The Making of the Modern Mind

Manchester University, January 2019 (IDIV 240)    Instructors: Greg Clark & Steve Naragon





London and Paris: The Birth of Modernity

How did we become who we are? We moderns think, act, dress, view the world, and view ourselves, in ways radically different from our medieval ancestors. Come explore these human revolutions in two European cities — London and Paris — where many of these changes first emerged.

Course readings and activities draw from the sciences, philosophy, art, and history. We will meet on campus for three days, followed by two weeks in London and Paris.

Welcome to these online materials for the Jan 2019 course: The Making of the Modern Mind (IDIV 240, Manchester University). This course satisfies the 3-GC (Global Connections) requirement for the Core program. The course syllabus is available here.

January Session for 2019 begins on January 3 (Thursday) and ends on January 23 (Wednesday).

We will meet as a class on campus for two days (Thursday-Friday) before departing from Fort Wayne on Sunday, January 6, for London and then Paris, spending a week in each city. Travel from London to Paris will be on the high-speed Eurostar train that travels under the English Channel.

We will fly back to Fort Wayne on Monday, January 21, after which you will have time to complete your essays for the course (we will not meet again as a class once back in Indiana).

There will be plenty of time for sight-seeing — and our onsite activities for the class will take us into various corners of each city, as well as art galleries (such as the National Gallery and the Tate Modern in London; the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay in Paris) and various museums of science and natural history. Interested students may want to take in a musical or other theatre production in London’s famous West End.

Men have always lived in ‘modern’ times but they have not always been so much impressed with the fact. Our own time, conventionally considered as beginning about 1500 A.D., is the first to coin so neat a term and apply it so consistently. Modern derives from a late Latin adverb meaning just now, and in English is found in its current sense, contrasted with ancient, as early as the sixteenth century. This awareness of a shared newness, of a way of life different from that of one’s forebears — and by 1700 awareness of a way of life felt by many to be much better than that of their forebears — this is in itself one of the clearest marks of our modern culture.

— Crane Brinton, The Shaping of Modern Thought (1950)

The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.

— L. P. Hartley, The Go-Between (1953)

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