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Lectures / Disk 17


European Thought & Culture in the 20th Century (Part II) 
Prof. Lloyd Kramer (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)

DISK 17.1 
Lecture 13: The Modern Novel – Joyce & Woolf
The new conceptions of psychology and the human mind reshaped 20th century novels, poetry and social theories. This lecture looks at the exploration of the ‘inner life’, time and art in the modern novel and discusses the influential work of James Joyce and Virginia Wolf.

Lecture 14: The Continental Novel – Proust, Kafka, Mann
The discussion of the modern novel is continued in this lecture with examples from French and German literature, focusing on the work of Marcel Proust, Franz Kafka, and Thomas Mann. These writers sought to portray the complexity of personal lives and desires in modern Europe and the individual’s separation from other people.

Lecture 15: Language & Reality in Modern Philosophy
This lecture discusses two trends in European philosophy: the one focused on the linguistic foundation of human knowledge and became known as logical positivism or analytic philosophy and the other emphasized human consciousness and the encounter with phenomena in the material world termed phenomenology.

Lecture 16: Revisiting Marxism & Liberalism
The rise of Stalinism, the development of fascism and Nazism along with the world economic depression of the 1930s pushed many writers to reexamine the public issues. This lecture looks at several theoretical responses to the crises that had become so apparent by the 1930s, with both the Marxists and the liberals challenging important aspects of their theoretical traditions.

Lecture 17: Responses to Nazism & the Holocaust
The rise of Nazism created a new political context for European intellectuals and motivated various responses in the 1930s and the 1940s. Some examples of such responses to Adolph Hitler are discussed in this lecture.

Lecture 18: Existential Philosophy
The events of the Second World War were not only horrifying but disorienting as well influencing the post war philosophical themes of existentialism. The existentialists effected by the experiences in the war, wrote books about the ‘absurdity’ of existence that non specialist readers could understand. This lecture focuses on the lives and the work of Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus, both key figures of existential philosophy.

DISK 17.2 
Lecture 19: Literature & Memory in Postwar Culture
This lecture looks at three authors who explored the modern European crisis from different cultural and personal perspectives. These writers are Primo Levi, George Orwell and Gunter Grass. All sought to understand how the violence and mass murder of the Second World War shattered modern European civilization.

Lecture 20: Redefining Modern Feminism
As women gradually gained the right to vote, feminists developed a more general consideration of other social, cultural and economic constraints that women faced in their private and public life. This lecture notes three ‘waves’ of the 20th century feminist thought with particular attention to the ideas of Virginia Woolf and Simone de Beauvoir.

Lecture 21: History, Anthropology & Structuralism
This lecture examines the emphasis on social ‘structures’ and cultural ‘systems’ that reshaped historical studies and anthropology after the Second World War. It discusses the so-called “Annales School’ of historians in France.

Lecture 22: Poststructuralist Thought – Foucault & Derrida
Post structuralism is a term that suggests the attempt to move beyond structuralism. This lecture discusses the lives of post structuralist theorists, Foucault & Derrida, who developed an important critique of both existential philosophy and structuralism.

Lecture 23: European Postmodernism
Postmodernism refers to a wide range of influential tendencies in European intellectual life over the last thirty or forty years. It is a rather vague term which has deeply affected contemporary art, literature and social theory. The lecture discusses three authors who have contributed to postmodernist thought.

Lecture 24: Changes & Traditions at Century’s End
Coming to the end of the 20th century, this lecture summarizes cultural patterns and events which effected European societies such as: the Cold War, the “Americanization’ of cultural life, the immigrant populations, the demise of communist regimes and the expansion of the new global economy.

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