Course Details

Course offered Winter 2021

HONORS 394 C: The Disenchantment of the West: From Shakespeare to the Coen Brothers (A&H / SSc, W)

HONORS 394 C: The Disenchantment of the West: From Shakespeare to the Coen Brothers (A&H / SSc, W)

SLN 15435 (View UW registration info »)

John (Jack) Whelan (Foster School of Business)

Credits: 5
Limit: 35 students

Honors Credit Type

This course is offered synchronously via remote learning.
Are we still moderns in our thinking and imaginations? Or are we morphing into something that is postmodern? What do those terms even mean? Why do many of the ideals and values that shaped the modern grand narrative—humanism, rationality, objective truth, progress, universal human rights—seem to be under a withering assault in different ways from both the cultural Right and Left?

Only through history do we acquire a true knowledge of ourselves. This course is designed to help students become more aware of the forces that otherwise unconsciously impinge on them to shape the narratives that give their lives meaning—or don’t. It will do so by looking at the remarkable social transformation that Northern Atlantic Societies underwent since the Renaissance and Reformation.

This course is in part about the history of ideas, but seeks more to trace the way the imagination of what we think is real and unreal has changed over the last millennium. This course will seek to understand the intellectual, economic, religious, and artistic/imaginative forces that drove this transformation. Lectures will provide necessary historical and conceptual background. Optional out-of-class film viewing will be scheduled, and time will be apportioned each week for discussion to hash through the themes and materials presented each week. Coursepack readings and films will be used to bring these ideas down to earth in such a way that we can contrast how people imagined the world hundred years ago with the way we imagine it now.