Humanities 204-01 

Prof. Warren Schmaus

TA: Mike DeAnda

The Age of Darwin

Office:  228 Siegel Hall

Office: 219 Siegel Hall

TR 10:00 – 11:15

Office Hrs: TR  1:30 - 3:30

Office Hrs:  MW 11:3-0-12:30

Room:  204 Siegel Hall

Email:  schmaus@iit.edu

Email:mdeanda@hawk.iit.edu

 

Phone:  x 7-3473

 

Mailbox:  218 Siegel Hall

 

 

 

 

Web Site:  mypages. iit.edu/~schmaus/Age_of_Darwin

 

 

course syllabus

 

 

Charles Darwin proposed his theory of evolution during a period of changing views of human nature. This shift in thinking included literature and the arts as well as the sciences, and is reflected in the two novels we will read, one written before and one after Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (1859). The hero of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1816) is motivated by intellectual ambitions far beyond the satisfaction of his merely animal needs, leading him to neglect his health, his happiness, his friends, and family. In contrast, the protagonists in Zola’s Thérèse Raquin (1867) are characterized as human animals, without souls, who have no higher purpose in life than to eat, drink, sleep, and have sex.    

 

Darwin was not alone responsible for challenging the comforting assumptions that there is something special about human beings that sets us apart from the animal kingdom, and that we hold a privileged place in a world that was designed for us. Well before Darwin, the philosopher David Hume, in his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1776), had shown that there are serious problems with the idea that living things could be attributed to an intelligent designer. But when natural selection replaces intelligent design, we are faced with the problem of explaining the source and the justification – if there is any – of moral values.

 

The goal of this course is to break down the artificial divide between the humanities and the sciences by showing you that they share not only themes and concerns, but also methods of inquiry and persuasion. Taking Darwin’s Origin and Hume's Dialogues as our examples, we will see that scientists and philosophers construct their arguments in much the same way. The patterns of argument and methods of analysis taught by philosophy professors are integral to scientific inquiry. The ability to analyze arguments is also important for critiquing the various attempts to base moral, social, and political ideas on facts about nature. Acquiring this ability should be important to you as citizens and human beings as well as in your professional careers.

 

 

Required Texts:

 

                 Shelley, Mary, Frankenstein

                 Hume, David, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion

(For a version of this work re-written in contemporary English, go to:

http://www.earlymoderntexts.com/assets/pdfs/hume1779.pdf

                 Darwin:  A Norton Critical Edition, 3rd ed., edited by Philip Appleman

                 Zola, Emile, Thérèse Raquin

 

Course Requirements :

 

3 500-word essays, 10 points each: Due 9/11, 9/25, 11/27

 

30 %

8 – 10 Surprise quizzes

 

10 %

Class Participation

 

10 %

Research Project:

 

10/11

Proposal:  Title, description, bibliography

6 %

 

11/6

4 - page progress report with title, bibliography

12 %

 

11/15 - 11/29

Class Presentation

12 %

 

Finals week

8 - 10  page final paper

20 %

 

 

Total for Research Project

 

50 %

Total:

 

100 %

 

Essays:

 

The three 500-word essays will be based on material covered in class.  For each assignment, you will choose and write about one of the three or four questions I will ask.

 

I will be providing notes on the web for all of the classes, which should help you with the short essays as well as the quizzes.  Take your web browser to the web site named above (not to Blackboard). There you will find this syllabus with highlighted links to lecture outlines (in parentheses), paper topic assignments, and a guide to paper writing. 

 

All written work, including the essays, the research proposal, the progress report, and the final paper, are to be double-spaced and in a readable 11 or 12-point font, and turned in as hard copy.  Plagiarized work receives a failing grade and cannot be made up.  Students whose written work is not up to college level will be requested to seek assistance at the Writing Center in Siegel Hall rooms 232 and 233.

 

Quizzes and Class Participation:

 

In addition, there will be a series of 8 to 10 in-class surprise quizzes, which typically consist of 7 true-and-false questions and one 3-point question that requires a written answer.  Your average quiz grade will count for 10 % of your final grade. 

 

Students may make up missed quizzes only if they have an excused absence.  Valid excuses concern things that are outside a student’s control, such as an out-of-town trip by a sports team or ROTC unit, an illness, or other medical problem.  It is the student’s responsibility to inform the professor ahead of time when the student knows he or she will be absent from class. 

 

Class participation and attendance will count towards another 10 % of your grade.

 

Research Project:

 

Every student will be responsible for a library research paper of about 8 - 10 pages and a 10 -15 minute class presentation based on that paper.  The topic should be relevant to the sorts of issues raised in the Darwin anthology.  A list of suggested topics is linked to this syllabus on the web.  There will be a class visit to Galvin Library on October 2 to introduce you to some of the research tools available to you. The librarian you will meet, Nichole Novak, has prepared an on-line research guide for humanities courses:  http://guides.library.iit.edu/humanities.

