Dec 02, 2020  
2019-2020 College of Liberal Arts (Admitted Fall 2019/Spring 2020) 
    
2019-2020 College of Liberal Arts (Admitted Fall 2019/Spring 2020) [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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HIST 375 - The Human Self: A Political History

4 credits
Over the past two hundred years, few political gestures have been more ubiquitous or powerful than the appeal to our common “humanity.”  It has been used to challenge forms of oppression and exclusion, and in the guise of “human rights” it has come to dominate debates over international relations.  But a politics based the human self (or, as it once was, “man”) has often been accused of harboring limitations or prejudices that undercut its aspirations to universality.  More recently, the reference to the peculiar dignity of the human species has been brought into question by studies into the cognitive and emotive capabilities of other animals, and developments in artificial intelligence.  In this course, we will examine the emergence of the human self as a master concept of politics.  But we will also track the criticism of this concept by feminists and anti-colonial writers up until animal rights activists, and consider how scientific and technological developments over the past hundred years have troubled the sharp line between humans and other creatures that humanist politics requires.  In addition to political and philosophical texts, we will be watching several films, including “Planet of the Apes,” “Terminator,” and “The Matrix,” which raise in new ways that perennial question: What does it mean to be human? CLA-Breadth/Humanities, CLA-Diversity International, CLA-Writing Intensive



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