CS: Cosmopolitanism and the Avant-garde, 1900-1939

Timothy Olin's picture

This course will explore European cultural and intellectual history from the fin-de-siècle through the interwar years. The primary focus will be East-Central Europe, although there will be readings on Western Europe and the Russian empire/Soviet Union as well. Topics include Isaac Deutscher’s notion of the “non-Jewish Jew;” tensions between cosmopolitanism and national identity; literary and linguistic avant-garde movements including formalism, structuralism, dada, futurism, semiotics, "trans-sense" poetry; and the avant-gardists' respective ideological, aesthetic, and linguistic programs as they responded to a polarizing political spectrum and a perceived crisis of modernity, to a sense of Europe at the brink of both catastrophe and infinite possibilities, to the Russian Revolution and the rise of fascism, to nihilism and revolution. Can be taken for seminar credit with the permission of the instructor.