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Lorraine and Tom Pangle, Co-Directors BAT 2.116, C4100, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-6648

Tracie M. Matysik

Associate Professor Ph.D., 2001, Cornell University

Associate Professor of History

CTI 335 • Marx And Western Marxism

34195 • Fall 2014
Meets MW 600pm-730pm GAR 3.116
(also listed as EUS 346, HIS 362G, PHL 334K )
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This course introduces students to the writings of Karl Marx as well as to those of his westernintellectual successors in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It will treat the nineteenthcenturycontext of industrialization and democratization in Europe in which Marx formulated hissocial, political, and philosophical critique, as well as the theoretical and philosophical legacythat followed through the twentieth century. The course will not focus on Soviet Marxism, butwill examine how western Marxism’s critique of capital evolved in complex relationship to theexistence of Soviet Marxism. We will spend roughly eight weeks reading Marx’s writings, andthen seven weeks reading his western intellectual successors (including writings from RosaLuxemburg, Georg Lukács, Walther Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, Antonio Gramsci, Jean-PaulSartre, Louis Althusser, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, and Slavoj Žižek). Students shouldexpect to read significant amounts of philosophy and social theory.

Texts:

Robert C. Tucker, ed., The Marx-Engels Reader, 2nd edition (New York: Norton, 1978).Vincent Barnett, Marx (New York: Routledge, 2009).

Grading:

First paper: 25%

Second paper: 25%

Option II or III: 10- to 12-page paper: 50%

Final Journal: 30%!Class Presentation: 10%

Participation (including attendance and also sustained constructive contribution to classdiscussion): 10%

CTI 335 • Sacred/Sec In Mod Euro Thought

34204 • Fall 2014
Meets MW 400pm-530pm GAR 3.116
(also listed as HIS 362G, R S 357 )
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Europe was long thought to have undergone a process of “secularization” in the modern era, beginning roughly with the sixteenth century and becoming largely unstoppable by the nineteenth.  According to this narrative, “God” was supposed to have slowly disappeared from the political, social, and cultural arenas; the supernatural, the divine, and the sacred were supposed to have receded from daily life; and the European world was supposed to have found itself  “disenchanted.”  More recently, however, historians and critical theorists have begun to reassess this story, finding instead mutually-evolving processes of disenchantment and re-enchantment, as new formations of the divine and the sacred appeared on the intellectual and emotive landscape.  Some theorists now talk about “varieties of secularism” at play in the modern world, while others have resuscitated a language of “political theology” to discuss the ever-complicated relationship between the state, sovereignty, power, and the sacred or divine.

This course will introduce students to key themes and methodologies of intellectual history and social theory by exploring the dueling approaches to secularization and sacralization in modern European thought.  In the first two weeks, we will read recent theoretical works on the sacred and the secular (essays from Peter Berger, Simon Critchley, Charles Taylor, and others).  With theoretical tools in hand, we will turn to the period between 1800 and 1945 to read classic works in philosophy and social theory that thematize the sacred and the secular.  Drawing on founding works in social and human sciences (from sociology,  psychoanalysis, philosophy and beyond), we will investigate related sub-themes of violence, sacrifice, ritual,  redemption, the sublime, and transcendence.  We will also discuss select artworks from the Romantic period through Surrealism as a means to enhance our discussion of these themes. 

Central to our concerns will be the sacred and secular formations of modern ethics.  We will observe on the one hand how modern thinkers have sought to establish ethical systems on purely immanent and secular grounds, even as they intentionally or unintentionally retained notions of the divine and the sacred (e.g., Immanuel Kant’s Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone).  On the other hand, we will grapple with explicitly religious works that nonetheless establish ethics on what might seem like secular-humanist foundations (e.g., Søren Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling).  We will read works that seek to explicate the structure of religions and their guidelines for comportment according to social categories of the sacred and profane or the taboo (Émile Durkheim’s Elementary Forms of Religion; Roger Caillois’s Man and the Sacred; Sigmund Freud’s Totem and Taboo); and we will read works that seek to rediscover and/or re-insert the sacred into the modern and profane world (e.g., George Bataille’s Theory of Religion; Walter Benjamin’s “Critique of Violence” and “Theses on the Philosophy of History”; Franz Rosenzweig’s Star of Redemption). 

The course lends itself naturally to the requirements of the Flag in Ethics and Global Leadership.  Our readings themselves concentrate on the question of the secular and sacred foundations of ethical systems and decisions.  As a final project, worth 35% of the grade, students will be asked to identify and analyze a sacred, secular, or taboo function that governs moral presuppositions.  They may find such a function represented in a film, a novel, an artwork, a legal decision, a U.N. declaration, etc.  Their task will not be to assess whether or not the practice is “right” or “good” or “ethical,” but rather to analyze the practice in terms of its (usually unstated) sacred, secular, taboo, or ritual context.  They will be asked to ground their analysis in one or more of our core readings.

