Megill, Allan

Philosophy and Theory of History

HIEU
5062
Graduate
Fall
2018

Instructor: Allan Megill megill@virginia.edu

Instructor faculty page: http://history.as.virginia.edu/people/adm9e

Academia.edu site: https://virginia.academia.edu/AllanMegill

Questions? E-mail the instructor.

Office Hours: normally Mon-Wed 3:40-4:50 and by arrangement. Best to e-mail me in advance.

 

This class offers an introduction to the currently vibrant field of the philosophy and theory of history, while at the same time giving students the opportunity to write a seminar-type paper with some guidance and supervision from the instructor. The class enrolls qualified third- and fourth-year undergraduates, and graduate students.

 

In the past, the class has attracted students from English, anthropology, sociology, religious studies, East Asian studies, law, and other fields, as well as history. Visiting scholars (graduate students and faculty) from other countries have also attended the class, and their presence has added much to it. Undergraduates often use the class to write a paper that might become part of a senior thesis or serve as a writing sample for graduate school.

 

The paper shall be on a topic discovered by the student and approved after consultation with the instructor, and is to have some relevance to the understanding and representing of past realities or of remnants from the past in the present. However, the aim here is not theory for its own sake. Normally, the paper should derive from and be relevant to students’ own particular interests.

 

Some years ago, I published a book, Historical Knowledge, Historical Error (University of Chicago Press, 2007), dealing with various theoretical issues in history-writing, including such matters as memory, identity, abductive inference, and grand narrative. In my more recent work, I have moved on to other issues that are part of a book manuscript in progress. These issues include popular history, historical remnants, and the relation of history to aesthetics and ethics. Here is a video of a lecture that I gave in Finland in October 2017 that presents one part of these more recent concerns: https://vimeo.com/237531734/d57a929bcf.

 

We shall read various books and quite a few articles. Possible book authors include C. Browning, Collingwood, Bevernage, Confino, N. Z. Davis, Kuukkanen, L. T. Ulrich, and H. White. The “final” book list and syllabus will be determined by sometime in June.

 

Course Requirements in Brief: 1. Do the assigned reading before class. 2. On occasion, write up a brief [500-word] mini-paper and/or write up a discussion summary (“Protokoll”) (I anticipate a six or seven such exercises from each student over the course of the semester). 3. Contribute to discussion, sometimes by “introducing” part of the week’s reading. 4. Write a 20–25 double-spaced pages seminar paper. There will be a very short assignment to be written and submitted prior to the first meeting of the class.

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
15
Course Type: 

Origins of Contemporary Thought

HIEU
3802
Undergraduate
Fall
2018

Allan Megill. megill@virginia.edu. Course meets Mo-We 2:00-3:15.

This course examines the work of four thinkers who have been massively important in modern thought: Charles Darwin, Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, and Martin Heidegger. The span is from Darwin's Origin of Species (1859) to Heidegger’s philosophically path-breaking Being and Time (1927), but issues of contemporary relevance will be kept firmly in mind, and these thinkers will all be connected to the wider intellectual and cultural contexts that they reflected and in part also created.

There is heavy emphasis in the course on students’ own reading of the material. After students attempt to grasp the reading (which is sometimes difficult), the instructor explicates it in class. By the end of the semester, students will have a good idea of what the central views articulated by Darwin et al. actually were. They will also be more skilled at reading complex texts.

Goals (in brief)(i) to model skill at reading theoretical texts and at thinking conceptually; (ii) to impart knowledge of some theories, and the assumptions underlying them, advanced by Darwin, Nietzsche, Freud, and Heidegger; these theories are of continuing relevance and, in some cases, use to our lives now as educated human beings; and (iii) to impart knowledge of the place of these theories, concepts, and assumptions in modern and contemporary thought.  

