Course Schedule

As always, even after the syllabus has been posted, be aware that assignments may change. HONS 2103 students are encouraged to watch the Announcements section of the course’s blackboard site and their emails, and to listen and make note of any changes as they are announced in class.

HONS2103 printable syllabus for Fall 2023

PLEASE NOTE: The schedule information that follows hereafter is “under construction.” In the meantime, refer to the course schedule that is included in the syllabus (which can be accessed by clicking the green link above).

What’s modern about the modern world? (The World of theReformation)

Martin Luther, by Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1529. Uffizi, Florence
Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Read before class:

  • Luther, On Christian Liberty (Introduction to Contemporary Civilizations in the West (hereafter, ICCW, 717-728)
  • Luther, Address to the Nobility of the German Nation (ICCW 702-704, 713-17); “On Temporal Authority” (Course packet, hereafter CP, 1-4)

The Reformation of the World

John Calvin, Oil on wood, attributed to Hans Holbein the Younger
Thursday, September 1, 2022

Read before class:

  • Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (ICCW 731-751)
  • St. Ignatius of Loyola, Thinking with the Church (ICCW 767-773)

Conquest, Conversion, and Encounter in New Spain

Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda
Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Read before class:

  • Instructions to Nicolas de Ovanda, Governor of Hispaniola, from King Ferdinand and Isabella, 1501 (CP 5-6)
  • Sepulveda, Democrates Alter (ICCW 523-529)
  • Las Casas, Apologetic History of the Indies, Thirty Very Juridical Propositions, A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies (ICCW 530-43 (Norton Anthology of World Literature, hereafter NAWL, 566-571)
  • Gonzales Jimenez de Quesada, “One After Another, they All Fell under Your Majesty’s Rule” (Colombia Reader 22-33)

Early Modern England: Divine Right or Democracy?

John Lilburne (engraving by George Glover, 1641)
Thursday, September 8, 2022

Read before class:

  • Queen Elizabeth I speech to the troops at Tilbury, 1588 (CP 7)
  • King James I, The Trew Law of Free Monarchies (ICCW 923-931)
  • “An Agreement of the People” (ICCW 941-957)

Early Modern France: The Creation of the Sovereigh State

St. Jean de Brébeuf, S.J.
Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Read before class:

  • Cardinal Richelieu, Political Testament (ICCW 867-871)
  • Montaigne, “Intro” and “To the Reader” (NAWL 318-321); “That is is Folly to Measure Truth and Error by Our Own Capacity,” (CP, 8-10)
  • Extracts from Jean Baptiste Colbert (ICCW 890-894); Fenelon (ICCW 880-885)
  • The Jesuit Relations (CP 11-21)

A New Science of Politics

Frontispiece of "Leviathan"
Thursday, September 15, 2022

Read before class:

  • Hobbes, Leviathan (ICCW 961-972, 979-993)

Late Ming and Early Qing China

Huang Zongxi
Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Read before class

  • Chinese responses to early Christian contacts (Sources of Chinese Tradition, Volume II, hereafter SCT 142-154)
  • The Chinese Rites Controversy (CP 22-23)
  • Yuan Huang, Ledger of Merit and Demerit (SCT, Volume I, 906-911)
  • Huang Zongxi, Waiting for the Dawn (SCT 4-12)
  • Wang Fuzhi, selections (SCT 26-35)

Politics and property

John Locke, by Sir Godfrey Kneller. St. Petersburg: State Hermitage Museum
Thursday, September 22, 2022

Read before class:

  • Locke, Second Treatise of Government (ICCW 1010-1025, 1032-1039, 1044-1053)

A Revolution in Science

Galileo Galilei, portrait by Justus Sustermans, 1636
Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Read before class:

  • Bacon, Novum Organum, The Advancement of Learning (CP 24); (Readings in Epistemology, hereafter RE 3-10)
  • Galileo, The Assayer, Letter to Grand Duchess Christina (ICCW 786-799)
  • Bellarmine, “Letter on Galileo’s Theories” (CP 25-26)
  • Newton, Principia, (ICCW 849-852)

