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Coursera The Modern and the Postmodern (Part 2)

Wesleyan University via Coursera

  • Overview
  1. Coursera
    Wesleyan University
    3-5 hours a week
    9 weeks
    Paid Certificate Available
    This course examines how the idea of "the modern" develops at the end of the 18th century in European philosophy and literature, and how being modern (or progressive, or hip) became one of the crucial criteria for understanding and evaluating cultural change. Are we still in modernity, or have we moved beyond the modern to the postmodern?

    Course Pages

    Intensity and the Ordinary: Sex, Death, Aggression and Guilt
    With a focus on Civilization and its Discontents, we examine how Freud’s theories tried to expose profound instincts as they appeared in daily life.

    Intensity and the Ordinary: Art, Loss, Forgiveness
    A reading of Virginia Woolf’s modernist novel To the Lighthouse shows how giving up the search for the “really real” can liberate one to attend to the everyday.

    The Postmodern Everyday
    We go back to Ralph Waldo Emerson and forward to Ludwig Wittgenstein to consider how forms of life and language games need to foundation to be compelling.

    From Critical Theory to Postmodernism
    Through a consideration of Max Horkheimer & Theodor Adorno along with Michel Foucault, we confront the philosophical effort to escape from totality in order to understand the politics of control.

    Paintings II
    A very brief consideration of how artists are responding to the loss of foundations to produce work that redefines art.

    Postmodern Identities
    We examine short pieces by Judith Butler and Slavjo Zizek to understand how identities get formed (and performed) in a world without foundations.

    Late-term Review
    Review of all the thinkers we have studied in Parts I and II of the class, along with some complementary material.

    Postmodern Pragmatisms
    After postmodern playfulness, or alongside it, we see the resurgence of the pragmatic impulse to return philosophy to real human problems.

    Extra (Optional) Writing Assignment

    Taught by
    Michael Roth

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