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What is happiness? Where and how does one find it? What has it to do with the good life? Americans consider the pursuit of happiness their birthright and the lynchpin of the American dream. Does happiness define the meaning and purpose of life for people everywhere?
“Revolutions are the locomotives of history,” wrote Karl Marx. As the ongoing turmoil of the Middle East reminds us, revolutions have the power to reshape the political order of the world more than any other social, economic, or cultural forces. Most states today were born out of a revolution. But what exactly is a revolution?
In this course we will study aspects of this historical phenomenon: read many of its most famous texts, reflect on how the Romans thought of themselves and others, trace the history of one of its texts, considered most dangerous by some, follow its rise and fall as an empire, and remark throughout on how different it is from western societies today, even though the latter are profoundly indebted to it.
The Age of Thomas Jefferson spanned the years roughly 1770 to 1820, some of the most exciting and tumultuous in American and European history. During this half century, such world-changing events as the American and French Revolutions and the transatlantic Enlightenment stretched people's thinking into many new and unexpected directions.
From Sally Hemings to Barack Obama, this course explores the ways that racial identity has been experienced, represented, and contested throughout American history. Engaging historical, legal, and literary texts and films, we will examine the major historical transformations that have shaped our understandings of racial identity.
What is “magical realism?” Is it a genre, a style, a label for elaborated fiction from the Third World? How does magical realism, a globalized phenomenon, reflect upon globalization itself?
Where do our ideals for living come from, and how should they be structured? How do we justify them in the face of criticism? What role do great works of art play in this creative process?
There are many books and courses that focus on the good life or the virtues. Yet despite their obvious apparent presence in our life and world, evil and the vices are rarely taken as explicit topics.