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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: Thinking the 20th Century - Hannah Arendt, Albert Camus, George Orwell (PGHC11368)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeStandard AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) Credits20
Home subject areaPostgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology) Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionThe 'dark century' has been illuminated by brightly shining ideologies. Nationalism, imperialism, fascism, communism, liberalism and other 'isms' have sometimes shaped, and often reflected, the most dynamic social and political forces of the century. One way to approach the 20th century is by following the now decayed paths and bridges between political thinking and the socio-political realities targeted by this thinking. This class will do so by both studying and discussing the texts of three outstanding European intellectuals, who combined restless biographies, clear-sightedness, unusual overviews, visionary moments, and a powerful style, with a capacity that was rather infrequent throughout the 20th century: independent thinking far from or against the mainstreams of their time. Reading Hannah Arendt (1906-1975), George Orwell (1903-1950) and Albert Camus (1913-1960) presents the 20th century in a different manner to modern textbooks. All three appear as remarkable through their (political) biographies, as they do through their work. The seminar will discuss chosen key-phenomena (imperialism, antisemitism, racism, propaganda, total power) along with some of the more abstract terms (freedom, acting, common decency, human rights). These terms are as central to the work of these three intellectuals as they are to any analysis of the 20th century. The readings will require students to engage with chapters from the original texts as well as with some of the more recent literature by historians. The class will also consider the strengths and limits of intellectual history.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?No
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2013/14 Semester 2, Available to all students (SV1) Learn enabled:  Yes Quota:  None
Web Timetable Web Timetable
Course Start Date 13/01/2014
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Additional Notes
Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
No Exam Information
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
After successfully completing the course, students will be able to:
- demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of some of the most important issues and themes connected to European history in the 20th century;
- independently identify and pursue research topics and relevant theoretical questions in the fields touched upon in the seminar;
- exhibit an understanding for different conceptual approaches to the study of history, understand the strengths and limits of theoretical approaches
- analyze and contextualize primary source material;
- arrive at independent, well-argued, well-documented and properly referenced conclusions in their coursework essay;
- demonstrate their skills in group discussion and oral presentations;
- demonstrate their written skills, their analytical and theoretical skills in coursework.
Assessment Information
There will be two types of assessed assignments:
- One 3000-word essay, due at the end of the semester (80% of the overall mark)
- one 800-word critical book review essay, due half-way through the semester (20% of the overall mark)
The assessed book review essay is an innovation in that it deviates from the norm of one essay per PG course that has been traditionally prevailed in History.
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus Not entered
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list NB : This is a first sketch for the bibliography used in the seminar. The definite form will have sub-categories for the works of the three authors, texts on intellectual history and few historical works on Imperialism, Holocaust, Totalitarianism.

- George Orwell, As I Please, 1943-1945: The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters, Vol. 3, David R. Godine 2000.
- George Orwell, Why I write. The Collected Essays, Penguin 1950.
- George Orwell, Burmese Days, 1934.
- George Orwell, Animal Farm, 1945.
- George Orwell, Nineteen-Eighty-Four, 1949.
- George Orwell, The Road to Wigan Pier, London, Victor Gollancz 1937.
- George Orwell, Inside the Wale and Other Essays, Victor Gollancz 1940.
- Dirk Moses, Hannah Arendt, Imperialisms, and the Holocaust, in: Volker Langbehn and Mohammad Salama, eds., German Colonialism, Race, the Holocaust, and Postwar Germany (New York: Columbia University Press, 2011), 72-92.
- Dirk Moses, Empire, Colony, Genocide: Keywords and Intellectual History," in A. Dirk Moses, ed., Empire Colony Genocide: Conquest, Occupation, and Subaltern Resistance in World History (New York: Berghahn Books, 2008), 3-54.
- Warren Breckman, Peter Gordon, A. Dirk Moses, Samuel A. Moyn, and Elliot Y. Neaman, eds., The Modernist Imagination: News Essays in Intellectual History and
Critical Theory, New York: Berghahn Books, 2009.
- Hans-Georg Gadamer, 'Text and Interpretation', in Dialogue and Deconstruction: the Gadamer-Derrida Encounter (Albany, NY, 1989), pp. 21-51.
- Leslie Butler, From the History of Ideas to Ideas in History, in: Modern Intellectual History 9 (2012), 157-169.
- Riccardo Bavaj, Intellectual History, in: Docupedia-Zeitgeschichte (English), 13. September 2010:
- Michel Leymarie, Jean-François Sirinelli (Ed.), L'histoire des intellectuels aujourd'hui, PUF, Paris 2003.
- Nicole Racine, Michel Trebitsch (Ed.), Intellectuelles. Du genre en histoire des intellectuels, Complexe, Paris 2004.
- Hans Manfred Bock, Der Intellektuelle als Sozialfigur. Neuere vergleichende Forschungen zu ihren Formen, Funktionen und Wandlungen, in: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (Hrsg.), Archiv für Sozialgeschichte. Bd. 51, Dietz, Bonn 2011, 591-643.
- Stefan Collini, Absent Minds: Intellectuals in Britain, Oxford University Press, 2006.
- Stefan Collini, "The literary critic and the village labourer: 'Culture' in twentieth-century Britain (The Prothero Lecture)", Royal Historical Society Transactions 14, 2004, 93-116.
- Quentin Skinner, "Meaning and Understanding in the History of Ideas" History and
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
KeywordsThinking 20th Century
Course organiserDr Stephan Malinowski
Tel: (0131 6)50 3588
Course secretaryMrs Lindsay Scott
Tel: (0131 6)50 9948
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