Spring 2004

SCIE 624
Science and Modernism

Beveridge,David L.

01/26/2004 - 05/08/2004
Monday 06:00 PM - 08:30 PM

Hall-Atwater 84

This seminar is concerned with early modernism and the specific set of imaginative scientific and artistic achievements that took place in the late 19th and early 20th centuries that significantly influenced the subsequent course of western culture and intellectual history. This epoch witnessed the discoveries of atomic theory, relativity theory and quantum mechanics in the sciences, developments in the "fourth dimension" and non-Euclidean geometry in mathematics, post-impressionism, cubism, fauvism, futurism and dynamism in the arts, the first movies, modernist music and dance, and new experiments in drama, poetry and narrative fiction. We will examine critically the ideas in common between and among the various disciplines, and hypotheses about and evidence for explicit or implicit cross-fertilizations of ideas.

Readings include: William Everdell, THE FIRST MODERNS; Roger Shattuck, THE BANQUET YEARS; J. Seigle, BOHEMIAN PARIS: CULTURE, POLITICS AND THE BOUNDARIES OF BOURGEOIS LIFE; Emile Zola, THE MASTERPIECE; R. Rucker,GEOMETRY, RELATIVITY AND THE FOURTH DIMENSION; A.I. Miller, EINSTEIN/PICASSO, and some related books. A course packet of primary source materials will be supplied.

Written work for the course includes weekly reading responses and a term project.

In advance of the class, students are encouraged to read Edwin Abbott, Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions (1880); available online at:

http://abbott.thefreelibrary.com/Flatland and begin reading Emile Zola, The Masterpiece (Oxford University Press, Paperback).

David Beveridge (B.A. College of Wooster; Ph.D. University of Cincinnati) is professor of chemistry and university professor of the sciences and mathematics.


Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Seminar

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 18

Texts to purchase for this course:
A course packet will be provided at the first meeting of class. Undergraduates who wish to enroll must contact the GLSP office and receive written permission of the instructor.

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