French 16: Individual and Society in Early Modern French Thought

Instructor: Malina Stefanovska

This course studies the role of religion, politics and sociability in constructing the self and understanding its relation with society in early modern France. Through reading excerpts by thinkers such as Descartes, Pascal, Rousseau, comedies by Corneille and Molière, articles from Diderot’s Encyclopedia, and Montesquieu’s famous epistolary novel Persian Letters, our aim is to develop students’ critical thought and knowledge of the French and European intellectual tradition, but also to demonstrate how that tradition has been historically framed. Among the concepts discussed: civility, reason, self and other, absolutism, nature, Enlightenment. Taught in English.