skip to content
  • Calendar
  • Maps

Intellectual Traditions



This reading schedule (as well as the section titles) is meant to be suggestive only. In the event we find that we need to spend more time on a text/section than originally allocated (or allow more time for oral reports), we can adjust our syllabus accordingly. You should also know that one of the signs of a good class discussion is that we will not have time to address all the reading that has been assigned for a certain day. Commonly, I will announce at the end of each class the assignment for the next session.

What you should know up front:

  • Please be aware that our two textbooks are encyclopedic in reach; we will only be a able to dip into them, really. The rest of the discovery is up to you.
  • To be honest in Honors: E. L. Doctorow's Homer & Langley (2009) is not centrally connected to the themes and ideas informing our class. Nevertheless, in view of his visit to our campus, we have decided to include his most current novel as well (and will have to cut down our other readings accordingly).
Week 1–2

Getting Up to Speed: The Beginnings of Western Civilization (in 5,000 words or less)

  • The Dual Legacy of the Greek World, Tarnas 69-72
  • The Emergence of Christianity 89-93
  • A Summing Up 165-70
  • The Rebirth of Classical Humanism 209-19
  • Film recommendations:
    • The World: Greece and Rome
    • Jean-Jacques Annaud, The Name of the Rose (1986)
Week 2–3

The Da Vinci Code: Western Modernity & Modernism

  • The Renaissance 223-32
  • Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Dude from Stratford
  • Film recommendations:
    • The Artist — Part of Da Vinci & Mysteries of the Renaissance
    • Florence: Birthplace of the Renaissance
    • Landmarks of Western Art: The Renaissance (2)
    • Michelangelo _____________________________
    • Leonardo _____________________________
Week 3–5

Knocking at the Gates of the Modern: The Reformation and the Scientific Revolution

  • The Reformation 233-47
  • Film recommendations:
    • The Dissenter — Part of Mysteries of the Renaissance
    • Reformation: Luther and the Protestant Revolt
    • Martin Luther __________________________
    • Henry VIII __________________________
*** Week 4, Notebook # 1 due ***
Week 4–5

Clutter and Consumption—E. L. Doctorow's Homer & Langley, campus visit 21-23 September
(We will shorten our readings on Knocking at the Gates accordingly, and certainly other sections as well)

  • The Scientific Revolution 248-71
  • Foundation of the Modern World View 282-290
  • The Triumph of Secularism 298-308
  • Film recommendations:
    • The Scientist - Part of Mysteries of the Renaissance
    • Galileo Galilei __________________________
    • Isaac Newton __________________________
Week 5–8

The Modern Triumvirate, or, The Usual Suspects

  • The Human from Copernicus to Freud 326-32
  • Karl Marx - Capitalizing on the Culture of Cash readings of Karl Marx TBA
  • Charles Darwin's Heart of Darkness, Watson, ch. 3 readings of Charles Darwin TBA
  • Knowledge and the Unconscious, 422-28
  • Charles Darwin __________________________
  • Sigmund Freud __________________________
*** Week 8, Notebook # 2 due ***
Week 8–10

Part II of the Supermarket of Ideas: Freud To Wittgenstein

  • Disturbing the Peace, Watson, chapter 1
  • Les Demoiselles de Modernisme, ch. 4
  • E = mc2, ch.6
  • Counter-Attack, ch. 9
  • Pablo Picasso __________________________
  • Albert Einstein __________________________
  • The Pragmatic Mind of America, ch. 5 __________________________
Week 10–13

From O to O: Oswald Spengler to George Orwell

  • The Golden Age of Physics, ch. 15
  • Civilization and Their Discontents, ch. 16
  • Michael Frayn, Copenhagen, special film screening, time permitting
  • Student project presentations
  • The Acquisitive Wasteland, ch. 11 __________________________
  • Cold Comfort, ch. 18 __________________________
  • Colossus, ch. 20 __________________________
*** Week 12, Notebook # 3 due ***
Week 13–15

Sartre to the Sea of Tranquility

  • Daughters and Lovers, ch. 24
  • Cracks in the Canon, ch. 26
  • Mind minus Metaphysics, ch. 28
  • Heaven and Earth, ch. 32
  • Frantz Fanon __________________________
  • [ ] __________________________

Concluding Note


The only dumb question is the one you don't ask. My door is always open, and if it is not open, please knock; I will answer if I am there. Please don't hesitate to stop by.

Let's Connect!

mwutz@weber.eduPhone  801-626-7011
Skype  michaelwutz007

LebenslaufCurriculum Vitae
Weber – The Contemporary West
Follow Me On Facebook Follow Me On Twitter

Mailing Address


Michael Wutz, Brady Presidential Distinguished Professor
Editor, Weber - The Contemporary West
Department of English, 1404 University Circle
Weber State University
Ogden, UT 84404-1404 USA