Requirements (in brief): The crucial requirement is to do the reading alertly and on time. More specifically, students will (i) answer ca. 8-10 short “think questions,” on time; (ii) take a 50-minute midterm; (iii) write a term paper of six single-spaced pages, based on assigned class reading (not additional outside reading); (iv) write the final exam (2½ hrs.); and (v) complete online evaluations of the class and sections. Items (iii) and (iv) count highest in the grade: they each generate close to half the final grade. The other exercises can move the grade slightly up or down. In short, the term paper and the final exam are very important.

BOOK LIST: We read crucial parts, and sometimes all, of the following: Darwin, The Origin of Species; Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of TragedyGenealogy of Morality, Portable Nietzsche; Freud,  Interpretation of Dreams and Civilization and Its Discontents; and Heidegger, Being and Time. A secondary reading is Allan Megill, Prophets of Extremity: Nietzsche, Heidegger, Foucault, Derrida. There is also a course packet, from N. K. Print and Design (7 Elliewood Ave.), which costs around $12. 

By early April, I shall update this document on my academia.edu site, providing information about book editions and prices, midterm date, term paper deadline, and final exam date. See https://virginia.academia.edu/AllanMegill/Teaching-Documents

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
60
Course Type: 

Marx

HIEU
3812
Undergraduate
Spring
2018

Marx (I am tempted to say “the unknown Marx”) remains one of the greatest philosophers of the nineteenth century and of the modern world more generally. He is one of a small group of modern philosophers whose work repays sustained and detailed attention, although he is almost never studied in philosophy departments. He is also, arguably, the most rigorous and consistent social thinker who ever lived. It is worth devoting an entire semester to his thought, not least because doing so will give you some insight into how to think. Finally, in some important respects Marx was right about capitalism (and in other respects wrong).

This course carefully surveys Marx's social and economic thought, with special attention to its philosophical underpinnings. Accordingly, we shall devote a bit more than half the semester to his highly interesting early writings, those he wrote up to late 1844 (the year he turned 26). In the final third of the semester we look selectively at Capital, vol. 1.

The main emphasis is on seeing what Marx’s theory was and on how and why he arrived at it. Marx vehemently denied that he was a Marxist, and students in the class will be surprised to find how far so-called “Marxism” is from Marx’s own thinking. By the end of the semester you will be able to say that you actually know what Marx’s theory was. Many people who claim to know what Marx held actually don’t. This includes many academics.

The course presupposes no prior knowledge of the subject, but it does require the ability to read and think carefully, as well as commitment to keeping up with the reading. There is no specific prerequisite, although it may help to have already taken a basic course in political theory or philosophy. But chemistry or engineering would do just as well, at least if you are not too uncomfortable with reading and writing.

Requirements: do the reading ON TIME; 9-10 short "think questions," to be done ON TIME; midterm test; synthesizing term paper (based on the course reading only, to be handed in ON TIME); final exam.

Books: Marx, Early Writings (Penguin or Vintage [introduction by Lucio Colletti]); Marx and Engels, Marx-Engels Reader, 2nd ed. (Norton); Marx, Capital, vol. 1 (Penguin or Vintage [introduction by Ernest Mandel]); Megill, Karl Marx: The Burden of Reason (Rowman & Littlefield). These specific books are required. Often they can be obtained on-line, second-hand, at lower cost. Do not try to substitute other books for these, and do not rely on Kindle or other non-paper editions.

There is also a small amount of in-copyright material to be downloaded from COLLAB and printed off by students for their individual use.

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
60
Course Type: 

Introductory Seminar in Post-1700 European History

History Narration Argument
HIEU
1502
Undergraduate
Spring
2018

This seminar is intended for first- and second-year students who have some interest in history. I welcome both prospective majors and people who may never take another history class. The course focuses on how we think about history. It will introduce you to an interesting set of books, and some articles that will help you explore this subject.

 

The course will focus on two aspects of how we try to grasp history. One aspect is its cognitive aspect—history’s production of true knowledge about the past. The other is its production of “feeling” or “sensibility” concerning the past. In recent decades, this latter aspect of history has become newly visible in the attempts of historians and others to deal with traumatic events or situations in the past. This aspect has also become visible in the growing interest, since the late 1970s, in “historical memory.” Earlier, concern with sensibility emerged in the work of some historians of art and culture.

