The next meeting of the Civilization Reading Group will be on Thursday, October 20, at 4:00 PM. We will meet at 608 West Michigan, Urbana.
At our last meeting we agreed to read a few key essays that led to the idea of civilization, and that continued to be important for nineteenth-century artists and intellectuals working with the idea. They are:
Michel de Montaigne, “Of cannibals” (1578-80) and “Of coaches” (1585)
John Locke, excerpts from Two Treatises of Government (1690)
Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, excerpts from The Spirit of Laws (1748)
As these are all regularly assigned in undergraduate and graduate classes, we thought one additional item of discussion might be how we present them, or what we say about them, to students.
As a background reading on the origins and meaning of the word civilization, participants may want to read:
Jean Starobinski, “The Word Civilization” in Jean Starobinski, Blessings in Disguise; or, the Morality of Evil, trans. Arthur Goldhammer (Cambridge, MA : Harvard UP, 1993), 1-35.
Reading may be downloaded here:
Everyone is welcome.