Twentieth-Century U.S. Intellectual History

HISTORY 103D.005

Fall 2015
3205 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
F 12-2P
  • Note new room.
  • How have intellectuals understood and shaped the major events of twentieth-century America? In this seminar we will explore how philosophers, economists, fundamentalist Protestants, fiction writers, and others understood and responded to the major events  of the last century, including two World Wars, the Great Depression, the Cold War, the Civil Rights movement, and the rise of the New Right. Through a combination of primary and secondary texts, we will better understand why a German anti-democratic madman became a central figure in the American philosophical canon, why some fundamentalists believed FDR was the Antichrist, and why Americans became obsessed with human nature during WWII. The class will focus especially on competition between different systems of understanding—sociological, philosophical, historical, and theological—as they vied with one another for public stature. We will ask, for example, why there are more preachers than philosophers in public life today? In addition to surveying some of the major developments in the intellectual life of the past century, students will be encouraged to explore topics of interest to them in preparation for their senior theses.

    Gene Zubovich is an intellectual historian of the Twentieth-Century United States. His research interests include the history of religion, human rights, and liberalism. His current book project investigates the role of Protestant leaders in the human rights debates of the mid-twentieth century. His work has appeared in The Immanent Frame and Religion and Politics. Dr. Zubovich received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 2015.


Course Books

American Nietzsche by Ratner-Rosenhagen, Jennifer Chicago University Press. ISBN: 9780226006765 Required
The Age of Fracture by Rodgers, Daniel Belknap Press (Harvard). ISBN: 978-0674064362 Required
Goddess of the Market by Burns, Jennifer Oxford University Press. ISBN: 978-0199832484 Required
Apostles of Reason by Worthen, Molly Oxford University Press. ISBN: 978-0199896462 Required
After Cloven Tongues of Fire by Hollinger, David A. Princeton University Press. ISBN: 978-0691166636 Required
The Age of the Crisis of Man by Greif, Mark Princeton University Press. ISBN: 978-0691146393 Required
The American Intellectual Tradition by Hollinger, David / Capper, Charles Oxford University Press. ISBN: 978-0195392937 Required