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CS92PROD
What Was the Public Sphere?
ENGL 323
Spring 2019
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: AMST 234

The democratic revolutions of the 18th century are often thought to have originated with the emergence of modern reading publics--groups of strangers who, through the alchemy of print, came to understand themselves as coherent entities capable of exercising political power against the state. The "public sphere" is central to American identity in particular, from the debates that raged in newspapers before the ratification of the Constitution to the calls for civility that have appeared more recently on Twitter and in New York Times op-eds. This course will explore the relationship between print culture and political action by reading 18th- and early-19th-century American literature. We will consider the material and social conditions that gave rise to the public sphere. We will examine the role of rational discourse in adjudicating political claims. We will ask whether the public sphere ever actually existed, and whether it does--or can-- exist in our current historical moment.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA ENGL
Course Format: Lecture / DiscussionGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (ENGL)(ENGL-Amer Lit)(ENGL-TLF Conc)
Past Enrollment Probability: 50% - 74%

Last Updated on OCT-14-2019
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