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Intellectual Heritage - Democracy, Power and Oppression

Following is the design for a ten-week segment of Intellectual Heritage which will introduce students in a systematic way to fundamental concepts of democracy, power and oppression in historical context.  The course will be structured around nine topics related to the central theme, such as absolutism, totalitarianism, and democracy.  During the course students will be asked to read excerpts from seminal texts and be prepared to summarize them and discuss their pertinent aspects with the assistance and participation of the instructor.  At least fifty percent of class time will be devoted to discussion.  The remaining class time will be taken up with lectures, films, presentations and other activities designed to supplement students' knowledge of the historical and social milieu of the writers in question.   Works of art may be used as resources in this course.

Each student will be asked to engage in an independent research project on a topic related to the central theme of the course.  Students will be required to write papers and/or reviews, deliver oral presentations and write essay examinations on topics.

Outline

  1. The Birth of Democracy in Ancient Greece

  2. Absolutism and its Vicissitudes

  3. Challenge to Absolutism

  4. The Rebirth of Democracy in the Modern Age

  5. Individual Freedom

  6. The Economic Basis of Society

  7. Imperialism and the Rise of Nationalism

  8. Fascism

  9. Communism

 

 

 

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