Texts:

Immanuel Kant, Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone (excerpt)

G. W. F. Hegel, Philosophy of History (excerpt from the introduction)

Søren Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling

Friedrich Nietzsche, Genealogy of Morality (Books I and II) (but may substitute The Gay

            Science, Book IV)

Émile Durkheim, Elementary Forms of Religion (selections)

Roger Caillois, Man and the Sacred (selections)

George Bataille, Theory of Religion (selections)

Sigmund Freud, Totem and Taboo (selections)

—, “The Uncanny”

Franz Rosenzweig, Star of Redemption (selections)

Simon Critchley, Faith of the Faithless (selections)

Peter Berger, Desecularization of the World (introduction)

Judith Butler, Jürgen Habermas, Charles Taylor, and Cornell West, The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere

Grading:

Journal                         10%

Short Essay 1                        20%

Short Essay 2                        20%

Final Essay                           35%

Class Participation                  15%

CTI 310 • Reason & Its Discontents

34075 • Spring 2013
Meets MW 330pm-500pm BIO 301
(also listed as EUS 306, HIS 317N )
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This course introduces students to themes  and methods  in the study  of European Intellectual History. We will address what it means to read philosophy and social theory  in historical context, understanding close reading  as historical  methodology. In terms  of chronological focus, the course will concentrate on the modern  era broadly understood, roughly  1600-present. We will examine  how reason came to be a dominant and contested category  of philosophical inquiry in the seventeenth century and then follow  its vicissitudes into the twentieth century. Along the way we will witness the embrace  and rejection of what has come to be known  as the "Enlightenment tradition." Readings will be primarily philosophical and socia l ­ theoreticaI.

 

Readings (subject to change):

 

Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy

Baruch Spinoza, Short Treatise  on God, Man, and His Well-Being

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

Friedrich  Nietzsche, On the Birth  of Tragedy

Jurgen Habermas, selections

Michel Foucault, Madness and Civilization

 

 

Grading:

Short  paper (four  pages): 25°/o

Short  paper (four  pages): 30°/o

Final exam:  35°/o

Participation: 10°/o

CTI 335 • Spinoza And Modernity

34115 • Spring 2013
Meets T 500pm-800pm GAR 0.128
(also listed as EUS 346, HIS 362G, J S 364, PHL 354 )
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Baruch Spinoza, the seventeenth-century Dutch-Jewish philosopher of Portuguese descent, has been alternately labeled the instigator of the “radical enlightenment” (Jonathan Israel), the “renegade Jew who gave us modernity” (Rebecca Goldstein), the betrayer of the Jewish tradition (Hermann Cohen), a “savage anomaly” in the western intellectual tradition (Antonio Negri), and the theorist of the one kind of god in which a physicist of the twentieth century might conceivably believe (Albert Einstein).  In his own seventeenth-century Amsterdam context, his writings – and even mere rumor of them – were enough to earn him full excommunication from the Jewish community.  Yet in subsequent centuries those scandalous writings have become a crucial chapter in histories of western philosophy.  G. W. F. Hegel, for instance, would argue that only after Spinoza could one really begin to philosophize properly.  This course will introduce students to the core of Spinoza’s writings that have produced such diverse reactions over the centuries, as well as to exemplary moments in those reactions.  We will examine Spinoza’s refusal of a transcendent god or ideal, as well as of the mind-body dualism so prominent in western thought, understanding along the way the unique intellectual modernity he made possible. Reading

Baruch Spinoza, “Ethics”; “Theological-Political Treatise”; and “Political Treatise,” all in Spinoza: Complete Works, ed. Michael Morgan, trans. Samuel Shirley (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 2002), ISBN: 0872206203.

Genevieve Lloyd, Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Spinoza and the Ethics (New York:  Routledge, 1996), ISBN:  0415107822.

 

Grading (using the +/- rubric):

  • 12- to 15-page paper: 45% (includes evaluation of outline and/or draft)
  • Presentation: 20%
  • Final Journal: 25% (includes credit for timely submission of quality response papers)
  • Participation: 10% (includes attendance and regular and constructive contribution to class discussion)

CTI 335 • Marx And Western Marxism

33946 • Fall 2012
Meets T 500pm-800pm GAR 2.128
(also listed as EUS 346, HIS 362G )
show description

This course introduces students to the writings of Karl Marx as well as to those of his westernintellectual successors in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It will treat the nineteenthcenturycontext of industrialization and democratization in Europe in which Marx formulated hissocial, political, and philosophical critique, as well as the theoretical and philosophical legacythat followed through the twentieth century. The course will not focus on Soviet Marxism, butwill examine how western Marxism’s critique of capital evolved in complex relationship to theexistence of Soviet Marxism. We will spend roughly eight weeks reading Marx’s writings, andthen seven weeks reading his western intellectual successors (including writings from RosaLuxemburg, Georg Lukács, Walther Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, Antonio Gramsci, Jean-PaulSartre, Louis Althusser, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, and Slavoj Žižek). Students shouldexpect to read significant amounts of philosophy and social theory.

 

GRADING (using the +/- system)

First paper: 25%

Second paper: 25%

Option II or III: 10- to 12-page paper: 50%

Final Journal: 30%!Class Presentation: 10%

Participation (including attendance and also sustained constructive contribution to classdiscussion): 10%

TEXTS

Robert C. Tucker, ed., The Marx-Engels Reader, 2nd edition (New York: Norton, 1978).Vincent Barnett, Marx (New York: Routledge, 2009).

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