January 08, 2004

I am teaching Western Civ this coming semester.

I am still tweaking the class schedule - do I want to assign a paper due at 3:00pm on a Monday on the first night of Passover? Probably, but I will make it clear that I know I am doing it and that I will accept papers early or by email if kids want to go home for the holiday.

I also need to figure out what to ask the kids to do with the readings. We are using Tom Noble et al, Western Civilization, a book I picked because I liked the pictures and primary documents it includes. Don't laugh - pictures matter a LOT in Western Civ. We are also reading three primary documents:
- Tom Paine Common Sense, Rights of Man, Age of Reason

- Marx & Engels The Communist Manifesto
- Erich Maria Remarque All Quiet on the Western Front.

I intend to have the kids write about Rights of Man and AQWF. I am still tweaking the questions - I like to put the paper topics on the syllabus when I can. I know that the question for Rights of Man will try to get at the enlightenment roots of the French Revolution, and also on the extent to which the Revolution was an overturning of all that went before. For Remarque, I want a question that will get the kids to think about how the Great War changed the participants and their society - I buy into the notion that the Great War killed the idea of Progress, at least in its simplistic Belle Epoque variety, and was the crucial moment when people realized the full meaning of modernity. But how to guide the kids to that with a paper topic that will not leave them bogged down in the horrors of trench warfare?

I have till Monday. I will think on that. And now I will go write a little and think about tomorrow's interview.

Posted by Red Ted at January 8, 2004 12:45 PM | TrackBack