Humanities 220

Modern European Humanities

Fall 2021 Syllabus


Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (Penguin Classics)
James, The Black Jacobins (Vintage)
Kant, Basic Writings (Modern Library)
Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative of Olaudah Equiano (Modern Library)
Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. The Marx-Engels Reader (Norton)
Popkin, Jeremy D. A Short History of the French Revolution (Prentice-Hall)
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques.  Major Political Writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Univ. of Chicago)
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein: The 1818 Text, ed. Butler (Oxford)
Voltaire. Candide (Bedford)
Wollstonecraft, Mary. Vindication of the Rights of Woman (Penguin)
Lessing, Nathan the Wise (Bedford)


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

Week 1

  • Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (ed. John Ricchetti) 5-108; 122-37; 154-79; 219-24; 238-41.
  • Voltaire, Candide
  • Monday, August 30: “Beginning the Conversations” / Jay Dickson.
  • Wednesday, September 1: “Free Candide!” / Hugh Hochman

Week 2

Week 3

  • Smith, Adam.  The Essential Adam Smith. Selections, pp. 64-88, 100-104, 133-36, 143-147; 158-175, 248-258, 264-267, 293-294, 302-307, 321-324 (e-reserve)
  • Monday September 13: No lecture
  • Wednesday, September 15: “What’s Neo about Liberalism” / Benjamin Lazier

Week 4

  • Rousseau, The Major Political Writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
  • Monday, September 20: Rousseau and Narrative Genealogy” / Luc Monnin
  • Wednesday, September 22: “Rousseau and the Politics of Being-with-Others” / Benjamin Lazier

Week 5

  • Kant, Basic Writings 143-182, 292-313.
  • Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative of Olaudah Equiano, Chs 1, 2, 4-7, 9, 11-12. 
  • Equiano, Image gallery
  • Monday,  September 27: “Free Kant” / Jan Mieszkowski
  • Wednesday, September 29: “‘The Inhuman Traffic': Atlantic Slavery and the Making of Europe” / Radhika Natarajan"

Week 6

  • Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative of Olaudah Equiano, Chs 1, 2, 4-7, 9, 11-12.
  • Equiano, image gallery
  • Abbe Sieyes, “What is the Third Estate?” (e-reserve)
  • Declaration of the Rights of Man & Citizen (e-reserve)
  • Popkin, A Short History of the French Revolution chapters 1-3
  • Monday, October 4: Equiano and the Legacies of British Abolition" / Radhika Natarajan
  • Wednesday, October 6: “Becoming a Revolutionary” / Mary Ashburn Miller

Week 7

  • Edmund Burke, selections from A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (e-reserve)
  • Edmund Burke, selection from “Speech on Fox’s India Bill” (e-reserve)
  • Edmund Burke, selections from Reflections on the Revolution in France (e-reserve)
  • Mary Wollstonecraft, Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Recommended selection: author's introduction, Author’s Dedication (3-7); Author’s Introduction (11-16) Chs. 1-3, (19-67), Ch 9 (175-86).
  • Olympe de Gouges, "Declaration of the Rights of Woman" (link)
  • Monday, October 11: “To Preserve the Constitution: France, India, and Edmund Burke's Conservatism” /  Radhika Natarajan 
  • Wednesday, October 13: “Posing the Woman Question” / Jay Dickson


Week 8

  • Popkin, A Short History of the French Revolution, Chapters 4-6
  • Robespierre, "On Political Morality" (link)
  • Robespierre, "Report on Religious and Moral Ideas and Republican Principles" (e-reserves)   
  • “The Revolutionary Calendar" (e-reserve)
  • C. L. R James The Black Jacobins p. 1-61 (Prologue, Preface, Chapters 1 and 2)
  • L'Acte de l'Indépendance de la République d'Haïti (link) (PDF of original document)
  • Alejo Carpentier's El Reino de este mundo (excerpts, in translation) (e-reserves)
  • 4 images by Edouard Duval-Carrié
    • Metamorphose #4
    • L'orange de Mme Lenormand de Mezy
    • Makandal s'envole
    • L'apothéose de Makandal
  • Monday, October 25: “This is Not My Beautiful Revolution” / Mary Ashburn Miller
  • Wednesday, October 27: "Koupe tèt, brule kay: Black Liberation and the Legacies of the Haitian Revolution" / Jeannine Murray-Román

Week 9

  • Primary Texts on David and the Academy (excerpts) in Harrison, ed., Art in Theory, 1648-1815, pp. 710-730 (e-reserve)
  • David Image Gallery
  • Wordsworth, Major Works. "Lines Written a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey"; "The Old Cumberland Beggar"; "Michael"; "Ode ('There was a time')" [also called "Ode: Intimations of Immortality"]; "Lines Written in Early Spring;" (e-reserve)
  • Monday, November 1: “David and the French Revolution” / William Diebold
  • Wednesday, November 3: “On the Subject of Wordsworth” / Hugh Hochman

Week 10

  • Grigsby, Darcy Grimaldo. “‘Whose Colour Was Not Black nor White nor Grey, But an Extraneous Mixture, Which No Pen Can Trace, Although Perhaps the Pencil May’: Aspasie and Delacroix’s Massacres of Chios.” Art History 22, no. 5 (1999): 676–704. [Content Warning: mention of depicted rape on p. 683-4; no graphic descriptions. Illustration of racial caricature, p. 692] (e-reserve)
  • E.T.A. Hoffmann, “The Sandman” (e-reserve)
  • Image gallery
  • Monday, November 8: “The Colonial Imaginary” /  Kris Cohen
  • Wednesday, November 10: “What is Romanticism?” / Jan Mieszkowski

Week 11

  • Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
  • Monday, November 15: “Frankenstein and the Gothic Novel” / Marureen Harkin
  • Wednesday, November 17: No lecture

Week 12

  • Karl Marx, The Marx-Engels Reader, Instructor Selections. (Recommended Readings: The Communist Manifesto, The German Ideology)
  • Monday, November 22: “Marxian Thought” / Peter Steinberger
  • Wednesday, November 24: No lecture



Week 13

  • Karl Marx, The Marx-Engels Reader, Instructor Selections. (Recommended Readings: The Communist Manifesto, The German Ideology)
  • Monday, November 29: Man the Maker” / Mary Ashburn Miller
  • Wednesday, December 1: No lecture

Week 14

  • T.J. Clark, Image of the People: Gustave Courbet and the 1848 Revolution: “Chap. 5 Courbet in Ornans and Besançon 1849-50,” pp. 77-83 [formal description of Burial at Ornans and Stonebreakers]; “Chap. 6 Courbet in Dijon and Paris 1850-51,pp. 121-154 [discussion of critical response to Burial at Ornans and Stonebreakers].
  • Monday, December 6: "A Public of One or Anyone (Courbet, Art, Revolution)" / Kris Cohen
  • Wednesday, December 8 (Last Day of Classes): 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.