The Ruins of Modernity

As the German-Jewish philosopher Walter Benjamin noted, the march of progress is like a storm that leaves only ruins in its wake – ruined environments, ruined cultures, ruined bodies. Whereas some have sought refuge from these storms of progress in nostalgic attempt to retrieve – and, in some cases, return to – lost times, others have eschewed such romantic pursuits, seeking instead to forge alternative ways of being in the world, some modicum of a right life in the wrong one. After examining the destructive dynamics associated with capitalist modernity, this course will turn its attention to the oppositional milieus and defiant voices that have flourished in modernity’s ruins. Although the course makes occasional forays into global history, the primary focus will be on 19th- and 20th-century Europe. Meets the Critical Learning: HP requirement. (Not offered 2022-23).

Degree requirement — Critical Learning: HP

1 unit

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