 

As of October 18, 2017, the book list is not yet definitive. So far, the books include: Natalie Zemon Davis, The Return of Martin Guerre (ISBN 0674766911); Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem (multiple editions); possibly Alon Confino, Foundational Pasts: The Holocaust in Historical Understanding (ISBN 0521736323); Berber Bevernage, History, Memory, and State-Sponsored Violence: Time and Justice(ISBN 041582298X);F. Ivietzsche, Use and Disadvantage of History for Life(edition to be determined) and Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (any edition of 1970 or after).

 

The books by Davis, Arendt, and Kuhn are classics in their genres. Davis's book ought to be known to every history major, and Arendt's and Kuhn's books to every educated person.

 

I shall add one or two other books (possibilities include books by Friedrich Nietzsche, Carlo Ginzburg, John Pickstone, Friedrich Nietzsche, Hayden White, and W. G. Sebald). The addition of more than two of these books would force the omission of Confino from the above list, but you can attend Confino's classes and not Pickstone's, Nietzsche's, White's, Ginzburg's,  or Sebald's.

 

The definitive textbook list will await my rethinking, between now and June 21, of the 2017 version of this course.

 

All “textbooks” will be in Clemons Reserve. Parts of some of them will be available in COLLAB Resources. Most are available used, online, cheaply. We shall also read some articles, and you will need to print them out for attentive reading (not possible on-screen).

 

Class Procedure, Requirements, Evaluation:

 

The course combines reading, writing, and discussion. There is no final exam. Almost every week there will be a reading assignment for you to grapple with. Most weeks, you will produce a very short“response paper” dealing with some aspect of the reading (a mini-paper), to be submitted electronically before the class meeting (and most likely to be revised later). You must complete and submit these mini-essays at the required times—this is a participatory class, and participation includes submitting your work and getting feedback and correction in the following week.

 

Over the course of the semester you will produce a portfolio of writing (which normally allows this course to count as satisfying the Second Writing Requirement). The basis of the portfolio will be your mini-papers, but you will also produce two slightly longer “think papers” (which may in part be built on the basis of a mini-paper). I shall provide intensive editing of and feedback on your writing. The course thus provides an introduction to the norms of literate writing, with an emphasis on the norms governing good academic writing.

 

Periodically I shall update the information for this course on my academia.edu site: https://virginia.academia.edu/AllanMegill/Teaching-Documents.

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
18
Course Type: 

Origins of Contemporary Thought

HIEU
3802
Undergraduate
Fall
2017

This course examines the work of four thinkers who have been massively important in modern thought: Charles Darwin, Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, and Martin Heidegger. The span is from Darwin's Origin of Species (1859) to Heidegger’s philosophically path-breaking Being and Time (1927), but issues of contemporary relevance will be kept firmly in mind, and these thinkers will all be connected to the wider intellectual and cultural contexts that they reflected and in part also created.

There is heavy emphasis in the course on students’ own reading of the material. After students attempt to grasp the reading (which is sometimes fairly difficult), the instructor explicates it in class. By the end of the semester, students will have a quite good idea what the central views articulated by Darwin et al. actually were. They will also be more skilled at reading complex texts.

Goals (in brief)(i) to model skill at reading theoretical texts and at thinking conceptually; (ii) to impart knowledge of some theories, and the assumptions underlying them, advanced by Darwin, Nietzsche, Freud, and Heidegger; these theories are of continuing relevance and, in some cases, use; and (iii) to impart knowledge of the place of these theories, concepts, and assumptions in modern and contemporary thought.  

Requirements (in brief): The crucial requirement is to do the reading alertly and on time. More specifically, students will (i) answer ca. 8-10 short “think questions,” on time; (ii) take a 50-minute midterm; (iii) write a term paper of six single-spaced pages, based on assigned class reading (not additional outside reading); (iv) write the final exam (2½ hrs.); and (v) complete online evaluations of the class and sections. Items (iii) and (iv) count highest in the grade: they each generate close to half the final grade. The other exercises can move the grade slightly up or down. In short, the term paper and the final exam are very important.

