School of Athen by Raphael

LBST 410: Course Outline - Fall 2013

  Looking, Thinking, Feeling:

Reason and Imagination in the Enlightenment

Heralded as the Age of Reason -- and also the Age of Passion -- the Enlightenment is a period of seismic intellectual change. It ushers in new promises about the ability of humans to be agents of progress, and makes bold new claims about the nature of progress itself. Against this "tyranny of Reason and Science" dissenting voices championed emotion and the sublimity of Nature, but it is the triumph of the Rational that dominates this new, recognizably "modern" world of the 17th -19th centuries.

Though many embrace the promises of the Enlightenment to bring greater liberty and autonomy for the individual, the rapidity and scope of the changes also invites deep analysis of the human condition. In this tumultuous time, new commentaries emerge about how we are to understand ourselves as moral, political, and social actors. How are we to think about life and the place of humans within a possibly Godless universe? Where does society come from? Does morality appeal to reason or emotion? Is there any certain basis for morality at all? What does it mean to be free? How can I know myself?

This year we have organized the course to explore the themes of reason and imagination in the Enlightenment. We will engage with key Enlightenment thinkers as they explore fundamental questions about the authority of reason, the relation of self to society, the notion of subjectivity, the role of human imagination in societal progress, and the forces of civilization. Included are such figures as Adam Smith, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Jane Austen, Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, and Friedrich Nietzsche.

  Weekly Timetable






Thu 10:30-12:30


Bldg 355, Room 107

Seminar F11N01

Tue & Thu 1:00-2:30

Laura Suski

Bldg 355, Room 107

  Instructors' Office Hours






Janice Porteous

Fridays 1-2pm



Laura Suski

Tuesdays 10-11am

Mondays and Wednesdays 1-2pm




The following list indicates the required reading. Whether you buy your book from the bookstore or some other source, it is important that you try to obtain the exact editions specified, as translations differ in significant ways. Also, having the same edition facilitates ease of reference during seminars and in written work.

•  Adam Smith, Theory of Moral Sentiments. Liberty Fund Inc. Reissue edition 1984. (ISBN


•  Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility . Broadview Press. (ISBN: 9781551111254)

•  Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on Inequality. Penguin Edition. (ISBN: 978- 0140444391)

•  Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman . Dover Thrift (ISBN:


•  John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism . Dover Thrift. (ISBN: 0-486-45422-5)

•  Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species , ed. Joseph Carroll, Broadview. (ISBN:1-55111-


•  Karl Marx, Selected Writings , ed. L.H. Simon, Indianapolis , Hackett. (ISBN: 0-87220-218-6)

•  Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morality . Indianapolis , Hackett. (ISBN: 978-0-


•  Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness . Dover Thrift. (ISBN: 0-48626-464-5)

•  Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights . Dover Thrift.

•  Poetry (note: The poetry selections are available for free online. Please print up

the poems and bring them to seminar on the day that they are being discussed):

William Wordsworth, "Lines Written in Early Spring": ,"Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey, on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye During a Tour. July 13, 1798":

Please see the end of this document for a more detailed reading schedule.

Assignments and Grades

The relative percentage weights assigned to different activities will be as follows:

Essays (2 at 20% each): 40%
Seminar Notes: 8 x 1.25% =10%
Seminar Participation: 20%
Art Project: 10%
Final: 20%


You will be writing two essays during the semester (not including the final exam), one before the Liberal Studies reading break, and one after (see details of the sign-up process below).

Your essay should be approximately 1200 words long (about 5 pages double-spaced, 12-point font size); it is not to be a research paper but a thoughtful response to particular topics in the core reading (you will be choosing topics from questions provided by us). No outside reading is required before you write the essay. The essay assignments are designed to allow for dialogue on a topic, and to encourage you to develop your ideas and writing skills. For information on formatting, please see "General Writing Requirements" later in this document.

You will be required to sign up to write two essays. A sign-up sheet will be distributed at the beginning of the course (in order to distribute the essay-topics across the readings, only a limited number of students will be allowed to write on each reading). The first draft of your essay will be due on the first seminar in which the text is discussed. Please note that you will not submit a seminar note in the week in which you are submitting an essay.

Your first draft will be submitted and evaluated by your seminar leader. Once the first draft has been graded and returned to you, you will then have one week to revise it and resubmit it for a final grade. Please note that your original graded essay must be submitted with your rewrite. Also note that incomplete essays, partial outlines, point form notes, and so on are not acceptable as first drafts of seminar essays (i.e. "draft" here does not mean "rough copy;" you should be submitting the best essay you can write). You will have an opportunity to rewrite your essays only if you hand them in on time. Due dates at the end of the term will be adjusted to allow time for this process to take place. The sign-up sheet will note these adjustments.

