History A112-01H/History A242 Ideology and Violence: The Origins of the Modern World, 1500 Present Fall Semester 2010-2011 t th, 14: 15– 15: 30 Xavier Hall, 128

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History A112-01H/History A242

Ideology and Violence: The Origins of the Modern World, 1500 - Present

Fall Semester 2010-2011

T TH, 14:15– 15:30

Xavier Hall, 128
Dr. Mark Edward Ruff

Department of History

St. Louis University

Office: Humanities Building #323

Office Hours: T, Th: 3:30-4:30 (and by appointment)

Telephone: 977-7140

E-mail: ruff@slu.edu

Course Description:
Why do certain sets of ideas and beliefs inspire conflict, while others seemingly do not? What are the consequences when individuals and groups attempt to restructure and transform societies to conform to ideological precepts? Even more to the point: why will men and women commit acts of horrifying violence, even genocide, in the name of certain ideologies? Are the ideas responsible for the violence, or do certain types of individuals gravitate to such militant ideologies and create networks that achieve homicidal aims?
To answer these questions, this course will scrutinize those conflicts that took shape from the 1500s to the present in the name of ideology and religion. It will begin with the European conquest of the Americas and the wars of religion in the 16th and 17th centuries. It will then examine the reaction to this era of upheaval: the Enlightenment of the 18th century, which introduced a secular, rational, anti-clerical and scientific outlook. It will then examine ideologies that are sometimes regarded as the ideological children of the Enlightenment: liberalism, socialism and fascism. Finally and most pressingly, it will look at the challenges posed by religious movements to the ideals of the Enlightenment from the 18th century onward, culminating with the growth of fundamentalist religious movements in the second half of the 20th century, and, in particular, radical Islam.

Course Objectives:

  1. To gain an understanding of the major ideological movements in the Western world since 1500, and in particular, western liberalism.

  2. To assess the extent to which ideological conflict has been a determining factor in warfare and genocide in the Western world.

  3. To provide potential answers on how to resolve ideological conflict.

  4. To wrestle with the question of which individuals are more likely to gravitate towards extremist positions and commit violent acts in the name of an ideology.

Books for purchase:

Kirkpatrick Sale, The Conquest of Paradise

Montesquieu, The Persian Letters

Susan Dunn, Sister Revolutions

Adam Hochschild, King Leopold’s Ghost

Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto

James Waller, Becoming Evil: How Ordinary People commit Genocide and Mass Killing

Sayyid Qutb, Milestones

Optional Textbook: Lynn Hunt, The Making of the West, ISBN 978-0-312-55460-6. This textbook is optional. It is for those who would like a fuller account of what we will be discussing in class.

The Battle of Algiers
Midterm Examination: 20%

Final Examination: 20%

Classroom participation: 15%

Papers: 45% (15% each)


You will write three papers of 3-4 pages each that will be based on the readings in class.

For these papers, you are to use Times New Roman front, Size #12 and margins of one inch. Please note that I will be grading papers not only for content but for style, organization and grammar. You will also submit an electronic version of your papers to turnitin.com. The class name is A112-Honors, the class ID is 3392169, and the password is A112honors.
This course will use the grading scale used by the College of Arts and Sciences. If a paper is turned in late, one letter grade will be deducted for each day that the paper has not been received. The only exceptions are documented medical emergencies and deaths in the family.
Midterm Examination:
The midterm examination will be a take home examination. It will be given to you on Tuesday, October 12, and is to be returned to me at the start of class on Thursday, October 14.
Final Examination:
The final examination will take place on Tuesday, December 14 at 12:45 pm. The format will be identical to that of the midterm exam.

Class Participation:
It is imperative that you read the materials faithfully and diligently, attend class regularly and participate in classroom discussions. 30% of your grade will based on a mixture of classroom participation, attendance, and faithfulness in reading the required assignments. Unexcused absences from class will lower your grade for class participation.