BOOK LIST: We read crucial parts, and sometimes all, of the following: Darwin, The Origin of Species; Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of TragedyGenealogy of Morality, Portable Nietzsche; Freud,  Interpretation of Dreams and Civilization and Its Discontents; and Heidegger, Being and Time. A secondary reading is Allan Megill, Prophets of Extremity: Nietzsche, Heidegger, Foucault, Derrida. There is also a course packet, from N. K. Print and Design (7 Elliewood Ave.), which costs around $12. 

By early April, I shall update this document on my academia.edu site, providing information about book editions and prices, midterm date, term paper deadline, and final exam date. See https://virginia.academia.edu/AllanMegill/Teaching-Documents

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
60
Course Type: 

Introductory Seminar in Post-1700 European History

History Knowledge Sensibility
HIEU
1502
Undergraduate
Fall
2017

This seminar is intended for first- and second-year students who have some interest in history. I welcome both prospective majors and people who may never take another history class. The course focuses on how we think about history. It will introduce you to an interesting set of books, and some articles, that will help you explore this subject.

 

The course will focus on two aspects of how we try to grasp history. One aspect is its cognitive aspect—history’s production of true knowledge about the past. The other is its production of “feeling” or “sensibility” concerning the past. In recent decades, this latter aspect of history has become newly visible in the attempts of historians and others to deal with traumatic events or situations in the past. This aspect has also become visible in the growing interest, since the late 1970s, in “historical memory.” Earlier, concern with sensibility emerged in the work of some historians of art and culture.

 

As of March 9, 2017, the book list is not yet definitive. So far, the books include: Natalie Zemon Davis, The Return of Martin Guerre (ISBN 0674766911); Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem (multiple editions); possibly Alon Confino, Foundational Pasts: The Holocaust in Historical Understanding (ISBN 0521736323); Berber Bevernage, History, Memory, and State-Sponsored Violence: Time and Justice (ISBN 041582298X); and Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (any edition of 1970 or after).

 

The books by Davis, Arendt, and Kuhn are classics in their genres. Davis's book ought to be known to every history major, and Arendt's and Kuhn's books to every educated person.

 

I shall add one or two other books (possibilities include books by Friedrich Nietzsche, Carlo Ginzburg, John Pickstone, Friedrich Nietzsche, Hayden White, and W. G. Sebald). The addition of more than two of these books would force the omission of Confino from the above list, but you can attend Confino's classes and not Pickstone's, Nietzsche's, White's, Ginzburg's,  or Sebald's.

 

The definitive textbook list will await my rethinking, between now and June 21, of the 2017 version of this course.

 

All “textbooks” will be in Clemons Reserve. Parts of some of them will be available in COLLAB Resources. Most are available used, online, cheaply. We shall also read some articles, and you will need to print them out for attentive reading (not possible on-screen).

 

Class Procedure, Requirements, Evaluation:

 

The course combines reading, writing, and discussion. There is no final exam. Almost every week there will be a reading assignment for you to grapple with. Most weeks, you will produce a very short “response paper” dealing with some aspect of the reading (a mini-paper), to be submitted electronically before the class meeting (and most likely to be revised later). You must complete and submit these mini-essays at the required times—this is a participatory class, and participation includes submitting your work and getting feedback and correction in the following week.

 

Over the course of the semester you will produce a portfolio of writing (which normally allows this course to count as satisfying the Second Writing Requirement). The basis of the portfolio will be your mini-papers, but you will also produce two slightly longer “think papers” (which may in part be built on the basis of a mini-paper). I shall provide intensive editing of and feedback on your writing. The course thus provides an introduction to the norms of literate writing, with an emphasis on the norms governing good academic writing.

 

Periodically I shall update the information for this course on my academia.edu site: https://virginia.academia.edu/AllanMegill/Teaching-Documents.