Seminar Notes

Seminar notes are due at the Tuesday seminars. Eight seminar notes are required and are graded on a pass/fail basis: a pass receives the full 1.25% grade, a fail receives "0"; furthermore, the quality of your seminar notes will be taken into account in the calculation of your seminar participation grade. Your seminar leader will provide written feedback on each seminar note. No seminar note will be accepted after the seminar in which the text was discussed . Please keep track of your seminar note submissions throughout the course. You cannot hand in a seminar note on a text for which you are writing an essay. Note that there are more than 8 weeks in the semester so you will not need to hand in a seminar note each Tuesday. You will be handing in 8 seminar notes and two essays and so this should leave you with a couple of weeks in which you do not have to write a seminar note.

The purpose of these notes is to enhance your depth of engagement with the texts, and to better prepare you for seminar discussion of these texts. In your seminar note, draw attention to a feature of the text that you find particularly puzzling or engaging, and which you think would form a good topic for seminar discussion. Your question should take us into the text rather than away from it, and it should address interpretive issues rather than matters of fact or context which cannot be answered by reading the text.

In writing your seminar notes, you should avoid the following: making a list of many features, rather than staying firmly focused on one; merely summarising or describing text; making a merely personal response to the work. It may come as a surprise, but whether you like or don't like a text will be the least interesting comment you can make about it. The instructors will be more keen to see your understanding of a work than to know your personal preferences. Finally, don't stray from the topic: each seminar note must be squarely focused on the text, not on you, the world, or life in general.

Although your seminar note must be written in complete sentences, the note is not a formal essay; it need not have a thesis statement, conventionally designed paragraphs, and so on. The instructors will be looking for evidence of engagement with the text, as well as attentive reading and thoughtful consideration of it.

Seminar notes should be about 100-300 words long and preferably typed, though they may be neatly handwritten in ink. Ensure that you leave space for your instructor to write comments on your notes (leave generous margins and double space your notes). Take care to proofread your notes for spelling and grammar.

Course Participation

Please note that, because of the essential participatory nature of Liberal Studies courses, failure to regularly attend the seminar and lecture will have a significant negative impact on your mark for participation. You are required to attend:

1) all lectures on Thursday mornings, and
2) your seminar group on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The lectures, held on Thursday mornings, serve several purposes: to initiate discussion and debate around issues raised by the texts; to provide occasional background or contextual information that will make reading and discussing the texts easier; and, occasionally, to show how issues arising from the text are connected to issues in the modern world or to issues arising out of texts we have looked at before. The lectures will sometimes be given by more than one member of the teaching team or by invited guests.

The Liberal Studies Department prohibits audio or video taping of seminars.

Nanaimo Students with documented disabilities requiring academic and or exam accommodation should contact Accessibility Services, building 200, or call 740-6446.

Seminar Participation

Seminar participation is a fundamental component in all Liberal Studies courses. It is therefore important that you come to every class, that you have prepared yourself for every class and that you contribute to class discussion and activities. Valid reasons for missing a seminar include such things as illness, emergency child-care demands and car break-down en route to class. Valid reasons for missing seminar do not include having to work on assignments, the need to carry out a part-time job, having to be out of town for a vacation, etc. That is, under normal circumstances, only an unforeseen emergency which actually prevents you from attending class will offer you a valid reason for not being there. Please consult with your instructor if, for any reason, you anticipate a number of absences from seminar.

A student who has a valid excuse for missing a seminar must discuss with his or her seminar leader whether and how the work missed may be made up.

In awarding seminar participation a mark, the criteria the instructor considers include, above all, the following points:

* preparation for the seminar (Did the student have the book? Did the student read the text, bring the text to class, and come to the seminar prepared to participate fully? Did the student's seminar note indicate thoughtful engagement with the text?)

* quality of the participant's contributions to the discussion (Did the student contribute some intelligent questions, answers, doubts about matters arising in the discussion? Were the remarks relevant? Did any of the remarks challenge the participants in useful ways?)

* nature of the participant's interaction with others (Did the student listen well? Did he/she encourage others to speak up? Did he/she ask useful questions or offer helpful follow-up remarks to keep the flow of the conversation polite and relevant?)

* some negative points: excessive digressions; verbal or non-verbal hostility, indifference, boredom, ridicule; over-eagerness to contribute; dominating the discussion; refusal to put any views on the table.

The seminar experience is absolutely central to what Liberal Studies is trying to achieve, and we are very concerned to see that students all contribute effectively, especially those who may find themselves somewhat reluctant to speak up in a group discussion. Any student who continues to find this a problem should discuss the matter thoroughly with the seminar instructor, so that together they can work out some ways of resolving the difficulties.

The following scale gives a guide to the factors the seminar leader will consider in evaluating seminar participation, as well as a rough picture of their impact on your mark:

F: is physically absent without a valid reason; the mark in this case will count as zero.

F-D: is physically present, but otherwise quite absent;

C-: provides some potentially useful participation, but is very poorly prepared or insensitive or uncooperative in the group setting;

C: is present, evidently prepared and interested, but offers quite limited verbal contributions to the discussion;

C+ to B-: is present, well prepared, and offers some useful comments, some of which might be more incisive or more relevant or further developed

B to B+: is present, very well prepared, maintains a good relationship with the others (i.e., contributes actively to the dynamics of the seminar), and offers useful comments in a constructive way;

A range: makes a major contribution and not just to the understanding of the material but to the social dynamics of the session, a contribution which would be difficult to imagine being any better.

