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Course Catalog

IN-PERSON: How is Now, The Nature of the Modern World   

**This class will be taught in-person**

Over the past 250 years, the way people live has become radically different from that which has gone  before. We use the label “modern” to describe how we are now. Our world is characterized by longer lives and higher standards of living, science and technology, reason, cities, globalization, democracy, a host of  “isms”, acceleration, compression, and staccato shifts and upsets (although there are many variations and  exceptions). This history course will give you one interpretation of how the world became “modern” and  how modernity has played out in culture, material life, events, and, in particular, human consciousness/ epistemology/ mentality.

Week by Week Outline

I)  Introduction – The scope of our course.

·       Modern, modernity, modernism, and modernization.

·       Traditional societies around the world, including the “Ancient Regime” in Europe and traditional societies in the 20/21C.

·       The launch points of modernity: the  Enlightenment, French Revolution, and Industrialization.

Changes in the physical world and how we see it

Changes in the biologic world and how we see it


II) The Modern Mentality

·       Space and Time – The pace of change; the  future and the past

·       The Idea of Progress

·       Rationality and Regularization – Science, religion, bureaucracy, planning, uncertainty, the  unconscious, information.

·       Coping with complexity

III) People and Society

·       Nations and states

·       Mass culture

·       An economic world


·       Where we are now and what comes next (biology, technology, philosophy).

·       Is there such a thing as “post-modern”?


This class is not available at this time.