Self Determination” (excerpts) Omar Dahbour and Micheline Ishay eds. The Nationalism Reader, pp. 208-216
  • Otto Bauer “The Nationality Question and Social Democracy” in Omar Dahbour and Micheline Ishay eds. The Nationalism Reader, pp. 183-192

Week Five

Defining European nationalism from the Right

  • Hitler Mein Kampf excerpts in Paul Mendes Flohr and Jehuda Reinharz eds. The Jew in the Modern World,, pp. 637-640
  • Mussolini “Fascism”, Omar Dahbour and Micheline Ishay eds. The Nationalism Reader , pp. 222-230
  • Charles Maurras “The Future of French Nationalism” in Omar Dahbour and Micheline Ishay eds. The Nationalism Reader, pp. 216-222

Part Three Modern Jewish National: How Secular? How Modern?

In this section of the course we will chart the development of modern Jewish nationalism through a study of the interplay of Jewish and non-Jewish history in Modern Europe. We will begin with a special consideration of Pinsker and Herzl and survey the impact of growing disappointment in the prospects of long term integration of the Jews into European society. Our study will return to the theoretical suggestions of Miroslav Hroch as we examine the role of writers and historians in the growth of modern Jewish nationalism. We will then consider various tensions within Zionism and the various attempts to create socialist, religious and integral nationalist versions of the movement.

Week Six

The Rise of Modern Jewish Nationalism: some general issues

  1. Hedva Ben Israel ” Zionism and European Nationalisms: some comparative aspects” in Israel Studies 8.1 (2003) 91-104
  2. Aviel Roshwald “Jewish Identity and the paradox of Nationalism” in Michael Berkowitz Ed. Nationalism, Zionism and Ethnic Mobilization of Jews in 1900 and Beyond(Brill, 2004) pp. 11-25
  3. Mitchell Cohen, “A Preface to the Study of Jewish Nationalism” in Jewish Social Studies, The New Series, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 73-93

Week Seven

The role of the historian Heinrich Graetz:

  • “Judaism can be understood only through its History” in Michael Meyer ed. Ideas of Jewish History(Wayne State, 1987) pp. 217-247
  • Simon Dubnow “Letters on the Old and the new Judaism”, Letters One, Two, Three and Four in Koppel Pinson ed. Simon Dubnow, Nationalism and History (Jewish Publication Society, 1958), pp. 76-142

Week Eight

The role of the writer

  • Irving Howe and Eliezer Greenberg eds. A Treasury of Yiddish Stories(Penguin, 1990)
    • Yitzhak Leybush Peretz
      • “Bontshe the Silent”;
      • “Devotion Without End”;
      • “Roads that l
        ead away from Jewishness”;
    • Mendele Moykher Sforim,
      • “The Calf”;
    • Sholem Aleichem,
      • “Dreyfus in Kasrilevke”,
      • “Hodl”
    • Y.L.Gordon
      • “Awake my People”,
      • “For Whom Do I toil”;
  • H.N. Bialik, “City of Slaughter” in Paul Mendes Flohr and Jehuda Reinharz eds. The Jew in the Modern World , pp. 384-386, 410-412

Week Nine

Rediscovering Language

  • Benjamin Harshav, Language in a Time of Revolution (Stanford, 1999), entire

Week Ten

The Zionist Project

  • Arthur Hertzberg, The Zionist Idea(Harper and Row, 1959),
    • Introduction, pp. 15-100
    • Pinsker Autoemancipation pp. 181-198
    • Herzl The Jewish State pp. 204-222
    • Ahad Ha’am “Flesh and Spirit” pp. 256-261

Week Eleven

Labor Zionism

  • Arthur Hertzberg, The Zionist Idea
    • Ber Borochov, “Our Platform” pp. 360-368
    • Aaron Dovid Gordon, “People and Labor” pp. 372-375
    • David ben Gurion, “The Imperatives of the Jewish Revolution” pp. 606-620
    • Joseph Hayim Brener, “Self Criticism” pp. 307-314
  • Hayim Hazaz, “The Sermon” in Robert Alter ed. Modern Hebrew Literature(Behrman, 1975), pp. 267-291