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
18
Course Type: 

Philosophy and Theory of History

HIEU
5062
Graduate
Spring
2017

This class is intended both for qualified third- and fourth-year undergraduates and for graduate students. In addition, it has often been attended by visiting scholars (graduate students and faculty) from other countries, and this presence has often added much to the course.

 

The class offers an introduction to the currently vibrant field of theory of history. The emphasis will be less on surveying this field than on drawing resources from it to help us think about current problems in the apprehension of “history.” Many philosophers, social scientists, and historians have contributed to this field. A few names: Arthur C. Danto, Hayden White, Frank Ankersmit, Berber Bevernage, Dominick LaCapra, Reinhart Koselleck, Paul Ricoeur, R. G. Collingwood, Benedetto Croce, Maurice Halbwachs, Heinrich Rickert, Wilhelm Windelband, G. W. F. Hegel. Except for Hegel these are not “household names,” but each has something to offer.

 

If you are an undergraduate, it is desirable that you should already have had a minimum of two history classes, ideally from two different instructors. Theory of history will be somewhat opaque unless you have some experience with its object, “history.” Central to the class is the writing of a term paper of somewhat larger dimensions than is possible in most undergraduate classes. The range of possible topics is wide. If you are thinking about the class, you should contact me ahead of time (after Nov. 17), and we can discuss possibilities.

 

If you are a graduate student: Over the years I have learned from the presence of graduate students from anthropology, sociology, philosophy, politics, religious studies, East Asian studies, art history, and law, as well as from history. A preliminary conversation with me (after Nov. 17) would be helpful.

 

The work you do in this class should contribute to your work within your program.  It is important to craft a paper topic that promises to cast light on—or directly stimulate—writing aimed toward your production of a required program paper, MA thesis, or PhD dissertation.

 

Course Requirements in Brief: 1. Do the assigned reading before class. 2. On occasion, write up a brief [500-word] mini-paper and/or write up a discussion summary (“Protokoll”) (I anticipate a maximum of five such exercises from each student over the course of the semester). 3.Contribute to discussion, sometimes by “introducing” part of the week’s reading. 4. Write a 20–25 double-spaced pages paper on a topic mutually agreed upon by student and instructor.

 

Likely Class Books (asterisked items are absolutely definite; all items will be on reserve, and some have alternative availabilities):

 

*Natalie Zemon Davis, The Return of Martin Guerre (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1984 [1983]). *Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Advantage and Disadvantage of History for Life, trans. Peter Preuss, (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1980) NOTE: There are some really bad translations of this work in existence. Preuss’s translation is reasonably good, although nothing can substitute for Nietzsche’s cunningly ambiguous German. *Berber Bevernage, History, Memory, and State-Sponsored Violence: Time and Justice (New York: Routledge, 2013 [2012]). *Allan Megill, Historical Knowledge, Historical Error (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007). (I am quite attentive to issues of price.)

 

Possible books: Hayden White, The Practical Past; Jan T. Gross, Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland; Alon Confino, Foundational Pasts: The Holocaust as Historical Understanding, and Jouni-Matte Kuukkanen, Postnarrativist Philosophy of Historiography (dramatically expensive).

 

We shall also read a selection of crucial articles (e.g., Danto 1962, White, 1980, etc.).

 

Syllabus: In a small class such as this, which draws a diversity of students as well as some visiting scholars from abroad, it is difficult to set up an absolutely definitive syllabus in advance. In past teachings of this course the second half of the semester has often been re-invented in response to people’s specific interests and expertise. Also, I characteristically devote the last few sessions to discussion of student presentations of summaries of their draft papers. Further, I expect to be giving the Robert D. Cross Memorial Lecture on Wednesday April 5, most likely starting at 3:30 p.m., and this will substitute for my class of that day (the lecture can be recorded for people with conflicting commitments).

 

I expect to upload a week-by-week syllabus to my academia.edu site by December 10. The syllabus will try to accommodate some alternative possibilities, a bit like the “pick a path” books that some of you may have encountered in childhood.

