Europe in the Twentieth Century

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The Great Courses. Sign In. Cart 0. Your cart is empty. Wish list 0. Your Wish List is empty. Existing Customer Sign In Email. Create Your Account Already have an Account? Create Account. European Thought and Culture in the 20th Century. Course No. Professor Lloyd Kramer, Ph. Share This Course. Choose a Format. Audio Streaming Included Free. Who Were the Key Thinkers of the 20th Century? Which Intellectual Movements Are Discussed? By learning about their lives, their works, and the connections among their ideas, you'll gain a keener insight into a host of movements and trends in modern intellectual life: Positivism Literary realism and naturalism, symbolism, and modernism Impressionism, Fauvism, Cubism, and Abstract Expressionism, Dadaism, Surrealism Existentialism Analytic philosophy Feminism Depth psychology, including Freudian psychoanalysis and Jungian psychology Revisionist Marxism Keynesian and Hayekian neoliberalism Structuralism and poststructuralism Postmodernism.

Ideas in Context Professor Kramer constantly casts an inquiring eye on the evolving contexts in which leading writers and theorists developed their ideas. The many intellectual achievements discussed in this course took place, after all, against a background of tumultuous, intensely challenging events and trends, including: Global war Economic depression The rise and fall of empires Massive social and technological changes. The Ongoing Dialogue You might think of this course as a chapter from a larger story.

A Century's Three Eras Chronologically, the lectures fall into three parts of eight lectures each: Cultural innovations during the three decades before Responses to World War I and the cultural themes of what historians call the "interwar" era Responses to World War II and the forms of thought that emerged in the decades after Average 30 minutes each. As radically new as much of 20th-century culture seems, it may also be seen as part of a long-running dialogue between the themes of ancient Greek and Hebrew thought—a debate about the true foundations for human understanding that goes to the very heart of European civilization, and that reappears in modern views of science.

More than ever before, universities emerged as the dominant intellectual and cultural institutions of Europe.

Why then did so many—though not all—of the creative minds discussed in this course do their work outside the university setting? At the other pole from the naturalists were litterateurs who preferred inner visions and symbolic meanings to the realistic depiction of gritty modern urbanity. Working not in literature but in philosophy and theoretical physics, respectively, Henri Bergson and Albert Einstein questioned Newtonian descriptions of universal laws and stressed the observer's role in the construction of all knowledge about the world.

The rise of modern art overlapped with anti-realist, anti-positivist trends in other spheres. Artists such as Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Wassily Kandinsky favored personal vision over the depiction of concrete realities. Sociology and cultural anthropology both arose out of doubts that positivism could explain human affairs.

Weber and other pioneering German scholars such as Georg Simmel focused on the problems of human history and consciousness that emerged in highly rationalized, impersonal, and "disenchanted" modern mass societies. Already on the defensive in , the belief in Progress suffered a body blow in the trenches. The First World War produced a pervasive sense of crisis and disorientation that would persist long after the Armistice of Accounts of human thought and action that probe below the surface of conscious mental life may be the 20th century's most influential contribution to modern culture.

Understanding this psychology of the unconscious mind means coming to grips with Freud. Freud was not only a clinician treating patients but a social theorist and leader of a psychoanalytic organization. His controversial ideas eventually led to a split with his own leading disciple, the Swiss therapist and author Carl Gustav Jung. British poets such as Wilfred Owen, W.

HIST.2370 Europe in the Twentieth Century (Formerly 43.237)

Yeats, and T. Eliot wrote movingly of sadness, loss, and confusion during and after the war. How do modernist works of fiction differ from naturalistic narratives?

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Are the former closer to our lived experience of time and to the way our consciousness "streams" through the routine moments and thoughts of our daily lives? Writing in French Proust and German Kafka and Mann , these modernist masters told stories that portrayed the emotions and memories of isolated individuals, and yet in doing so commented on the problems and anxieties of modern European civilization. This talk compares and contrasts two of the most influential movements in modern philosophy—phenomenology and logical positivism.

The former was associated with Edmund Husserl, while the latter grew out of the early work of Ludwig Wittgenstein. Spurred by the crises of the s, Marxian revisionists such as Theodor Adorno and Antonio Gramsci no less than revisionist liberals such as J. Keynes and Friedrich Hayek critically marshaled the resources of their respective traditions to seek solutions for Europe's problems. The intellectual and life journeys of the philosopher Martin Heidegger, his student Hannah Arendt, and the Lutheran pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer provide dramatically different examples of how thinkers responded to the challenges of Nazism.

Writing novels and plays as well as philosophical works, and taking stands on current issues, existentialists such as Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus stressed the need for personal decision and commitment in a world torn by strife and haunted by absurdity. What are the "three waves" of 20th-century feminist thought? How has de Beauvoir in particular drawn criticism from the third wave of feminists?