 

This research project will proceed through a series of guided stages, each of which shall contribute towards your grade for the course: 

 

·          

First each student will turn in a project proposal, including a tentative title, a one-paragraph description of the topic to be investigated, and a tentative bibliography of at least three reputable sources.  This will be returned with comments by the professor.

·          

The next stage will be a progress report of about 1000 words.  This may be in either prose or outline form.  It should also include the current bibliography on a separate page.  You may think of this progress report as serving as the basis of the class presentation.

·          

The third stage is a class presentation of about 10 to 15 minutes.  No particular audiovisuals are required for the class presentation; anything from chalk to power point is acceptable.  Grades will be based on the content of your presentation and not on the technology employed.

·          

Comments on the progress report and class discussion generated by your class presentation will then provide you with feedback for writing your final paper.  The final research paper is due during exam week and serves in place of the final exam.

 

Disability Accommodations:

 

Reasonable accommodations will be made for students with documented disabilities.  In order to receive accommodations, students must obtain a letter of accommodation from the Center for Disability Resources and speak with me about it as soon as possible.  The Center for Disability Resources is located in 218 Life Sciences.  You can also call them at 312-567-5744 or email them at disabilities@iit.edu.

 

Readings and Assignments:

 

Date

 

Assignment

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

8/21

T

Introduction to course and to Mary Shelley.  Shelley, pp. v-xxxv. (Shelley).

8/23

R

Frankenstein.  Walton's letters and Chapters 1–3 (Frank1).

8/28

T

Frankenstein.  Chapters 4–14 (Frank1, cont'd. and Frank2).  FIRST ESSAY WILL BE ASSIGNED.  Due:  9/11

8/30

R

Frankenstein.  Chapters 15–24 and Walton's last letters (Frank2, cont'd.)

9/4

T

Introduction to Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion.  (Hume)

9/6

R

Religion and Skepticism.  Hume, pp. pp. vii–xvii, 1–2, and part 1  (skepticism). 

9/11

T

The Design Argument.  Hume, part 2 (design).  FIRST ESSAY DUE.  SECOND ESSAY WILL BE ASSIGNED.  DUE: 9/25.

9/13

R

Problems with the Design Argument.  Hume, parts 3–5 (problems).

9/18

T

Meaning and Religion.  Hume, part 12 (meaning).

9/20

R

Introduction to Darwin.  Darwin, pp. 23–40, 44–49, 61–81; recommended:  3–13, 285–87 (Darwin)

9/25

T

Darwin's Argument for the Theory of Evolution through Natural Selection.  Darwin, pp. 95–111 (struggle). SECOND ESSAY DUE.

9/27

R

Natural Selection and the Divergence of Character. Darwin, pp. 111–35 (selection).

10/2

T

Visit to Galvin Library.  Report to Library Learning Center on ground floor.

10/4

R

NO CLASS. Professor and TA out of town.

10/9

T

Darwin's Replies to Objections. Darwin, pp. 135–74 (defense). 

10/11

R

Darwin's Replies to Objections, continued. Darwin, pp. 135–74 (defense).  RESEARCH PAPER PROPOSALS DUE.

10/16

T

Darwin and Scientific Method.  Darwin, pp. 28–29, 257–65 (method). 

10/18

R

Method, cont'd.  Darwin, pp. 265–70, 280–85 (method, cont'd.) 

10/23

T

The Descent of Man on the evolution of intelligence and morality.  Darwin, pp. 213–22, 243–54 (mental). 

10/25

R

The Descent of Man, cont’d.  (mental, cont’d., and compete). 

10/30

T

Competition and Cooperation.  Darwin, pp. 389–98, 403-8 (compete, cont’d.).

11/1

R

Evolution and Ethics.  Darwin, pp. 507–17.  (ethics).

11/6

T

Introduction to Zola.  Zola, pp. vii – xxxv, 1– 8; Darwin, pp. 664–70 (Zola). PROGRESS REPORTS DUE. THIRD ESSAY ASSIGNED. DUE: 11/27.

11/8

R

Thérèse Raquin. Chapters 1–15 (affair).

11/13

T

Thérèse Raquin.  Chapters 16–32.  (marriage). 

11/15

R

FIRST DAY OF STUDENT PRESENTATIONS. 

11/20

T

STUDENT PRESENTATIONS.  THIRD ESSAY DUE.

11/22

R

THANKSGIVING BREAK:  NO CLASS

11/27

T

STUDENT PRESENTATIONS.

11/29

R

STUDENT PRESENTATIONS.

M 12/3 - F 12/7

EXAM WEEK.  FINAL PAPERS DUE TUESDAY, DEC. 4, BY 12:30 PM IN MY OFFICE.