Choosing Readings

November 19, 2004

I am putting together my reading list for Western Civ II next semester. After reading Brad's comment and thinking about cultural literacy and these nuggets of social thought I have decided that I will indeed extend the readings with a set of short documents. I had been planning to give them a text (McKay et all), the Burke-Paine debate (Reflections on the Revolution / Rights of Man) and All Quiet on the Western Front (because it is an unwritten rule, and because I like it better than Storm of Steel).

So, what else do I want to give them - knowing that I will be distributing the reading list as an electronic reader and thus will want to use public domain etexts where-ever possible, for I make typos when I retype things.

Obviously Max Weber and the Protestant Work Ethic - although I will have to cut it down to a reasonable number of words.
Likewise I like to give Marx's Communist Manifesto and a snippet of Rousseau explaining the general will.

Beyond that I will look for readings that will support my larger narratives for the semester: decline of the Ottoman Empire, transition from absolutism to democracy, evolutions in nations and states. It is a very political structure.

Off the top of my head I am thinking:

  • Jean Calvin - something from Institutes, but what?
  • John Hobbes - something from Leviathan on the state of nature and why we need absolute government
  • excerpts from the House of Commons hearings on work conditions in England during the First Industrial Revolution. Make sure this is a woman's story.
  • A Russian short story - Dostoevsky or Gogol
  • Speeches by Hitler and Mussolini, including a link to some of the streaming Hitler video on the web.
  • Something from the Russian Revolution - Lenin? Trotsky? A bit from Quiet flows the Don?
  • Lili Marlene (because the survey is all about the cliches)
  • Kipling poems about imperialism - White Man's Burden, one other TBA (but not When the Widow Gave the Party because that one confused the kids last semester.)
  • A chapter from a French 19th century women's novel - but which one? My first thought was Madame Bovary, but that was written by a guy. I know the British much better than the French.
The problem I have is that I am very strong on political theory, strong on 18th and 19th-century history, weak on the early stuff, and weak on primary documents in European women's history.

In addition, I don't have a lot of time to put into this. I am adding primary documents because I know myself, and know that I will twitch and fret if I don't have them during the semester, but I don't want to get bogged down creating this reader the way I got bogged down creating my US1 reader this summer.

Still, it makes a nice down-time think project.

Posted by Red Ted at November 19, 2004 12:03 PM | TrackBack

u write so long . I am from malysia and 13 yeard old. I will feel giddy to read because my english not good. Sory

Posted by: Hokkien_Siang at November 20, 2004 10:23 AM

Martin Luther instead of Calvin. Letter to the Christian Nobility, Large Catechism

Emerson, Self Reliance, Thoreau. Economy from Walden

Tolstoy, Where Love is there is God, How Much Land does a Man Need?

All's Quiet on the Western Front

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

Posted by: pragmatic_realist at November 21, 2004 08:42 PM
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