TTC Audio - European Thought and Culture in the 19th Century
The Teaching Company | Audio Book | English | MP3 128kbps | 350Mb
Course Number 4423-24 lectures (30 minutes/lecture)
Taught by: Professor Lloyd Kramer-The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Explore the major thinkers and historic challenges that shaped the mind of Europe in the 19th century
Intellectual history emphasizes the exchanges of ideas and debates that went on among people from other places and times, but it also stresses the importance of a continuing dialogue between the present and the past
This course in intellectual history, therefore, seeks to expand your own capacity for engaging in informed "dialogue" with the intellectual world of 19th-century Europe-a world whose thoughts are still powerful forces in the cultural, intellectual, and political debates of the early 21st century
In fact, 19th-century Europe was the crucible for most of the ideas, institutions, and "isms" that now shape the life of our whole planet: nationalism, capitalism, democracy, socialism, conservatism, liberalism, feminism, bureaucracy . . . the list goes on
Thought and Life from the French Revolution
to the Fin de Si cle
How did these ideas begin? Who first thought of them, and why? How did the particular conditions of Europe between the French Revolution and the First World War shape these thinkers' thoughts, the thoughts of their critics, the progress of the debates that went on between them, and the wider hearing that all received?
Professor Lloyd Kramer takes a judicious, dynamic approach. Through his lectures you can follow the ebbs and flows of European thought during this seminal period
Ideas and Social Experience
Professor Kramer's goal throughout is to help you deepen your understanding of the ideas of influential 19th-century European intellectuals, to reflect on the interactions between ideas and social experience, and to think critically and creatively about how the ideas of 19th-century Europe's leading thinkers and writers still raise a host of cogent questions for our own time
To make for the most comprehensive treatment possible within a 24-lecture framework, you will examine famous thinkers such as Marx, Darwin, and Nietzsche, and also a number of important but less well remembered figures such as the Romantic author Germaine de Sta l, the positivist August Comte, the novelist and feminist George Sand, the political theorist Benjamin Constant, and more
In no case does Professor Kramer treat a thinker in isolation. Instead, each is placed in a context and linked to other creative thinkers as well as the major issues of the time
Consciousness and Context
In inviting you to view intellectual history as a series of overlapping, interconnected dialogues, Professor Kramer assumes both that ideas-like Hegel's, for example-shape history and that social, political, and economic realities such as the Industrial Revolution also play a role in affecting how ideas appear, gain influence, and become, like Hegel's thoughts, historical forces in their own right
This "both/and" approach allows you as a student to avoid the twin dangers of reductionism, which collapses consciousness into context, and abstraction, which ignores the connection between ideas and the full complexity of lived human experience
While important texts cannot be said simply to "reflect" the contexts in which they appear, it remains true that creative thinkers have always interpreted and reacted to the concrete historical world in which they live
From this course you can learn to grasp in detail precisely how that process of interpretation, redefinition, and "dialogue" with reality takes place in the still-vibrant works of many of the best minds that modern European civilization has ever produced
Three Dialogues: Enlightenment, Revolution
and the City
Your approach to the topic is organized around three key themes:
the response by educated Europeans to the cultural legacy of the Enlightenment
the questions raised by the massive social and political impact of the French Revolution and its aftermath, and finally
the broad issue of the Industrial Revolution and the challenges posed on many levels by the rise of modern urban, industrial mass society
After laying out basic premises and explaining what makes intellectual history a distinct field of study, Professor Kramer offers three lectures exploring the 18th-century Enlightenment, its legacy, and its connection to the French Revolution, which is still the "framing event" for modern political life. (Did you know that the terms "left," "right," and "ideology" all come from Revolutionary France?)
