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Emerson, Modernism, and Postmodernism: graded paper

Class at Faculty of Arts |


Readings from Emerson and other American Renaissance writers, including Thoreau, Whitman, Hawthorne, Melville, William and Henry James, and Emily Dickinson, and examination of their intellectual congruence with pragmatism, modernism, and postmodernism. This is a seminar in American cultural, intellectual, political, and socioeconomic history which will examine the relationship between Ralph Waldo Emerson and other contemporary American "cultural critics," as well as their relationship to the society from which they sprang and to the values of which they were, at the same time, giving enduring cultural formulation.

1) Emerson on phenomenonalism, constructivism, humanism, and the "divine"

2) Emerson on pragmatism and power

3) Emerson on subjunctivism, indeterminacy, freedom, and hope

4) Emerson on democracy and equality

5) Emerson and Hawthorne on literary "romance" and subjectivity

6) Emerson and Melville on agency and performativity

7) Emerson and Melville on indeterminacy, identity, and the "other"

8) Emerson, Whitman, and Emily Dickinson on individual/subjective construction, aesthetic democratic, and personal responsibility

9) Emerson and Thoreau on regulative fictions and self-governance

10) Emerson, Margaret Fuller, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton on sex and gender

11) Emerson, Frederick Douglass, and W.E.B. DuBois on race and ethnicity

12) Emerson, William James, and John Dewey on pragmatic criteria and pragmatic ethics

Study programmes