 

FIRST CLASS SESSION: We meet on the first day of classes, Wed., January 18, 2017. If at all possible, read this short item beforehand: Marcin Moskalewicz et al., “The old Nietzschean Question Raised Again: How much past do we need for having a healthy life?,” Rethinking History 18:4 (2014), 556-568, DOI: 10.1080/13642529.2014.893666, and write up and submit to me a few hours before class a well-considered 300 words responding to MM’s piece.

 

SECOND and possibly THIRD CLASS SESSIONS (Jan. 25, Feb. 1): We shall address Natalie Davis’s The Return of Martin Guerre and the debate about the book that ensued between Davis and Robert Finlay in the Am Hist Rev, in the light of some theoretical literature that we shall also read.

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
15
Course Type: 

Marx

HIEU
3812
Undergraduate
Spring
2017

Marx (I am tempted to say “the unknown Marx”) remains one of the greatest philosophers of the nineteenth century and of the modern world more generally. He is one of a small group of modern philosophers whose work repays sustained and detailed attention, although he is almost never studied in philosophy departments. He is also, arguably, the most rigorous and consistent social thinker who ever lived. It is worth devoting an entire semester to his thought, not least because doing so will give you some insight into how to think. Finally, in some important respects Marx was right about capitalism (and in other respects wrong).

This course carefully surveys Marx's social and economic thought, with special attention to its philosophical underpinnings. Accordingly, we shall devote a bit more than half the semester to his highly interesting early writings, those he wrote up to late 1844 (the year he turned 26). In the final third of the semester we look selectively at Capital, vol. 1.

The main emphasis is on seeing what Marx’s theory was and on how and why he arrived at it. Marx vehemently denied that he was a Marxist, and students in the class will be surprised to find how far so-called “Marxism” is from Marx’s own thinking. By the end of the semester you will be able to say that you actually know what Marx’s theory was. Many people who claim to know what Marx held actually don’t. This includes many academics.

The course presupposes no prior knowledge of the subject, but it does require the ability to read and think carefully, as well as commitment to keeping up with the reading. There is no specific prerequisite, although it may help to have already taken a basic course in political theory or philosophy. But chemistry or engineering would do just as well, at least if you are not too uncomfortable with reading and writing.

Requirements: do the reading ON TIME; 9-10 short "think questions," to be done ON TIME; midterm test; synthesizing term paper (based on the course reading only, to be handed in ON TIME); final exam.

Books: Marx, Early Writings (Penguin or Vintage [introduction by Lucio Colletti]); Marx and Engels, Marx-Engels Reader, 2nd ed. (Norton); Marx, Capital, vol. 1 (Penguin or Vintage [introduction by Ernest Mandel]); Megill, Karl Marx: The Burden of Reason (Rowman & Littlefield). These specific books are required. Often they can be obtained on-line, second-hand, at lower cost. Do not try to substitute other books for these, and do not rely on Kindle or other non-paper editions.

There is also a small amount of in-copyright material to be downloaded from COLLAB and printed off by students for their individual use.

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
65
Course Type: 

Origins of Contemporary Thought

HIEU
3802
Undergraduate
Spring
2016
This course examines the work of four thinkers who have been massively important in modern thought: Charles Darwin, Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, and Martin Heidegger. The span is from Darwin's Origin of Species (1859) to Heidegger’s philosophically path-breaking Being and Time (1927), but issues of contemporary relevance will be kept firmly in mind, and these thinkers will all be connected to the wider intellectual and cultural contexts that they reflected and in part also created.
 
There is heavy emphasis in the course on students’ own reading of the material. After students attempt to grasp the reading (which is sometimes fairly difficult), the instructor explicates it in class. By the end of the semester, students will have a quite good idea what the central views articulated by Darwin et al. actually were. They will also be more skilled at reading complex texts.
Goals (in brief): (i) to model skill at reading theoretical texts and at thinking conceptually; (ii) to impart knowledge of some theories, and the assumptions underlying them, advanced by Darwin, Nietzsche, Freud, and Heidegger; these theories are of continuing relevance and, in some cases, use; and (iii) to impart knowledge of the place of these theories, concepts, and assumptions in modern and contemporary thought.  
 
