Monday, October 27, 2014

Syllabus for Spring 2015: Ideologies of Social Justice in the Twentieth Century

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?

Course texts:

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.

Week 1: Introduction

W, January 21: Introduction to the class

Week 2: What is Ideology?

M, Jan. 26: No class meeting
W, Jan. 28: What is ideology?: discussion of Eagleton’s book

Terry Eagleton, Ideology: A Very Brief Introduction

Week 3: Major Ideas in Political Economy I: Communism

M Feb. 2: Lecture: Communism and the Beginning of the Short Twentieth Century
W Feb. 4: Discussion

Lenin, The State and Revolution, Chapter 5,

Rosa Luxemburg, The Russian Revolution, Chapter 6, “The Problem of Dictatorship,”

Stalin’s conversation with H.G. Wells, 1934:

Week 4: Major Ideas in Political Economy II: Fascism

M Feb. 9: Lecture: The Logic of Fascism’s Rise
W Feb. 11: Discussion

Giovanni Gentile and Benito Mussolini, “The Doctrine of Fascism”

Week 5: Major Ideas in Political Economy III: Anti-fascism

W, Feb. 18: Ken Loach, Land and Freedom [film in class]

Week 6: Major Ideas in Political Economy IV: Market Fundamentalism / Conservative Libertarianism

M, Feb. 23: Lecture: What does conservatism seek to conserve?
W, Feb. 25: Discussion

Friedrich Von Hayek, The Road to Serfdom, [condensed version, pdf available], pp. 39-89

Ayn Rand, Anthem,

Week 7: Major Ideas in Political Economy V: Liberalism

M, March 2: Lecture: What is liberal about liberalism?
W, March 4: Discussion

Isaiah Berlin, “Two Concepts of Liberty”

Edward Shils, “The End of Ideology?,”

Michael Sandel, Justice, Chapter 6 on John Rawls, pp. 140-166

Week 8: The Self and the Global I: Ex-Communism

M, March 9: Lecture: Ideologies and the Cold War
W, March 11: Discussion

Czeslaw Milosz, The Captive Mind

Week 9: The Self and the Global II: Feminism

M, March 16: Lecture: The Gender Line
W, March 18: Discussion

Woolf, A Room of One’s Own [especially chapters 3 and 6]

Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex, Introduction and Chapter 1,

SPRING BREAK, March 23-27

Week 10: The Self and the Global III: Decolonization and Third World Liberation

M, March 30: Lecture: The Core and the Periphery
W, April 1: Discussion

Aimé Césaire, Discourse on Colonialism

Week 11: The Self and the Global IV: Civil rights and anti-racism

M, April 6: Lecture: The Color Line
W, April 8: Discussion

Carson (ed.), Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Week 12: Ideas Shaping the Contemporary World I: Late Neoconservatism

M, April 13: Film: Arguing the World  
W April 15: Discussion

Jeane Kirkpatrick, “Dictatorships and Double Standards”

William Kristol and Robert Kagan, “Toward a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy,” Foreign Affairs, July/August 1996,

National Security Strategy of the United States of America, 2002,

Week 13: Ideas Shaping the Contemporary World II: Environmentalism

M, April 20: Lecture: The Idea of Environmental Justice
W, April 22: Discussion

Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, pp. 1-37

Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science 162 (13 December 1968): 1243-1248.

Chris Hayes, “The New Abolitionism,”

 Week 14: Ideas Shaping the Contemporary World III: Post-libertarianism

M April 27: Lecture: The State and the Legacy of the Short Twentieth Century
W April 29: Discussion

James C. Scott, Two Cheers for Anarchism

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 without consulting 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.