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GEC3101 Adventures In Ideas: Intellectual Life in the United States since 1865: Home

Course Description

This course examines American intellectuals and the intellectual life of Americans and provides a comprehensive look at developments in the arts, philosophy, political theory, science, and social criticism in the United States from the end of the Civil War to the present. Students will read the texts of influential thinkers and writers, situate their lives and their thought within an array of intellectual movements, and explore how intellectuals formed the worlds of late nineteenth- and twentieth-century Americans. This course also addresses a number of interrelated issues in modern (1865-present) America: the changing relationship between religious and scientific components of culture, with a specific emphasis on Darwinism; the effects of industrialization on ideas about American society; conceptions of race, ethnicity, and gender; the “duty” of the intellectual; liberalism, conservatism, existentialism, and postmodernism; the culture wars; and the meaning of American identity. 

Recommended Books

The Battle for the American Mind: A Brief History of A Nation’s Thought

This book is organized both chronologically and thematically. Richard argues that there have been three philosophies in the history of the Western World, and that each of these philosophies has dominated American thought at one time or another. These three philosophies are presented in three units respectively, Theism given birth to by the rise of Christianity in the first century A.D. while degenerated in the eighteenth century, Humanism risen in the eighteenth century, and Skepticism that eclipsed humanism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The last unit of this book discusses American though after World War II, which is defined as an age of confusion.

Recommended Databases