First Paper Due


Rationalism and Method

René Descartes, by Frans Hals. Paris: Louvre
Thursday, September 29, 2022

Read before class:

  • Descartes, Discourse on Method, Meditations on the First Philosophy (RE 19-33, 35-43, 46-53)

Europeans and Ottomans

1840 portrait of Muhammad Ali Pasha by Auguste Couder
Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Read before class:

  • De Busbecq, The Turkish Letters (CP 27-28)
  • Celebi, The Book of Travels (NAWL 84-92)
  • Lady Montagu, Turkish Embassy Letters (29-36)
  • Pasha, The Book of Counsel for Viziers and Governors (CP 37-40)
  • Status of Christians & Jews 1772 (CP 41-43)

Test 1


Has modern society made us better?

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, by Maurice Quentin de la Tour, 1753. San Quentin: Musée Antoine Lécuyer
Thursday, October 6, 2022

Read before class:

  • Kant, What is Enlightenment, 1784 (CP 44-47)
  • Rousseau, Discourse on the Origins of Inequality, The Social Contract, (The Communist Manifesto and Other Revolutionary Writings, hereafter CMRW 1-19, ICCW 1269-1282, 1295-1306)

Fall Break – No Classes

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Empiricism and Skepticism

David Hume, painted by Alan Ramsey
Thursday, October 13, 2022

Read before class:

  • Hume,  An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (RE 129-152)

Reason and its Limits

Immanuel Kant
Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Read before class:

  • Kant, Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics, Critique of Pure Reason, Preface to the First Edition, Preface to the Second Edition (RE 155-171, 188-201)

Qing China: Tradition and Adaptation

Emporer Quian Long
Thursday, October 20, 2022

Read before class:

  • The Sacred Edict (SCT 70-72)
  • Chen Hongmou, selections (SCT 156-168)
  • Hong Liangji, selections (SCT 172-179)
  • Emperor Qian Long, “Letter to King George III” (CP 48-45)

The Holy Spirit in Colombia and Mexico

Detail from posthumous portrait of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (by Miguel Cabrera -- oil on canvas, 1750)
Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Read before class:

  • Anna Maria Splendiani and Tulio Aristizabal, Miracles Made Possible (Colombia Reader 105-109)
  • Francisca Josefa Castillo, My Soul Impoverished and Unclothed (Colombia Reader 110-112)
  • Sor Juana de la Cruz, “You Foolish Men” (CP 51)
  • Sor Juana de la Cruz, Reply to Sor Filotea (CP 52)

Money and Morals

Adam Smith
Thursday, October 27, 2022

Read before class:

  • Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, The Wealth of Nations (CP 53-57) (ICCW 1314-1333)

Revolution: Those Unruly Colonies

Thomas Jefferson, by Rembrandt Peale, 1805. New York Historical Society
Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Read before class:

  • Paine, “Appendix to Common Sense” (CMRW 56-62)
  • Jefferson, “A Summary View of the Rights of British America” (CMRW 41-55)
  • Gordon and Trenchard, Cato’s Letters (CP 58-64)

Second paper due


Revolution: Liberté, egalité, fraternité!

The Death of Marat, by Jacques-Louis David, 1793. Royal Museums of Fine Arts, Brussels
Thursday, November 3, 2022

Read before class:

  • Sieyes, What Is The Third Estate? (CMRW 70-74)
  • Decree upon the National Assembly (CMRW 75-76)
  • The Tennis Court Oath (CMRW 77-78)
  • Marat, “Are We Undone?” (CMRW 82-84)
  • “La Marseillaise” (CP 65-66)

Test 2


Virtue, Terror and Slavery in France and Haiti

18th Century Oil on Canvas thought to be a portrait of Ottabah Cugoana
Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Read before class:

  • Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France (CP 67-73)
  • Robespierre, “Speech on the Principles of Political Morality” (CP 74-77)
  • Ottabah Cugoana, “Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil of Slavery” (CP 78-81)
  • Toussaint L’Ouverture, Final Declaration 1801 (CP 82-83)
  • Anonymous, “The Revolution in Saint-Dominique…” (CP 84-90)
  • Wordsworth, To Toussaint L’Ouverture (CP 91)

Rights Talk

The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen
Thursday, November 10, 2022

Read before class:

  • The Declaration of Independence (CMORW 63-66)
  • Madison, The Federalist, no. 10 (ICCW 1307-1313)
  • The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (CMORW 79-81)
  • Wollstonecraft, The Vindication of the Rights of Women (CP 92-97)

The Emergence of Nationalism

Jacques Louis David - Bonaparte crossing the Great St. Bernard , 20 May 1800
Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Read before class:

  • DeMaistre, Considerations on France, Study on Sovereignty (CP 98-99)
  • Fichte, Addresses to the German Nation (CP 100-102)
  • Hegel, Introduction to the Philosophy of History (CP 103-107)

Bolivar and South American Independence

Posthumous portrait of Simón Bolívar (by Ricardo Acevedo Bernal)
Thursday, November 17, 2022

  • To Santafé! To Santafé! (Colombia Reader 182-188)
  • Gregorio José Rodríguez Carrillo, Bishop of Cartagena, A King of Cups (Colombia Reader 113-117)
  • Bolivar, “War to the Death” (Colombia Reader 328-330)
  • Bolivar, Address to the Congress of Angostura, 1819 (CP 108-114)
  • Bolivar “Letter to General Juan Jose Flores, 9 November 1830” (CP 115)

Third paper due


Romanticism and Science

Artwork from the 1831 edition of "Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus"
Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Read before class:

  • Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

Thanksgiving Holiday

Thursday, November 24, 2022

The Romantic Sensibility I

Margaret Fuller in 1846 (Daguerreotype by John Plumbe)
Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Read before class:

  • Rousseau, The Confessions (CP 116)
  • Wordsworth “Lines Written a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey…” (CP 117-120)
  • John Keats, “Ode to Autumn”(CP 121)
  • Margaret Fuller, “Meditations” and “Flaxman” (CP 122-124)
  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “Frost at Midnight” (CP 125-126)

Modernity and the Middle East

Statue of Al-Tahtawi at Sohag University, EgyptStatue of Al-Tahtawi at Sohag University, Egypt
Thursday, December 1, 2022

Read before class:

  • Al Wahhab, The History and Doctrines of the Wahhabis (Norton Islam 250-56)
  • Ottoman Imperial Proclamation “The French Revolution Refuted” (CP 127)
  • Al-Jabarti, Chronicles (Norton Islam 518-26)
  • Al-Tahtawi, The Extraction of Gold or an Overview of Paris, The Honest Guide for Girls and Boys (CP 128-134)
  • The Gülhane Decree (CP 135-138)

The Romantic Sensibility II

Goethe in the Roman Campagna (Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Tischbein, Oil on canvas, 1786)
Tuesday, December 6, 2022

This class will feature a special presentation by Dr. Dena Levine: Romanticism in Music

Read before class:

  • Goethe, Poetry and Truth, Conversations with Eckermann (CP 139-142)
  • Schiller, Ode to Joy (CP 143-144)
  • Adam Mickiewicz, Selections (CP 145)
  • Alexander von Humboldt, Diary 1801 (Colombia Reader 517-521)
  • Thomas Moore, “The Last Rose of Summer”; “The Minstrel Boy” (CP 146)

The Ambivalence of Modern Democracy

Alexis de Tocqueville, by Theodore de Chasseriau, 1850
Thursday, December 8, 2022

Read before class:

  • Tocqueville, Democracy in America, selections (CP 147-161)

Test 3