At that point, you turn to a set of six lectures that recount the emergence of political and cultural theories that writers such as Burke, Goethe, Bentham, Fichte, and Herder offered in response to the Enlightenment and the Revolution. These ideas shaped the famous "isms"-conservatism, liberalism, nationalism, romanticism, etc.-which interpreted the new post-Revolutionary social and political world, and which remain current today as the symbols we use to organize our reality
Industrialism, Feminism, and the Problem of
Beginning with Lecture 11, you turn to the cultural impact of the other great upheaval of the era, the Industrial Revolution. Interpretations of the new economy ranged from the pro-capitalist responses of classical economists to the critiques of various strains of socialism. You'll have a chance to examine the full range, from Adam Smith to Karl Marx
This section also includes, in Lectures 15 and 16, a consideration of the movement for human rights in the new industrial society, including the rights of women as championed by John Stuart Mill and George Sand
Modern, urban "mass" societies raised cultural problems beyond the large institutional questions about economic and political arrangements. What was the individual's place in this new impersonal, rationalized world? Would new forms of literature come forth to describe it? Should positive science, or perhaps history, be the key to understanding and guiding the human situation? Was heroism still possible?
Closing the Circle
The European dialogue touched on all these issues and more. Professor Kramer shows particularly impressive range and mastery here as he analyzes the contributions of everyone from John Stuart Mill, Alexis de Tocqueville, and Matthew Arnold to Fedor Dostoyevsky, Gustave Flaubert, Herbert Spencer, and Auguste Comte
The section and the course close with a talk on Friedrich Nietzsche. Professor Kramer explains how you can use Nietzsche's thought as a vantage point from which to look forward to the 20th-century themes that already preoccupied Nietzsche, as well as back to the dialogue with the Enlightenment that Nietzsche had in mind as he formulated his own view of what he called "the crisis of European civilization."
Lecture 1: What is Intellectual History?
Lecture 2: The Scientific Origins of the Enlightenment
Lecture 3: The Emergence of the Modern Intellectual
Lecture 4: The Cultural Meaning of the French Revolution
Lecture 5: The New Conservatism in Post-Revolutionary Europe
Lecture 6: The New German Philosophy
Lecture 7: Hegel's Philosophical Conception of History
Lecture 8: The New Liberalism
Lecture 9: The Literary Culture of Romanticism
Lecture 10: The Meaning of the "Romantic Hero"
Lecture 11: The Industrial Revolution and Classical Economics
Lecture 12: Early Critiques of Industrial Capitalism
Lecture 13: Hegelianism and the Young Marx
Lecture 14: Marx's Social Critique
Lecture 15: Feminism in Nineteenth- Century Culture
Lecture 16: Women's Rights in a Man's World
Lecture 17: Tocqueville and Mill: Rethinking Liberal Theory
Lecture 18: Nationalisms and National Identities
Lecture 19: The Novel as Art and Social Criticism
Lecture 20: Science and Its Literary Critics
Lecture 21: Charles Darwin and the New Biology
Lecture 22: The Controversies of Social Darwinism
Lecture 23: The Heroic Critic in Mass Society
Lecture 24: Nietzsche's Critique of European Culture
Why Intellectual History?
By Professor Lloyd Kramer
"I came to the subject of European intellectual history in the 1970s, after teaching for two years in Hong Kong. Seeing how ideas that first emerged in modern Europe had spread so widely around the globe, I wanted to understand the history of those ideas and of the writers who developed them, not just because they were European, but because they had an extraordinary global influence
"So this course I've prepared will examine the history of ideas and cultural contexts in the Europe of the 19th century. We will trace the ideas and the influence of writers starting with Voltaire and Rousseau in the late 18th century and ending with Friedrich Nietzsche, who died in 1900
"Intellectual history is the branch of historical studies that deals most explicitly with systems of interpretation and meaning. It takes as its object of study the ideas and symbols that humans use to make sense of their world, and it starts from the premise that we can never have meaningful experiences without the language and ideas that explain and interpret them
"This language can appear in 'great books'-this course, for example, discusses famous authors-or in everyday discourse. But even our mundane conversations draw on intellectual history, whether we know it or not
"The types of history which deal with more 'objective' material can recount and analyze historical events, but they do not say much about how the people who lived through those events explained them to themselves and others. This is the province of intellectual history: the study of ideas that people use to explain their world
"Intellectual history requires that we take the ideas of the past seriously, allowing them to raise questions about our own preferred ways of seeing the world. What we do in this course, in a sense, is to enter into a dialogue with the greatest writers of the past
"While we do that, we should keep in mind that all of our present interpretations of reality have a history. Intellectual history is not just a subject that we study; it is, rather, something that we live, something very close to the heart of human experience itself."
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