The Global Enlightenment: 18th-20th cent. Literature (LIT2563.01) (day/time updated as of 5/10/2024)

Mariam Rahmani

This course takes a comparative approach to the global Enlightenment. Exploring ideas of the human and humanity developed across the world at this period, we pursue the idea that forms of difference such as race, gender, and sexuality became essential to defining “human” and “humanity.” Indeed our contemporary world grapples with this legacy. We ask: who is allowed to be fully human? What are the contours of humanity? What sorts of behaviors and ways of thinking must we learn to be fully human?

The course is divided into two units, the first on European colonialism, and the second on Persian imperialism. Juxtaposing colonialism and imperialism allows us to understand the intricacies of how power works, and how forms of difference are made. Colonialism is a form of imperialism; it mechanizes imperialism to make it work more efficiently. Our work is not to make generalizations but to pay close attention to how race, gender, and sexuality shift along axes of time and geography—and also to track when and how certain structures remain intact. In short, nineteenth-century Europe is not the same as twentieth-century Euro-America is not the same as twentieth-century Iran. And yet there is a genealogy here: each one borrows from those before, and concurrent to it.

Learning Outcomes:
- Learn to analyze the ways concepts of difference like race, gender, and sexuality are constructed and used to organize human society, including the modern nation-state (i.e., England, Iran, America, Nigeria, etc., to name just several whose literature we read). We will work as a group to sharpen our individual analytic skills. (Socopolitical analysis)

- Learn how to think about the relationship between form and content and that between craft and politics, to name two central issues. (Literary analysis)

- Hone your writing composition. We will work on devising an argument, including identifying a thesis and its stakes and arguing in support for that thesis using clear evidence.

- Optional work in translation. Final projects might be translating a relevant text rather than writing an argumentative essay.

Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Course Level: 2000-level
Credits: 4
T/F 2:10PM - 4:00PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 20
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years

Categories: 2000 , All courses , Day/Time Changes , Four Credit , Fully In-Person , Literature , Updates
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