Art Project

The assignment requirements for the art project will be provided early in the term. The art projects are due on Thursday November 7 th .

Final Examination

The final examination will be held during the exam period. This essay exam will consist of 2-3 essay questions to be answered in short-essay format. The questions will be chosen (by your instructors) from several questions handed out ahead of the exam's date, and will be relevant to all the readings covered in the course.

General Writing Requirements for the Course

Word-Processing: All written work, with the exception of seminar notes, should be typed or prepared on a word processor, double spaced on standard paper (8.5" x 11"), with 12-point font, stapled, and with page numbers.

Plagiarism : You should be familiar with the policy on academic misconduct outlined in the Vancouver Island University Calendar and take care to avoid such practices. Plagiarism consists in representing the work or ideas of others as your own. Plagiarism ranges from word-for-word copying from other sources to summarizing their content in one's own words, when this is done without acknowledgement of the source. This means that whenever you incorporate ideas from other people, you must indicate the source to the fullest extent possible. Otherwise, you will incur severe penalties for intellectual dishonesty: a plagiarised paper will normally receive a mark of zero, and the student will not have an opportunity to make up the assignment. A second occurrence will normally result in a mark of F for the course. Further penalties are possible.

Appropriate Language : Wherever appropriate, students should follow good contemporary practice and use gender-free language in their writing and speech.

Schedule of Main Topics

Week of (Tuesday)

Thursday Lecture

Tuesday Seminar

Thursday Seminar

Sep 3

Introduction to Course Themes and Questions

(Laura Suski)


Introduction to Course Assignments

No Seminar Note on Tuesday – Prepare one for Kant on Thursday

Kant – "What is Enlightenment?" (available online)

Sep 10


(Mark Blackell)


Rousseau: Second Discourse – A Discourse on the Origins and Foundations of Inequality Among Men (Part One – pp55-107)

Seminar Note Due

Rousseau (cont):

( Part Two - pp109-137)

Sep 17

Adam Smith: Theory of Moral Sentiments
(Laura Suski/Janice Porteous)


Adam Smith: Theory of Moral Sentiments : I.i.1.1-I.ii.5.4 (pp9-43); II.i.5.1-II.i.5.5 (pp74-75); III.1.1-III.2.10 (pp109-119)

Seminar Note Due

Adam Smith (cont): IV.1.1-IV.2.12 (pp179-185); V.1.4-V.2.16 (pp194-211); VI.i.1-VI.i.16 (pp212-217)

Sep 24

Mary Wollstonecraft: Early and Contemporary Feminism
(Marni Stanley )


Wollstonecraft: A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (pp. 36-78, 118-201).

Seminar Note Due

Wollstonecraft Continued

and a selection from Lynn Hunt's Inventing Human Rights (this selection will be provided to you)

Oct 1

J.S. Mill Utilitarianism
(Janice Porteous)

J. S. Mill, Utilitarianism

Seminar Note Due

Mill (cont)

Oct 8

Austen: Sense and Sensibility

(Laura Suski)

Austen: Austen: Sense and Sensibility

Seminar Note Due

Austen (cont)

Oct 15




Oct 22

Romanticism: Painting (Janice Porteous) and Poetry (Laura Suski)

Poetry- Read William Wordsworth poems (available online)

Seminar Note Due

Romantic Art

(Possible Additional Reading: TBA)

Oct 29

Charles Darwin
(Janice Porteous)

Darwin, Origin of Species : Introduction (pp.95-98), Ch 1 (99-106); Ch 2 (122-131); Ch 3 (132-143), Ch 6 (202-224), Ch 9 (269-288), Ch 14 (379-398).

Seminar Note Due

Darwin , Descent of Man :

pp. 495-561

Nov 5

Karl Marx
(Laura Suski)

Karl Marx Marx and Engels, T he Communist Manifesto (pp. 157-176); Marx, 1844 Manuscripts ("Alienated Labour" section, pp. 58-68); Marx, "Theses on Feuerbach" (pp. 98-101)

Seminar Note Due

The Contemporary Relevance of Marx

Marx (cont) and a selection from Arlie Russell Hochschild The Managed Heart (this selection will be provided to you)

** Art Projects Due **

Nov 12

The Gothic: The Dark Side of the Enlightenment

(Janice Porteous and Laura Suski)

Wuthering Heights 

Seminar Note Due

Wuthering Heights (cont)


Nov 19

 Friedrich Nietzsche, Genealogy of Morality

( Janice Porteous )


Genealogy of Morality  

Seminar Note Due

Nietzsche (cont)


Nov 26

Film Presentation: Film TBA


Conrad, "Heart of Darkness"

  Seminar Note Due

Conrad (cont)