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Modernity and its Discontents - Module outline

Week 1:

Lecture : The concept of Modernity

Preparatory reading:

Karl Marx and the critique of capitalist modernity

Week 2: 

Lecture: Marx and the rise of industrial society

Seminar: The concept of alienation

Week 3:

Seminar: The individual as social being & ways of being in the world

  • Karl Marx: Ökonomisch-Philosophische Manuskripte aus dem Jahre 1844 (extracts, link see above) - part 2


Week 4:

Seminar: Marx's view of the dynamic of modernity

Friedrich Nietzsche and the critique of Christian morality

Week 5:

Lecture: Nietzsche's aristocratic radicalism

Seminar: Philosophy of the Übermensch

Week 6: Reading week

Week 7:

Seminar: The genesis of morality and the subject

Georg Simmel and the phenomenology of urban life

Week 8:

Lecture: Georg Simmel's sociology

Seminar: Man in the metropolis

Sigmund Freud's theory of civilisation and its discontents

Week 9:

Lecture: Freud's model of the psyche


    • Freud: Das Unbehagen in der Kultur, Frankfurt: Fischer, 2009 - PART 1

Week 10: 

Seminar: Unhappiness in Civilisation

    • Freud: Das Unbehagen in der Kultur, Frankfurt: Fischer, 2009 - PART 2
    • Questions week 10

Essay workshop: Recording Part 1 (H2.44) & Part 2 (H2.02)

(first 10 mins or so are a discussion of the module feedback and follow-on questions)

PLEASE NOTE: Slight changes to this programme are possible!

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Reading list and extracts for download: Click here

Schiller pic

Marx picture


simmel pic

Freud pic