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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Nicolaas Barr Clingan
HIST 207
Seattle Campus

Introduction to Intellectual History

Ideas in historical context. Comparative and developmental analysis of Western conceptions of "community," from Plato to Freud. Offered: jointly with CHID 207.

Class description

This course introduces students to the discipline of intellectual history. It will explore the idea of "community" through an historical and critical examination of the works of canonical figures in the Western intellectual tradition, as well as critical reflections from prominent theorists who have challenged this tradition from within. Rather than striving for comprehensiveness, we will focus on key turning points in the idea of community and the historical crises out of which they often arose. Throughout, we will consider how specific conceptions of truth have figured into attempts to define, construct, and contest community and its limits.

Student learning goals

Describe some of the major historical contours of Western ideas of community.

Become familiar with the methodological tools of intellectual history as a discipline.

Read, analyze, and discuss canonical texts with a critical perspective.

Explicate challenging theoretical ideas and situate texts in different historical contexts.

General method of instruction

Lectures and discussion sections.

Recommended preparation

There are no prerequisites for this course, although some background in Western history is helpful.

Class assignments and grading

Active participation in class (lectures and discussion sections) is a major component of the grade. Although there are no comprehensive midterms or final examinations, there will be weekly quizzes. Two short papers (approx. 1500 words) are required.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Nicolaas Barr Clingan
Date: 02/03/2014