What we're about

A Philosophy, Religion, Political book discussion group based on Columbia University's Contemporary Civilization Curriculum from Plato to Nietzsche and into the 20th Century. With bi-weekly sessions, the entire cycle should take 30 months to complete but one could join at any point in our survey of the 2500-year development of human thought. For a preview of course texts, under "Photos," select "Phil Book Covers."

Upcoming events (2)

W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk (+ BT Washington speech)

Exploring race relations for the first time, we turn to the major work of W.E.B. Du Bois [masked]), The Souls of Black Folk (1903), plus a related speech by Booker T. Washington Assigned readings: •Booker T. Washington, 1895 Atlanta Exposition Speech (pdf available at https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=bWhyZC5vcmd8YXB1c2gtd2l0aC1tci1lbGxpc3xneDo1YWU2ZWU3YTI1NTAxOTFh). •DuBois, Souls of Black Folk: The Forethought; and Chapters 1-3, 6, 11 (I. Of our Spiritual Strivings; II. Of the Dawn of Freedom; III. Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others; VI. Of the Training of Black Men; XI. Of the Passing of the First-Born) (https://www.gutenberg.org/files/408/408-h/408-h.htm) Thanks to our Cari Barnes for reading recs and the following: At the turn of the century, Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois tussled over a fundamental vision for improving the woeful status of many Black folk in American society. Much discussion centered on labor, as well as training and education policy. In contrast to Washington's pragmatic focus on industrial education exemplified at his Tuskegee Institute, DuBois took aim at the very souls of Black folk. DuBois advocated for a vanguard of classically educated Black leaders who would, like a present-day Moses, lead their people along the path toward the American dream of freedom, equality and prosperity. As both men wrestled with the continuing White opposition to Black advancement in their times, each developed very different strategies in response. In his 1895 Atlanta Exposition speech (later dubbed “The Atlanta Compromise" by DuBois), Washington appealed to White society to employ Black workers, while assuring them that social integration need not follow. The Supreme Court’s 'separate but equal’ doctrine was enshrined with Plessy v. Ferguson, decided the following year. In contrast, DuBois could not set aside the oppressive social inequality in America, the pain of which he so heart-wrenchingly and beautifully expressed upon the death of his infant son. DuBois yearned for the racial equality and acceptance he had found while studying in Germany, but that stubbornly eluded the multitude of Black souls in America. From The Souls of Black Folk: “I sit with Shakespeare, and he winces not. Across the color line I move arm and arm with Balzac and Dumas, where smiling men and welcoming women glide in gilded halls. From out of the caves of evening that swing between the strong-limbed Earth and the tracery of stars, I summon Aristotle and Aurelius and what soul I will, and they come all graciously with no scorn nor condescension. So, wed with Truth, I dwell above the veil. Is this the life you grudge us, O knightly America? Is this the life you long to change into the dull red hideousness of Georgia? Are you so afraid lest peering from this high Pisgah, between Philistine and Amalekite, we sight the Promised Land?” Assigned readings: -Booker T. Washington, 1895 Atlanta Exposition Speech -DuBois, Souls of Black Folk: The Forethought; and Chapters 1-3, 6, 11 (I. Of our Spiritual Strivings; II. Of the Dawn of Freedom; III. Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others; VI. Of the Training of Black Men; XI. Of the Passing of the First-Born) The DuBois text is available from Project Gutenberg: https://www.gutenberg.org/files/408/408-h/408-h.htm Resources on African American Intellectual History: https://www.aaihs.org/resources/charlestonsyllabus/ • Important to know Feel free to bring up secondary sources that can help us make our way, but please keep them to items that will clarify the text in question. Next readings (subject to change): August 30: Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex Sept 13: Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism Paste the link here in your browser for a draft syllabus for this course. https://www.college.columbia.edu/core/sites/core/files/pages/Contemporary%20Civilization%20Syllabus%202019-20.pdf

Simone De Beauvoir, The Second Sex (1949)

Online event

Returning to feminist studies, we turn now to the founding work of post-war feminism, Simone De Beauvoir's The Second Sex. Please read the following: Vol. 1, “Facts & Myths” pp. 3-68 Vol. II, “Lived Experience” Introduction & The Girl, pp. [masked] Total pages: 81 Please use the 2011 Vintage Edition From SEP: The Second Sex, recognized as one of the hundred most important works of the twentieth century, would not be counted as philosophy because it dealt with sex, hardly a burning philosophical issue (so it was said).... Long overdue, Beauvoir’s recognition as a philosopher is now secure....Beauvoir would have appreciated the fact that her current philosophical status reflects our changed understanding of the domain of philosophy and the changed situation of women, for it confirms her idea of situated freedom—that our capacity for agency and meaning-making, that whether or not we are identified as agents and meaning-makers, is constrained, though never determined, by our situation. She would also have appreciated the fact that while her works were instrumental in effecting these changes, their lasting effect is a tribute to the ways that others have taken up her philosophical and feminist legacies. Recommended edition: : Publisher: Vintage; 1 edition (May 3, 2011) Language: English ISBN-10:[masked]X ISBN-13:[masked] See below for the Zoom link to this online meeting. Next reading (subject to change): Sept 13: Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism Paste the link here in your browser for a draft syllabus for this course. https://www.college.columbia.edu/core/sites/core/files/pages/Contemporary%20Civilization%20Syllabus%202019-20.pdf

Past events (75)

[ONLINE] Sigmund Freud on Neuroses

Online event

Photos (142)