Are the grand events that fill the pages of most history books just trivial surface ripples on a much deeper and more powerful stream? What made the pathbreaking researchers of the French "Annales school" of social history and the structural anthropologists think that this might be the case? Reacting to both existentialism and structuralism, French thinkers such as Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida began in the s to lay out new critical ideas about knowledge and power, language and truth. What exactly is "postmodernism"? To answer this question and to gain a sense of how this influential but often puzzling "ism" fits into the larger themes of European thought, you turn to the ideas of the French theorists Jacques Lacan, Jean Baudrillard, and Julia Kristeva.

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Oram (G.) (ed.), Conflict & Legality. Policing mid-twentieth century Europe

What Does Each Format Include? Course Guidebook Details: page printed course guidebook Suggested readings Questions to consider Timeline. Standard carrier data rates may apply in areas that do not have wifi connections pursuant to your carrier contract. Lloyd Kramer is the Dean E. He earned his B. He earned his Ph. European Thought and Culture in the 19th Century. European Thought and Culture in the 20th Century is rated 4. Rated 5 out of 5 by GermanHistoryFan from Thinking About the Thinkers As Professor Kramer explains, the twentieth century was a very different beast than the nineteenth.

Nationalism, which seemed so liberating in the nineteenth century, devoured tens of millions of European lives in both world wars. Optimism turned to pessimism, as many intellectuals increasingly saw people and institutions as irrational or even absurd. By the end of the twentieth century, the postmodernists were attacking the assumption that it is possible to discover and organize empirical knowledge of reality.

Others, especially in the wake of Hitler and Stalin, reasserted the value of reason, liberty and equality. Like its predecessor it is heavy on the humanities and light on natural science. This course is certainly a good way to build up your summer reading list!

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There are only two psychologists, but they are Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, still household names. Social science also has a significant footprint. The course has an obvious bias toward the French. Out of about fifty featured persons, twenty-one are French, compared to fourteen Germans and Austrians, seven British, four Slavs, and four from Italy, Spain and Scandinavia. It would seem the French were smarter than I have ever given them credit for.

Yet there may be two good reasons for this. First, the relative importance of Europe in Western intellectual life declined as the USA—by comparison a cultural pipsqueak in the nineteenth century—came to the fore after World War I and certainly after World War II. Second, in it would still have been difficult to pick out Europeans of the s and s likely to have a great influence during the coming century.


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I therefore recommend this course highly. As with all the audio downloads, it is an excellent bargain. Date published: As with that course, this companion course is brimming with fascinating details, excellent biographical sketches, thought-provoking comments, and illuminating comparisons and contrasts.

Though some familiarity with the period is useful, it is not required. Much more so than the nineteenth century intellectual landscape, twentieth century thought and culture presents considerable challenges in navigating myriad developments. They were combined in Medieval Christianity, but broke apart with the Protestant Reformation, Scientific Revolution, and the Enlightenment. By the end of the century, science i. In one way or another, it seems that every single European country experienced some degree of nationalism, even if in making this point, the authors are stretching the meaning of the word to encompass ethnic, religious and sovereignty aspects.

The papers presented in this volume vary considerably in scope and value. Among the well-argued and persuasive contributions are the following. The case of Switzerland, well-documented by Bruno Fritzsche, can be interpreted as the exception that confirms the rule: where economic development is relatively even, cultural and linguistic issues are less pronounced and consequently, there is lesser need for either French- or German-speaking population to engage in significant political representation.

Similarly, Herbert Matis shows, among other things, how economic disparities within the Austro-Hungarian Empire, between the more prosperous West part and the semi-feudal East, led to rivalries at least in the short run. Along the same lines, Jerzy Tomaszewski underlines the difficulties faced by the inter-war Polish Republic as a result of significant economic and social differences among its various provinces.

In contrast, other papers, however, relate to the subject in a less successful manner. They involve countless classifications see the paper by J? Would it be uncharitable to observe that, in some cases, research on nationalism represented an opportunity for some authors to revisit well-traveled historical territory, adding only marginal insight through a new slant? Reviewing the less successful papers, it would seem that the value of such research might have been enhanced by the use of a theoretical framework, the rigorous presentation of propositions, and the delimitation of the relevant data.

Otherwise, the ready criticism of historical argument, namely that any number of facts may be amassed in support of most assertions, could well be argued to ring true. Among the less successful papers, we see the lack of a unifying theoretical perspective as the main drawback for the book considered as a whole. More broadly, all of the twenty papers presenting historical data on various countries and over different periods of time might have benefited from the use of a specific, relevant theoretical framework to enable the formulation of formal and testable propositions.

The use of theory could have helped greatly in facilitating comparisons among countries as well as in delineating the particular from the general. By doing so, the book might have opened up new debates and, therefore, put the basis for further study on the subject.



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