Field Trips:

We will take several field trips this semester, including a trip to the Holocaust Museum in Creve Coeur and to the Missouri Historical Society. There will also a possible trip to the St. Louis Museum of Art, pending availability of museum docents.

Academic Honesty: This course will strictly uphold the college’s policy on academic honesty. This policy, which defines cheating, falsification, plagiarism, sabotage, and collusion, is to be found at the following web site: http://www.slu.edu/x12657.xml. All cases of academic dishonesty will be punished with a grade of a zero for the assignment.

ADA Statement: “Saint Louis University opens its programs and educational services to all qualified candidates without regard to their disability. All programs and services provided for students are done in a manner that does not discriminate based on disability. Inaccessible programs will be made accessible either directly or through relocation. Individuals requiring accommodations for student programs should contact the Director of Student Life.” (College of Arts and Sciences Handbook, St. Louis University).

Schedule of Classes and Readings:
Week I: Aug. 24, 26

Course Introduction: What is Ideology? European Conquests

Readings: Kirkpatrick Sale, The Conquest of Paradise, 1-240.

Optional Reading: Hunt, 408-433.

Week II: Aug. 31, Sept. 2

The Reformation and the Wars of Religion

Readings: Natalie Zenon Davis, “The Rites of Violence,” available at: http://www.cas.sc.edu/hist/faculty/edwardsk/hist310/reader/davis.pdf.

Readings: Reformation documents – to be emailed

Optional Reading: Hunt, 437-479.
Week III: Sep. 7, 9

The Scientific Revolution

Readings: Galileo, Letter to Queen Christina, available at:


Week IV: Sep. 14, 16

The Enlightenment

Readings: Montesquieu, The Persian Letters (excerpts)

Readings: Rousseau, excerpts from The Social Contract

Optional Reading: Hunt, 552-592

Week V: Sep. 21, 23

The French and American Revolutions

Readings: Susan Dunn, Sister Revolutions

Readings: Edmund Burke (excerpts from Reflections on the Revolution in France)

Optional Reading: Hunt, 592-637

September 21: Paper #1 Due.
Week VI: Sep. 28, 30

Liberalism and Conservatism

Readings: John Stuart Mill (excerpts from On Liberty)

Optional Reading: Hunt, 639-681.

Sept. 30: Trip to Missouri Historical Society to examine papers on the 1848ers
Week VII: Oct. 5, 7

Industrialization and Socialism

Readings: Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto

Optional reading: Hunt, 639-681

Week VIII: Oct. 12, 14

Nationalism and Social Darwinism

Readings: Excerpts from Mazzini, The Duties of Man and the Pan German Leagues (to be emailed)

Optional reading: Hunt, 683-727

October 12: Distribution of Midterm Examination

October 14: Midterm exam to be submitted at the start of class
Week IX: Oct. 21


Readings: King Leopold’s Ghost (excerpts)

Readings: Cecil Rhodes, Confession of Faith

Optional Reading: Hunt, 729-777
Week X: Oct. 26, 28

The Bolshevik Revolution and Stalinism

Readings: Documents on Stalinism

Optional Reading: Hunt, 779-802

October 26, Paper #2 Due
Week XI: Nov. 2, 4


Film: Triumph of the Will (excerpts to be shown in class)

Documents: Nazi and Fascist Party Documents

Optional Reading: Hunt, 803-867
Week XII: Nov. 9, 11


Readings: James Waller, Becoming Evil: How Ordinary People commit Genocide and Mass Killing

Nov 9: Trip to the Holocaust Museum of St. Louis
Week XIII: Nov. 16, 18

Decolonization and The Cold War

Film: The Battle of Algiers

Readings: Frantz Fanon, excerpts from The Wretched of the Earth

Optional Reading: Hunt, 869-907
Week XIV: Nov. 23

Radical Islam

Paper #3 Due
Week: XV: Nov. 30, Dec. 1

Radical Islam

Readings: Sayyid Qutb, Milestones

Dec. 1: Class Dinner
Week XVI: No classes or examinations
Week XVII: Dec. 14, 2:00 pm

Final examination

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