Montclair State University



Fall Semester 2012, HON P102 – 12630 (MTH 2.30-03.45 PM, College Hall 121)





HONORS SEMINAR IN 20TH CENTURY CIVILIZATION



Instructor: dr. György Csepeli (csepeli.gyorgy@gmail.com)



Aim of the course

According to the prominent British historian, Eric Hobsbawm, the twentieth century started with the conclusion of World War I in 1918 and ended with the termination of the Cold War in 1989. This short century, lasting hardly more than seventy years, has produced unprecedented events in history. Drawing on sources of psychology, sociology, history, anthropology and political science this course will attempt to present a picture of this are using a comparative approach. The cast of the participants undoubtedly has been the same in Communist and Fascist societies. Parallel lives, however, have produced different outcomes. Perpetrators, victims, witnesses, and resisters were involved in the whirlpool of totalitarian movement resulting in suffering, misery, brutality in quantity and quality. Through fiction and non-fiction we will compare lives under Fascism, Communism and Democracy, showing how people lived in these challenging times.

Students will be intensively involved in presenting the various periods to their peers, and will prepare short presentations on their subjects. Evaluation will be based on participation in class, presentations and results of the mid-term and final exams.

The texts used for this course are:

Hobsbawm, E. 1994. Age of Extremes. The short twentieth century. New York: Vintage Books

Ferguson, N. 2006. The War of the World: History’s Age of Hatred. Penguin Books.Ltd.

The above-listed texts are available in paperback. It is strongly recommended that students equip themselves with own copies. Discounted copies are available online at amazon.com and other distributors.

Requirements:

In addition to the assigned readings, the student is required to write a five to six page (double spaces, 10-12 pitch font size) paper on a problem related to the subject of the course. Titles must be approved by the instructor in advance and submitted on October 22.


There will be two exams for the course (30 % each). The exam questions will be based on
the assigned readings. These will require essay type and multiple choice answers.

Date of the Mid-Term Exam: Oct. 22

Date of the Final Exam: Dec. 13

Date of the Make-up Exam: Dec. 19, 1:003:00 PM

Office hours by appointment.

Topics

Sept. 6.

Presentation of the award winning film of István Szabó about the fate of Hungarian Jewish family through the 20th century. Part I.



Sept. 10

Presentation of the award winning film of István Szabó about the fate of Hungarian Jewish family through the 20th century. Part II. and III.



Sept. 13

Introduction. Basic characteristics of the shortest century between 1914 and 1989. Coexistence of new technology and ancient human drives. Discussion of Klee’s painting, Angelus Novus.

Presentation: Basic characteristics of the shortest century between 1914 and 1989



Sept. 17

Civilization and Its Discontents. Discussion of Freud’s statements on human nature.

Reading: Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents.

http://www.archive.org/details/CivilizationsAnditsDiscontents



Sept. 20

The nature of human categorizations in the twentieth century: Class, race, ethnicity, religion, gender.

Reading: Hobsbawm, 1-18 (A Birds Eye View).

Film: Ferguson, N. The War of the World. Documentary Film. Episode 1. The Clash of Empires. (YouTube).

Presentation: The nature of human categorizations in the twentieth century



Sept. 24

The politics of masses. Varieties of political systems in mass society. Democracy, dictatorship of the proletariat, fascist political systems.

Film: The Democrat and the Dictator. VT 24 (60 mins).

Ferguson, N. The War of the World. Episode 2. (YouTube).

Presentation: The politics of masses



Sept. 27

Genocides in the twentieth century. Structure and script of genocide.

Reading: Staub, E. 1989. The Roots of Evil. The Origins of Genocide and Other Group Violence. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Presentation: Genocides in the twentieth century



Oct. 1

Perpetrators from a comparative perspective. I. Hitler and Stalin.

Readings: Hamann, B. 1999. Hitler’s Vienna. A Dictator’s Apprenticeship. Oxford University Press. 3-59; Montefiori, S.S.2007. Young Stalin. Toronto: McArthur Co. 15-70.

Presentation: Hitler and Stalin



Oct. 11

Perpetrators from a comparative perspective. H. Himmler and Beria.

Readings: Padfield, P. 1990. Himmler. New York: Henry Holt. 3-93; Montefiori, S.S. 2003. The Court of the Red Tsar. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.  Part.5.

Presentation: Himmler and Beria



Oct. 15

Propaganda in totalitarian societies. Goebbels and Zhdanov.

Readings: Montefiori, S.S. 2003. The Court of the Red Tsar. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. Part 8; Manvell,R., Fraenkel, H. 1960. Doctor Goebbels. London: Heinemann.



Oct. 18

Science and pseudoscience.

Readings: Padfield, P. 1990. Himmler. New York: Henry Holt. 374-377; Krementsov, N. 1997. Lysenko and Stalin. In Stalinist Science. Princeton University Press. 159-168.

Film: The Lysenko Affair. VT 24 (60 mins).

Presentation: Pseudoscience



Oct. 22. Mid-Term Exam.



Oct. 25

The psychology of confrontation ( The Cold War).

Readings: Hosbawm, E. 1994. Ch.8; Ferguson, N. 2006. Afterword.

Film: Ferguson, N. The War of the World. Episode 5. (YouTube).

Presentation: The psychology of confrontation (The Cold War)



Nov. 1

Mass culture.

Reading: Hobsbawm, E. 1994. Ch.6. Ch.17.

Presentation: Mass culture in the 20th Century



Nov. 8

Heroes of the twentieth century: Gandhi

Reading: Brown, J.M. 1991. Gandhi: Prisoner of Hope. Yale University Press.

Presentation: Gandhi. The authentic political genius of the 20th Century



Nov.15

Sexual revolution

Reading: Hobsbawm, E. 1994. Ch. 11.

Video: Sex in ’69: Sexual Revolution on America. YouTube (History.com).

Presentation: Sexual Revolution in the 20th Century



Nov. 22

The Information Age

Reading: Barabási, A-L. 2002. Linked. The New Science of Networks. New York: Basic Books.



Nov.29

Clash of civilizations

Reading: Huntington, S. 2003. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. New York: Simon and Schuster Paperbacks. 19-55.



Dec.6

Dec 13. Final exam.

Make-Up Exam, December 20, 1:00-3:00 pm.