Sos 226-02, Fall 2008 Mike Wakeford

Download 23.12 Kb.
Size23.12 Kb.
SOS 226-02, Fall 2008 Mike Wakeford

Modern US Intellectual History Office: 221 Gray

MWF 9AM-9:50AM, Gray 301 phone: 631-1507

Office Hours: Mon & Wed 10-11 am and by app’t

This is a course about ideas and arguments that have persisted across time. Over the course of the term, the course will introduce students to the main currents of American intellectual thought from the late 19th century through the 20th century. Key topics will include on evolutionary science’s impact on American social thought, modernist challenges to Victorian social and cultural norms, key intellectual statements regarding racial, gender, and economic inequality, the emergence of “pragmatic” philosophy and its refashioning of the liberal tradition, responses to industrial-corporate capitalism, and contestation over what it means to be an “American.” The course will then move to consider the main lines of debate around post-WWII corporate-liberalism, the role of intellectuals in the Cold War, debates over the implications of “mass” culture, the rise of the New Left and countercultural responses to modernity, and new politics of multiculturalism, identity politics, and their myriad critical responses. Above all, perhaps, the question of “What is freedom?” looms over all of the term’s readings.

  • Hollinger and Capper, eds., The American Intellectual Tradition, Vol. II, 1865-Present

  • Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward, 2000-1887.

  • All other readings will either be handed out in class or available for download at the course website:

  • YOU MUST bring paper copies of readings to class on the day/s they are being discussed.

Learning Outcomes/Course Objectives:

By the end of the course students will:

  • Develop an understanding of several key debates around which American intellectual life has concentrated in the post-Civil War period

  • Develop and communicate informed comparisons between different approaches to common concerns

  • Demonstrate improved ability to read analytically and critically

  • Demonstrate improved ability to write clearly and persuasively at the college level

  • Communicate and listen effectively in class


Attendance (10%)

Class Discussion (20%)

Midterm Exam (20%)

Short reading responses and Course Blog entries (paper and online) (20%)

6-7 page paper (1750 words minimum) (30%).

LAPTOPS-IN-CLASS POLICY: Open laptops are not allowed. With due apologies to those of you who prefer to use your laptop for taking-notes and doing an occasional relevant info search (believe me, I get it—I love my computer, too), there is simply too clear a correspondence between open computers and disengagement from class discussions. This is not universally true, but generally so.
Attendance Policy: Attendance will be recorded, and will constitute 10% of your final grade. Out of respect for you, I do not distinguish between excused/unexcused absences—in other words, I presume that when you aren’t in class, there’s a good reason. The attendance policy, below, provides for the inevitabilities of sickness, emergency, etc., but also reflects that classroom presence will be essential to successful completion of this course. In extenuating instances (e.g. extended personal illness or family emergencies) it is your responsibility to communicate with me so we can consider special accommodations, and your responsibility to provide appropriate documentation confirming the need for said absence. Here’s a guide to follow:

  • 3 absences by Oct 22nd (middle of term)—automatic drop from class

  • 1-4 total absences—attendance grade “A”

  • 5 absences—attendance grade “D”

  • 6 absences=“F” for course

Failure to show up for an exam without prior permission will result in an F on the exam. Failure to show up for an exam without prior permission will result in an F on the exam.
**TARDINESS POLICY: Straggling into the classroom—5, 10, 15 minutes late—is unacceptable. This is rude and distracting, to both the instructor and your colleagues. Attendance will be taken at the beginning of class. 10 minutes after class begins, regardless of whether you arrive or not, you will be counted as absent.
Early Departure/Early Exam: While Early Departure before the end of the term is discouraged, NCSA recognizes that, from time to time, extenuating circumstances will necessitate approval of such Early Departure. Students seeking permission to leave school early should meet with the Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Academic Program and with their Arts Dean to obtain a permission form and to discuss Early Departure. (NOTE: Travel or vacation plans are NOT acceptable reasons for Early Departure. Students should carefully consult the academic calendar and plan accordingly.) For approval of Early Departure from undergraduate academic and arts classes, an Early Departure Form must be signed by the appropriate academic and arts instructor(s) and returned to the Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Academic Programs and the Arts Dean no less than three weeks prior to the end of the term. Students who leave campus before the end of the term without having been granted the appropriate permission will be considered to have unexcused absences.
The Writing Center at UNCSA
Elizabeth Klaimon, Director, Writing Center, room 210 Gray Building, 631-1514,
·     Free one-on–one tutoring sessions: between 15 – 45 minutes long.

·     Assistance in all stages of the writing process, from brainstorming ideas to the finished product.

·     Our goal is to work with students to help them become better writers.

·     The writing center is staffed by the director and volunteer faculty. We also hire a few high caliber peer tutors each year.

The Writing Center operates primarily on an appointment only schedule. To make an appointment please contact The Writing Center is also open for a limited number of drop-by hours. Drop-by hours change term by term and are posted outside the Writing Center, room 210 Gray Building. Keep in mind that seeing a tutor during drop-by hours is on a first come, first serve basis. Therefore, we highly recommend that you make an appointment ahead of time.

