Humanities 220

Modern European Humanities

Spring 2022 Syllabus


  • Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex (Knopf Doubleday)
  • Christopher Browning, Ordinary Men (Harper Collins)
  • Aime Césaire, Discourse on Colonialism (Monthly Review)
  • Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary (Penguin, trans. Geoffrey Wall)
  • Sigmund Freud, Freud Reader, ed. Peter Gay (Norton)
  • Paul Fussell, The Great War and Modern Memory (Oxford)
  • Ernst Jünger, Storm of Steel (Penguin)
  • Siegfried Kracauer, The Salaried Masses; trans. Hoare (Verso)
  • Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz (Touchstone)
  • Nietzsche, Genealogy of Morals; trans. Kaufmann (Knopf)
  • Samuel Selvon, The Lonely Londoners (Longman)
  • Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway (Houghton Mifflin)

Note on Lectures: All lectures will be recorded and available online (links below). There will be no live lectures this spring.

Week 1

  • Flaubert, Madame Bovary
  • Monday, January 24: “Death By Irony” / Hugh Hochman
  • Wednesday, January 26: No lecture

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

  • Nietzsche, Genealogy of Morals
  • Monday, February 21: "Lessons in Alien Horticulture" / Benjamin Lazier
  • Wednesday, February 23: No lecture

Week 6

  • Freud, The Freud Reader (Selections according to Instructor)
  • Monday, Feb. 28: “Beyond the Pleasure Principle" / Jan Mieszkowski
  • Wednesday, March 2: No lecture

Week 7

  • Paul Fussell, The Great War and Modern Memory, pp. 3-51, 75-82, 169-190, 326-335
  • Poems of WWI (e-reserves)
  • Jünger, Storm of Steel (recommended: 5-33, 91-110, 224-56, 274-89)
  • Jünger, from "War as Inner Experience" (e-reserves)
  • Monday, March 7: “An Event Without an Idea: The "Irony" of World War One" / Mary Ashburn Miller
  • Wednesday, March 9: "Jünger in World War I / Jan Mieszkowski
    • Lecture slides (Please note: some of the slides are images of dead bodies/fatal accidents/executions)

Week 8


Week 9

Week 10

  • Siegfried Kracauer, The Salaried Masses, pp. 25-59, 68-106
  • Arendt, Origins of Totalitarianism, pp. vii-ix 437-459, 460-479
  • Triumph of the Will, dir. L. Riefenstahl (watch at least the following clips: 0-9:00; 12:00- 18:00; 31:23- 38:34; and 1:01:00-1:06:50)
  • Monday, April 4: “The Weimar Republic: Political Culture and Cultural Politics" / Benjamin Lazier
  • Wednesday, April 6: “Totalitarianism, or the Night of the Living Dead" / Benjamin Lazier

Week 11

Week 12

  • Aimé Césaire, Discourse on Colonialism
  • Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex, pp. 3-17, 46-75, 266-74, 468-85, 519-23, 638-45, 661-64, and 753-66.
  • Monday, April 18: "Césaire, Négritude, Surrealism" / Hugh Hochman, Kris Cohen
  • Wednesday, April 20: “Simone de Beauvoir: Existence and Resistance" / Mary Ashburn Miller

Week 13

  • Selvon, Lonely Londoners
  • Monday, April 25: "“To say these things, to have lived these things”: Colonial Migrants and the Remaking of the Imperial Metropolis" / Radhika Natarajan 
  • Wednesday, April 27: No lecture

Course outcomes:

Hum 220 is a course that can be used to satisfy Group I or Group II requirements. After completing the course students will be better able to:

  • Understand how language or other modes of expression (symbols, images, sounds, etc.) work , make an argument, present a vision, convey a feeling, and/or convey an idea;
  • Analyze and interpret a text, whether a literary or philosophical text, or a work of the visual or performing arts;
  • Evaluate arguments about texts;
  • Analyze social, political or economic institutions, cultural formations, languages, structures, and/or processes;
  • Think in sophisticated ways about causation, social change and/or the relationship between individual and society; 
  • Evaluate data and/or sources.