Myth and Modernity
The aim of this course is to present masterpieces of German modernism as they reflect on the radical shifts in society, thought, and culture that occurred with the rise of the sciences, the industrial revolution, and the political transformations that began around the 18th century.Discussing some of the most impressive achievements of German and European modernism, we will consider the changing notions regarding the human condition in light of changes in all realms of life, starting with life-expectancy itself. We will trace how different writers and thinkers expended our philosophical and cultural vocabularies to address modernity; and we will place a special emphasis the on-going tension between what has been seen by Weber and others as the modern “disenchantment of the world” and the allures of myth, religion, and a desire to belong to a primordial community. Thus, this course encourages you to think about the momentous pull of myth and modernity not only as a historical topic that may offer insights into the course of German history and culture, but rather as a facet of modern life and culture itself. Presenting German modernism at its best, this course also wishes to advance the participants’ own expressive and creative abilities. Thus, partaking in class discussion and contributing to the class’ blog are essential components of successful participation.