History 101.01

Spring 2007
Instructor (text): 
104 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
MWF 2-3

This seminar will concentrate on the relationship between religion and ideology in Europe and Russia in the period between (and including) the French Revolution and the end of the Cold War. While the possibilities for research topics remain broad, the majority of our reading and discussion will be framed around the emergence and coming to power of what have often been called ";political religions";: Communism, Fascism, and National Socialism. We will focus on the ways in which ideology has been called forth in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as an alternate way to bring order to an increasingly chaotic world. In order to examine the emergence of the three ";political religions,"; we will look at the anxieties that defined fin-de-siecle Europe-the crisis of politics and culture, the fear of degeneration, the ";civilizing mission"; and the idea of progress (from the perspectives of both proponents and critics)- and the ways in which these anxieties manifested themselves culturally and politically. Finally, we will discuss the way these political and ideological shifts penetrated into the everyday life of Europeans, changing rituals, culture and identity.

We will spend the first weeks of the course examining different historical approaches and methodologies by analyzing major historical works by Western scholars and discussing the kinds of sources, formal devices and conceptual categories these scholars have employed. Research might focus on the way the above processes were reflected in institutional relationships (between Church and State, for example) or the way these shifts affected specific groups of people-artists, women, men, youth, immigrants, workers, soldiers, intellectuals, revolutionaries, ethnic groups and others. In writing research papers, students will be encouraged to draw upon a wide range of primary sources: visual and print media, diaries, letters, memoirs, fiction, as well as official documents.