Political Economy 160
Ideologies of Social Justice in the Twentieth Century
Professor Patrick Iber
Spring 2015 / MW 4-5:30 / 56 Barrows
Office Hours: Stephens 140; Friday 12-2
The twentieth century has been called the “century of the intellectual” because of the important role that men and women of letters played in debating, creating, and legitimizing the intense ideological conflict that defined the era. This course will use their writings to examine the ideological foundations of the century’s major political movements: from Communism, fascism, and libertarianism to feminism and anti-colonialism. How did each movement define social justice and injustice? What historical circumstances created and shaped their beliefs? And what should we learn from the bloody twentieth century’s debates about political economy when thinking about what we should do in the twenty-first?
Terry Eagleton, Ideology: An Introduction, Verso, 2007, ISBN 1844671437, 978-1844671434, $25.
Csezlaw Milosz, The Captive Mind, Vintage, 1990, ISBN 0679728562, 978-0679728566, $13.
Clayborne Carson (ed.), The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr., Warner Books, 2001, ISBN 0446676500, 978-0446676502, $16.
Aimé Césaire, Discourse on Colonialism, Monthly Review Press, 2001, ISBN 1583670254, 978-1583670255, $10.
James C. Scott, Two Cheers for Anarchism, Princeton University Press, 2014, ISBN 0691161038, 978-0691161037, $13.
SPRING BREAK, March 23-27
RRR Week, May 4-8
Final paper due: May 15
Insofar as grades interfere with your learning, you should ignore them. The most important thing you can do in a semester is to work to improve as a reader, writer, and thinker. But since we must do grades, this is how they will be determined:
1) Participation: 24%. Good participation is thoughtful and considerate of your role within a community of learners.
2) 11%: discussion document. Once during the semester, you will sign up to bring in a primary document relevant to that week’s readings. It could be a piece of art, music, or a document, but it should be carefully chosen to illuminate a significant debate or dilemma regarding the ideology under examination that week. You can send it to me to be displayed on screen, or you can make copies, depending on what would be appropriate. You will briefly explain your object to the class (just two or three minutes, please!) and pose a question for brief discussion. One presentation will take place at the end of Monday’s class, and one at the beginning of discussion on Wednesday.
3) 32%: two short papers. Twice during the semester, you will write a short paper of approximately 4 pages (1000 words). At least one of the papers needs to be done by week seven of the class. The short paper should imagine what that week’s thinkers would identify as one of the major problems facing the world today, and how they would want to respond to that challenge. I will comment on your first paper and grade it on a credit/no credit basis. The second paper will be given a letter grade.
4) 33% final project. Your final should be a medium-length research project. You can present it either as a traditional paper, as a web site, or as an art project. Written projects should be about 12-15 pages or the online equivalent. One possible final project would involve finding an intellectual or literary review. Examine it in its most important year(s). What was its project, politically and aesthetically? How did it expect to achieve its goals? Who contributed to it and why? As a useful exercise, I would encourage you to do this withoutconsulting the secondary literature. An alternative final paper structure would involve writing a short intellectual biography of a person of interest to you. An art project or performance is a riskier final and would have to be connected directly to the themes of the class. Whatever you choose, please make the time to visit me at least briefly during office hours to talk about your plans.