Requirements (in brief): The crucial requirement is to do the reading alertly and on time. More specifically, students will (i) answer ca. 8-10 short “think questions,” on time; (ii) take a 50-minute midterm; (iii) write a term paper of six single-spaced pages, based on assigned class reading (not additional outside reading); (iv) write the final exam (2½ hrs.); and (v) complete online evaluations of the class and sections. Items (iii) and (iv) count highest in the grade: they each generate close to half the final grade. The other exercises can move the grade slightly up or down. In short, the term paper and the final exam are very important.
 
BOOK LIST: We read crucial parts, and sometimes all, of the following: Darwin, The Origin of Species; Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy, Genealogy of Morality,Portable Nietzsche; Freud,  Interpretation of Dreams and civilization and Its Discontents; and Heidegger, Being and Time. A secondary reading is Allan Megill, Prophets of Extremity: Nietzsche, Heidegger, Foucault, Derrida. There is also a course packet, from N. K. Print and Design (7 Elliewood Ave.), which costs around $12. Eventually I shall put up information about book editions on my academia.edu Website; if you don’t see the information there, e-mail me at megill@virginia.edu
Course Instructor: 

Introductory Seminar in Modern European History

History as Knowledge and as Sensibility.
HIEU
1502
Undergraduate
Spring
2016
This seminar is intended for first- and second-year students who have some interest in history. I welcome both prospective majors and people who may never take another history class again. The course focuses on how we think about history. It will introduce you to an interesting set of books and articles that will help us to explore this subject. There are also three films that you will watch on your own or in company with your classmates that directly connect with the course topic, and with three of the books.
 
We shall focus on two aspects of how we try to grasp history. One aspect is its cognitive aspect—history’s production of true knowledge about the past. The other aspect is its production of “feeling” or “sensibility” concerning the past. In recent decades, this aspect of history has become especially visible in the attempts of historians and others to deal with traumatic events or situations in the past. Earlier, concern with sensibility emerged in the work of some historians of art and culture.
 
The books to be read, in whole or in large part, are: Natalie Zemon Davis, The Return of Martin Guerre (ISBN 0674766911); Jan T. Gross, Neighbors (ISBN 9780142002407); Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem (multiple editions);  Alon Confino, Foundational Pasts: The Holocaust in Historical Understanding (ISBN 0521736323); Berber Bevernage, History, Memory, and State-Sponsored Violence: Time and Justice (ISBN 041582298X); and Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (any edition of 1970 or after). We shall start with the books by Davis and by Gross.
 
These required books will be in Clemons Reserve. Parts of some of them will be available in COLLAB Resources. Most are available used, online, cheaply. We shall also read some articles, and the more complex ones should probably be printed out for attentive reading.      
 
Class Procedure, Requirements, Evaluation:
 
The course combines reading, writing, and discussion. There is no final exam. Almost every week there will be a reading assignment for you to grapple with. Most weeks, you will produce a very short “response paper” dealing with some aspect of the reading (a mini-paper), to be submitted electronically before the class meeting (and most likely to be revised later).
 
Over the course of the semester you will produce a portfolio of writing (which normally allows this course to count as satisfying the Second Writing Requirement). The basis of the portfolio will be your mini-papers, but you will also produce two slightly longer “think papers” (which may in part be built on the basis of a mini-paper). There will be intensive editing of and feedback on your writing, serving as an introduction to the norms of academic writing.
 
By early November, I shall post a Detailed Syllabus on my academia.edu site: https://virginia.academia.edu/AllanMegill/Teaching-Documents
Course Instructor: 

Pages

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Corcoran Department of History
University of Virginia
Nau Hall - South Lawn
Charlottesville, VA 22904

  

Contact:
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