Plagiarism Policy:

DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. If you take this course, you are responsible for understanding the school’s guidelines on academic honesty (available in school Bulletin). Any act of plagiarism in any course assignment will result in an automatic “F” for the course. Plagiarism is “literary theft.” It is a betrayal of your own personal integrity and the NCSA community. In any written assignment for the class, you must cite the sources you use. If you borrow words (quoted or paraphrased) or ideas, you must credit the original source.  If you are in doubt about whether you should cite something, play it safe and do so. As a rule of thumb, err on the side of unnecessary citation, rather than failing to attribute credit where it is due. You are responsible for reading and understanding these policies. A failure to have done so will not be an acceptable excuse for any violation.
The library has a good link that connects you citation guidelines:
Accommodations for Students with Disabilities:

In compliance with North Carolina School of the Arts policy and equal access laws, I am available to discuss appropriate academic accommodations that may be required for students with disabilities. Requests for academic accommodations are to be made during the first three weeks of the trimester, except for unusual circumstances, so arrangements can be made to assist the student. Individuals are encouraged to register with the Officer for Student Disabilities (in the Student Commons) to verify their eligibility for appropriate accommodations.


If you are having difficulty in the class, a complaint about an assignment, grade, etc., or an unavoidable scheduling problem that will interfere with your course performance, come see me in office hours, call, or email. I can only address those concerns that are brought to my attention.

Week 1

9/19 introductions & syllabus review

Week 2 Responses to Darwin; the Meaning of ‘Culture’

9/22 Hollinger and Capper, eds., American Intellectual Tradition, Vol. II, [AIT]: read Asa Gray, “Review of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species” 5-10; Charles Pierce, “The Fixation of Belief” 15-25.

9/24 AIT, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, “A Plea for Culture” 11-14;

Sept. 24 is last day to drop/add

9/26 AIT, William Graham Sumner, “Sociology,” 26-35; Lester Frank Ward, “The Mind as a Social Factor” (handout)

Week 3 Old and New Frontiers

9/29 AIT, Frederick Jackson Turner, “The Significance of the Frontier in American History” 54-62

10/1 Bellamy, Looking Backward, Introduction-44

10/3 Bellamy, Looking Backward, 45-105

Week 4 Race, Gender, & the Meaning of Equality

10/6 Bellamy, Looking Backward, 106-end

10/8 W.E.B. DuBois, from “The Souls of Black Folk” 148-153

10/10 AIT, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, “Solitude of Self” 45-53; Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “Women and Economics” 89-95

Week 5 Defining the American Mind

10/13 AIT, William James, “The Will to Believe” 63-76;

10/15 AIT, George Santanyana, “The Genteel Tradition in American Philosophy” 101-113

10/17 Teddy Roosevelt, “The Strenuous Life”; Walter Rauschenbusch, “The Social Gospel”

Week 6 Visions of Progress and Social Diversity

10/20 AIT, Jane Addams, “The Subjective Necessity of Social Settlements”120-125; Thorstein Veblen, from The Theory of the Leisure Class126-139

10/22 AIT, Woodrow Wilson, “The Ideals of America”140-147; Randolph Bourne, 171-180 (only ‘Trans-National America’); Horace Kallen, “Democracy v. Melting Pot” (handout)


Week 7 Pragmatism and Legal Realism

10/27 AIT, William James, “What Pragmatism Means” 154-164; Walter Lippmann, frm Drift and Mastery 165-169

10/29 AIT, Oliver Wendell Holmes, “Natural Law” 197-200; John Dewey, “Philosophy and Democracy” 201-209

Oct 29 is the last day to withdraw from course!

10/31 AIT, Margaret Mead, from Coming of Age in Samoa 210-216; John Crowe Ransom, “Reconstructed by Unregenerate” 217-228

Week 8 Liberalism and Its Discontents

11/3 AIT, Thurman Arnold, from “Symbols of Government” 239-243; Gunnar Myrdall, from An American Dilemma 271-278

11/5 AIT, Henry Luce, “The American Century” 260-264; Henry Wallace, from The Century of the Common Man 265-269

11/7 AIT, Reinhold Niebuhr, from The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness 279-285; Dwight McDonald, “The Bomb” (handout)

Week 9 Mass Society and Human Freedom

11/10 C. Wright Mills, excerpt from White Collar (handout)

11/12 AIT, Hannah Arendt, “Ideology and Terror” 342-352; Milton Friedman, from Capitalism and Freedom 390-399

11/14 AIT, Herbert Marcuse, from One Dimensional Man, 445-454; Allen Ginsberg, “Howl” (to be provided); Students for a Democratic Society, “Port Huron Statement” (handout)

Week 10 Farewell to Modernity?

11/17 AIT, Noam Chomsky, “The Responsibility of Intellectuals” 455-464; Richard Rorty, “Science as Solidarity” 488-498

11/19 AIT, Malcolm X, “The Ballot or the Bullet” 437-444; Gloria Anzaldua, from Borderlands/La Frontera 499-504

11/21 AIT, Carl Sagan, from The Demon Haunted World 535-546

Final Exam: Monday, Nov 24, 9AM-11AM

Your PAPER will be due, by email as a Word attachment [file named YourName.doc] by 11AM

Share with your friends:

The database is protected by copyright © 2020
send message

    Main page