CSP 50: From the Ten Commandments to the "Death of God"
Why do Homer's tales of the siege of Troy and of Odysseus returning home to Penelope still move us? Why were there virtually no feminist writers before Mary Wollstonecraft? What does Nietzsche mean when he says “God is dead”?
This 8-unit, team-taught interdisciplinary study of European culture will examine and analyze material from literature, philosophy, science, medicine, religion, the arts, and political theory. We will consider, in their historical context, such figures as the authors of the Hebrew Bible, Homer, Sappho, Hippocrates, Sophocles, Thucydides, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, the authors of The New Testament, St. Augustine, figures in medieval Islamic science and medicine, Machiavelli, Luther, Calvin, Copernicus, Kepler, Queen Elizabeth, Galileo, Descartes, Locke, Newton, Defoe, Voltaire, Rousseau, Mozart, Wollstonecraft, Napoleon, Charlotte Corday (bathtub murderess of the French Revolutionary leader Marat), Mary Shelley (author of the original Frankenstein), Balzac, Marx, Darwin, Florence Nightingale, Nietzsche (and his claim that "God is dead"), Freud, Woolf, Sartre, de Beauvoir, and Gandhi.
What does the course include?
Homer: See Achilles as he was, not as Brad Pitt!
Plato: what are those forms anyway?
Origin of the Hippocratic Oath
Antigone stands alone against the tyrant
Old Testament and the New Testament; read them for yourself!
Was Machiavelli evil?
Copernicus and Galileo against the Catholic Church
Read Robinson Crusoe!
Read Voltaire's Candide!
Listen to Mozart's music!
Mary Wollstonecraft: the first feminist!
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein!
What did Marx mean by alienation?
Darwin's natural selection, still controversial!
Why did Nietzsche say "god is dead!"?
Freud on dangers of the id!
Virginia Woolf on 20th century feminism!
What is Sartre's existentialism?
Gandhi and the end to european imperialism
Professor Nina Gelbart (History) has taught at Occidental since 1975. Her teaching specialties are early modern European history, French Enlightenment and Revolution, women’s history, and the history of science and medicine. She is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Graham L. Sterling Memorial Award, and is the author of Feminine and Opposition Journalism in Old Regime France: Le Journal des Dames (1987) and The King’s Midwife: A History and Mystery of Madame du Coudray (1998), as well as numerous articles.
Professor Roger Boesche (Politics) specializes in the history of European and American political thought. He has won the Loftsgordon Award twice, the Graham L. Sterling Memorial Award, and the Linda and Todd White Teaching Prize. He has published many articles and books, including Theories of Tyranny: From Plato to Arendt (1996), The First Great Political Realist: Kautilya and His Arthashastra (2002), and Tocqueville's Road Map: Methodology, Liberalism, Revolution, and Despotism (2006).
Students wishing to take CSP 50 during Spring 2014 should send a short email to email@example.com expressing interest.
Johnson Hall-McKinnon Center
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