Crisis and future in 19th-century European Thought
Professor Axel Körner
Wednesdays 9-11, term 1
*THIS COURSE IS NOW FULL FOR TERM 1. WE WILL BE RUNNING IT AGAIN IN TERM 2, THURSDAYS 2-4 WHICH STUDENTS ARE WELCOME TO ENROL ON INSTEAD*
The course explores concepts of crisis and future in European thought during the long nineteenth century. The age of revolution started as an era widely associated with the liberation and emancipation of man, with technological progress, national aspirations and constitutional promises. How then do we explain that since the second half of the nineteenth century and in particular during the Fin-de-siècle concepts such as ‘alienation’, ‘degeneration’ and ‘decay’ started dominating European thought? Throughout Europe the experience of modernity led to the introduction of a new semantic of historical time. The past had lost its power to explain the present and as a consequence it became difficult to predict the future. A profound consciousness of crisis marked the new concepts of time, permeating the philosophical, political and scientific discourse of nineteenth-century Europe.
Assessment: 1 essay of up to 4,000 words.
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