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Prospectus

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Between sage and wiseacre. Intellectuals and politics

Course
2014-2015

Admission requirements

-

Description

This research seminar will focus on how European novelists, academics and artists have claimed their roles in the political arena. The period studied in this seminar extends from the late nineteenth century to the 1980’s.

Academics like E.P. Thompson, Hannah Arendt and Jan Patocka did not only research politics, they also took position in political debates. They were not alone. Without becoming actual politicians, many 19th and 20th century intellectuals became activists for ideologies or even defenders of political systems. Some of them were very successful. Emile Zola for example had an impressive influence on the political debate and public opinion during the Dreyfuss affair. In other cases, such as Martin Heidegger’s, political involvement ended in a nightmare. Heidegger embraced Nazism and consequently transformed himself from a brilliant academic to a very controversial philosopher. Sometimes, one could say, failure and success went hand in hand. In the book The god that failed, six intellectuals confessed they went politically astray, chose a new radical position, and continued their battle in the opposite direction

In this seminar students will read and discuss (complex) political texts from novelists, academics and artists. As a group the students will compare a variety of intellectual traditions throughout Europe. They will look at repertoires of intellectual actions (writing, protesting, fighting) and find out how these repertoires differed by country and ideology. To complete the course students will write a paper on one intellectual of their choice (or on a small group of intellectuals). They will ask themselves what their subject’s political involvement looked like, what motivated their subject’s ‘political turn’, what the effect of their subject’s involvement was and whether he or she (intellectually) survived it or not.

Course objectives

  • The ability to independently identify and select sources

  • The ability to give a clear oral report on the research results in English

  • The ability to provide constructive academic feedback

  • The ability to independently formulate a clear and well-argued research question

  • The ability to analyze and evaluate literature and sources for the purpose of producing an original scholarly argument

  • The ability to interpret a corpus of sources

  • Knowledge and comprehension of one of the specialisations and its historiography specifically in the Political Culture and National Identities specialisation: political practices, symbols and perceptions, nationalism, and national identities in a cultural and societal context from 1800;

  • Knowledge and comprehension of the theoretical, conceptual and methodological aspects of the specialisation, more specifically in the Political Culture and National Identities specialisation: international comparison and transfer; the analysis of the specific perspectives of secondary studies; a cultural-historical approach of politics and a political-historical approach of culture;

Course specific objectives:

  • Knowledge of non-parliamentary political debates

  • Knowledge of the 19th and 20th century European intellectual traditions

  • Knowledge and comprehension of complex political critiques
    Knowledge of intellectual repertoires of political action

Extra course objectives for Res Master Students:

  • The ability to interpret a potentially complex corpus of sources

  • The ability to identify new approaches within existing academic debates

  • Knowledge of the interdisciplinary aspects of the specialisation

Timetable

View Timetable History

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Course Load

A total of 280 hours :

  • 28 hours for class attendance.

  • 72 hours for reading assignments and preparing an oral presentation

  • 180 hours for writing a paper.

Assessment method

Oral seminar presentation; class participation: 25%;
Presentations and participation in class discussions, demonstrating the following skills:

  • The ability to give a clear oral report on the research results in English.

  • The ability to provide constructive academic feedback.

  • Knowledge and comprehension of European intellectual traditions, repertoires of intellectual action, and ideological debates on nationalism, socialism and Nazism.

  • Knowledge and comprehension of the theoretical, conceptual and methodological aspects of the specialization PCNI. This involves the close reading of ideological texts, political theory, and intellectual historiography.

Paper (max. 7.500 words): 75%.
A paper demonstrating the following skills:

  • The ability to independently identify and select literature and sources and interpret and analyse them.

  • The ability to give a clear written report on the research results in English.

  • The ability to engage with constructive academic feedback.

  • The ability to independently formulate a clear and well-argued research question

  • Knowledge and comprehension of the historiography of PCNI (in particular intellectual history of the 19th and 20th century focusing on politics).

  • Knowledge and comprehension of the theoretical, conceptual and methodological aspects of the specialization PCNI (such as the comparison of intellectual traditions in different countries and from different ideological backgrounds).

To complete the final mark, please take notice of the following:

  • The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average

  • The final grade for the course is established by (i) determination of the weighted average combined with (ii) additional requirements.

  • A resit can only be done for the written paper.

The first two additional objectives for Research Master students are assessed through the essay. The third one is assessed through their participation in class and presentations.

‘Should the overall mark be unsatisfactory, the paper is to be revised after consultation with the teacher.’

Blackboard

Blackboard is used for this course:

  • Dissemination of information

  • Sharing research results

Reading list

To be announced

Registration

via uSis

Contact

dhr. Drs. A.P. van Veldhuizen