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Trent E. Maxey (Section 01)
From the late-eighteenth century onward European intellectuals frequently drew on images of Asia to illustrate what it meant to be modern, enlightened, and historically progressive. By critically tracing this intellectual genealogy we will together confront durable but controversial conceptions of human subjectivity, freedom, and historical progress, conceptions which we may find ourselves to be complicit in today. We will start with key figures in the intellectual tradition of modern Europe, including Immanuel Kant (1724–1804), Georg W. F. Hegel (1770–1831), Karl Marx (1818–1883), and Max Weber (1864–1920), but move on to consider how their thought echoes in Asian conversations about modernity. We will conclude with contemporary thinkers and their attempts to grapple with the tension between universal conceptions of human history and relativistic approaches.
Offered Fall 2021. Professor Maxey.