Early Modern Knowledge (Fall 2016, Section 16)
About this class
To quote L.P. Hartley: “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.” Early modern Europe (1500-1800) does indeed seem like a foreign land, where kings and queens ruled over a population that would be considered both ignorant and subservient by modern standards. And yet, this was a universe that had its own rationale and a time when important developments in scientific, philosophical, political, and religious knowledge laid the foundation for the world in which we live today. Western society embraced the notion that the earth revolved around the sun, and ideas about a divinely ordained monarchy gave way to the defense of democratic forms; theologians tore apart the Christian church, and people began to think through the implications of empire and conquest as Europeans spread themselves around the globe.
How was knowledge constructed in this period, and how and why did older forms of knowing give way to new ways of understanding the universe? Moreover, how were the various intellectual developments of the day interrelated, and what does all of this tell us about the production of knowledge more generally? This course will investigate how knowledge was produced (and also reformed) in the early modern world and, in the process, develop students' capacity for critical thought and analysis. It is organized thematically rather than chronologically, and incorporates workshops and in-class activities alongside lecture material. A participation mark will be also assigned.
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I really like how clear and concise your post is and your links accentuate the subject however, you make it sound like activists from the LGBTQ community are completely separate from activists from the BLM movement which sounds like they can't be a part of both. Although both movements fight for different causes, we should take into consideration that some people share both systems of inequality such as gay people of colour and/or trans people of colour. Having more than one system of inequality leads to more hardship and sources of discrimination since they reinforce each other. This is what we call intersectionality. Yes, the LGBTQ community doesn’t really address issues around race, but that’s where we should take a step back and realize that people of colour are everywhere including the LGBTQ community and that we can't ignore that. Not everyone shares the same experiences and that’s where it could possibly be scary for a person of colour who is also a part of the LGBTQ community to be around police officers. I don’t think the BLM activists were trying to force their agenda, but possibly looking out for people of colour who were participating in the parade. If we want to work through this, I believe we should at least hear the BLM activists out first instead of shutting them down or saying they were out of line.
I think you will find these links relevant to my point and I also added an article about the Orlando shooting which is a good example of how intersectionality can affect people:
This is great article that brings to light how gender is seen as a secular thing other than an abstract matter even if you were brought up differently. Your examples of the female criminals are very fitting with the subject matter! All these different women experienced different kinds of hardships which were seen as problems only women would be dealing with. I think you should clarify a bit more on how this series and most probably others tend to focus on how people of a certain sex are forced to act a certain way based on their biological constitution, since sex and gender are not the same thing, with sex being your biological makeup and gender being the way you feel about yourself on the inside and how you express that to others. You also mention that male criminals are seen as savage brutes which is relevant to the themes of sex and gender. In the patriarchal system, men are forced to be dominant and violent to stay on top and be the “man” they are suppose to be which ties in with the way people are forced to perform their sex accordingly or they will be penalized for it. Here is an article I think you will find of interest.
It was hearing warming to read about the story you shared about the New Yorkers in that subway car getting together, and resisting an act of discrimination and hatred. The concept of “Trump’s America” is very frightening, and the fact that it is now an reality rather than a farfetched possibility is absolutely mind boggling. Virtue ethics would approach this issue by pointing out that virtuous people with good virtuous, such as tolerance, compassion, humility, fraternity, kindness would do the right thing and stand up against the violence and hatred in current day America. Utilitarianism argues that ultimate goal is to provide the greatest amount of happiness to the largest amount of people. However, in this case how can the “greatest amount of happiness” be determined? Would that happiness be equality and peace the New Yorkers in the subway car fought for? Or would that be the bigoted rhetorics of those who drew the Swastika on the windows? It is hard to agree on a common summon bonum, the end goal. In this case, I believe the best approach would be Rationalism. Sure, virtue ethics has good intentions, but I don't think it is strong enough. Rationalism believes that all human have the duty of following the laws. It is a deontological framework, therefore it is only concerned about duty and the importance of obeying rules. One has to obey the rules, there is no exception. It is the duty to fight again discrimination and it is against the law to commit hate crimes. For these reasons, Rationalism is the correct path when it come to fighting Trump’s America.
I never knew garlic was owned by Mars! Also, you did a good job relating this book to Cook, for example, hypothesizing that this book might have been written for nostalgic purposes, because of the time it had been written at. Overall, nice review.
Firstly I enjoyed reading your post, the statistics about the recent suicide rate amongst people at such a young age is really shocking and also deeply troubling. It really is unfortunate that despite all the effort that has been put into preventing suicide, there is not much positive results.
Secondly, while the easy access to the internet and the constant connection to social media may be contributing factors to the strive for perfection, I believe that this is also related to gender issues and the expectations of patriarchy. The ideas of what is considered ‘perfection’ for both women and men are social constructs made up to fit into the patriarchal world view. As a society, we are no strangers to the stereotypes of how women should be. Being pretty, thin, irrational, emotional, weak, passive and submissive are just some of the clichés expected from women; it is what being feminine means according to the patriarchal world view. Men on the other hand have to the exact opposite of women, they are expected to fit into the ‘Man Box’. The ‘Man Box’ consists of a list of qualities that define and reinforce hegemonic masculinity. Some of these qualities includes being strong, forceful, active, menacing, emotionless and dominating. These concepts are so present in our daily lives that we think of them as natural, innate qualities of femininity and masculinity, the failure to meet those expectation is almost never acceptable. Those who fail are punished by the society, often by means of exclusion and/or humiliation.
Therefore,social media is not the direct and only cause of young people’s need to strive to be perfect, young people seek for acceptance and approval; patriarchy is the cause for the strive for perfection. The consequences and pressure of the failure to demonstrate the perfect femininity and masculinity, be it online or in real life, leads to the increasing rate of suicide in young people.
Here are some links that might help you better understand the ‘Man Box’ and gender stereotypes:
I couldn’t agree with you more, this is actually the reason I refuse to shop there. Abercrombie & Fitch and all other big brands alike reinforces the idea that women are only attractive if they are as thin as a twig, young girls and women who shop there struggle to fit into that ideal. According to the documentary Miss Representation, 57% of 13 year-old girls are unhappy about their body , that number goes up to 78% for girls over the age of 17 and 60% of women are not satisfied with the way their body is. These are some big and scary numbers, and it’s the fashion companies along with the help of the media that is making the female population feeling this way. The bigger the men’s sizes are the more athletic they are supposed to be? Wow… Shouldn't that be the same for the women? Women work about too. Base on the measurements of many high fashion houses, a size 6 is considered to be plus size in the fashion industry. A size 6 is the size of an average American woman. The media and the fashion industry objectifies a woman’s body and sadly we are feeding into it. We are letting the society to dictate us on how our body should look like.
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