Week Twelve

Religious and Revisionist Zionism

  • Arthur Hertzberg, The Zionist Idea
    • Rabbi Samuel Mohilever, “Message to the First Zionist Congress”, Hertzberg pp. 398-401
    • Rabbi Yehile Michael Pines, “Jewish nationalism can not be Secular”, Hertzberg pp. 411416
    • Abraham Isaac Kook, “Lights for rebirth”, Hertzberg, pp. 427-432
    • Zeev Jabotinsky Testimony before the Peel Commission pp. 559-572

Week Thirteen

Diaspora nationalism: the case of the Bund Film:

  • Image Before My Eyes Excerpt from Bronislav Grosser’s “From Pole to Jew” in Lucy Dawidowicz ed. The Golden Tradition (Syracuse, 1996), pp. 435-441
  • Bund Decisions on the Nationality Question, 1899-1910 in The Jew in the Modern World pp. 419-423

Week Fourteen

America: a New Zion?

  • Arthur Hertzberg, The Zionist Idea
    • The Pittsburgh Platform of 1885 p468
    • Louis Brandeis “Zionism is consistent with American patriotism” pp. 496-497
    • Mordecai Kaplan, “The Reconstruction of Judaism” pp. 499-502

The Jew in the Modern World

  • Arthur Hertzberg, The Zionist Idea
    • Horace Mayer Kallen “Jewish Life is National and Secular” pp. 526-528
    • Mordecai Kaplan, “The Future of the American Jew” pp. 534-542
    • Solomon Schaechter. “Zionism: A Statement” , pp. 502-504

Classical Ethical Theory: Plato

by Suzanne Obdrzalek, Philosophy Department, Claremont McKenna College

Required Texts:

  • Cooper, ed.–Plato: Complete Works

Course Description:

Plato is considered the first philosopher in the Western tradition to propose significant theories in ethics, moral psychology and political philosophy. This course will focus on a close reading of Platonic dialogues such as the Protagoras, the Republic and the Statesman. We will examine Plato’s views on virtue and vice, psychological conflict, our moral obligations to others, and the political role of the philosopher. We will assess Plato’s views for their philosophical merit, as well as discuss their influence on subsequent philosophers.

Schedule of Readings and Assignments:

Week One: Introduction (no assigned reading)

Week Two

  1. Euthyphro
  2. Vlastos, “Socratic Piety”

Week Three

  1. Gorgias
  2. Vlastos, “Does Socrates Cheat?”

Week Four

  1. Protagoras
  2. Penner, “The Unity of Virtue,”
  3. Santas, “Plato’s Protagoras and Explanations of Weakness”

Week Five

  1. Irwin, “Recollection and Plato’s Moral Theory”

Week Six

  1. Vlastos, “The Individual as Object of Love in Plato,”
  2. Nussbaum, “The Speech of Alcibiades: a Reading of the Symposium”

Week Seven

  1. Phaedrus
  2. Nussbaum, “‘This Story Isn’t True’: Madness, Reason and Recantation in the Phaedrus,”
  3. Ferrari, “Platonic Love”

Week Eight

  1. Republic, Books I&II
  2. White, “The Classification of Goods in Plato’s Republic,”
  3. Kirwin “Glaucon’s Challenge”

Week Nine

  1. Republic, Books II-IV

Week Ten

  1. Cooper, “Plato’s Theory of Human Motivation”

Week Eleven

  1. Sachs, “A Fallacy in Plato’s Republic,”
  2. Kraut, “The Defense of Justice in Plato’s Republic”

Week Twelve

  1. Republic, Books V-VII
  2. Santas, Goodness and Justice: Plato, Aristotle and the Moderns, chs. 3-5

Week Thirteen

  1. Republic, Books VIII-X
  2. Williams, “The Analogy of City and Soul in Plato’s Republic,”
  3. Lear, “Inside and Outside the Republic”

Week Fourteen

  1. Statesman
  2. Dorter, “Justice and Method in the Statesman”

Week Fifteen

  1. Laws, selections
  2. Bobonich, Plato’s Utopia Recast, ch. 2