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Regular version of the site
Bachelor 2019/2020

World Intellectual History

Area of studies: Economics
When: 1 year, 1-4 module
Mode of studies: offline
Language: English
ECTS credits: 6

Course Syllabus


The course has no prerequisites. World Intellectual History is a two semester course which covers the history of the leading intellectual trends and ideas that have had an impact on the development of the cultures and civilizations of the world. • The course material is introduced through both original historical texts and secondary sources • The time period covered begins with emergence of the first civilizations and ends in the present day • The course covers major developments around the globe including Europe, Asia and the Americas
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • • Understanding of the origins and development of the ideas that inform the cultures and civilizations that constitute the present world order
  • • The ability to critically analyse information and incorporate it appropriately into a well-supported argument
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • To conceptualise Intellectual History as a separate discipline in its own right, to define its objectives and basic methods.
  • To characterise the key ideas of the Ancient Chinese Thinkers, including Confucius, Laozi and the Legalist tradition.
  • To characterise the key ideas of Ancient India, including the tradition of Buddhism
  • To compare the key ideas of the Ancient Monotheistic traditions, including Zoroastianism and Judaism
  • To characterise the key ideas of Greek thinkers from Thales to Aristotle, including: the debate around virtue, justice, truth and the possibility of rational explanation of the universe.
  • To characterise the key ideas of the Hellenistic Schools, including the traditions of Cynics, Epicureans, Stoics and Skeptics
  • To characterise the key ideas of the various traditions of early Christianities, including Ebionites, Marcionites, Gnostics and the Proto-Orthodox.
  • To characterise the key ideas of the early Islamic tradition, including composition and the main idea of the Quran.
  • To characterise the key ideas of the Medieval Christian civilization, including the main debates in Theology around the knowability, existence and attributes of the Divine.
  • To compare Buddhism and Confucianism in China, including the relationship between the monastic ideal and the duty to the state.
  • To be able to use the key ideas of the Medieval Indian philosophy, including Advaita Vedanta and the issue around the identity of Atman and Brahman.
  • To characterise the key ideas of the Medieval Islamic civilization, including the main debates in Theology around the knowability, existence and attributes of the Divine.
  • To characterise the key ideas of the The Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Scientific Revolution, including the main philosophical ideas of the Scientific Revolution from Copernicus and Galileo to Kepler and Newton.
  • To characterise the key ideas of the Medieval-early modern Islamic politics, including the relationship between the Caliphate and the Empire.
  • To characterise the key ideas of the European Couter-Enlightenment, including Romanticism and Political Conservatism of Burke and Hegel.
  • To outline the key political ideas of modernity in the Islamic world.
  • To characterise the key ideas of the European Enlightenment, primarily of Immanuel Kant, including his contributions to epistemology and moral philosophy.
  • To characterise the key Political Ideologies in 19th Century Europe, including Liberalism, Conservatism, Socialism, and Nationalism.
  • To characterise the key ideas of Modern Asia, including the main intellectual currents of modern China and Japan.
  • To analise the key ideas of Modern Russia, including the perceived relationship between its Asian and European tendencies.
  • To characterise the key ideas of Modern India, including the issues around the anti-colonial struggle.
  • To characterise the key ideas of World Communism, including the debates around Leninism, Stalinism and Maoism.
  • To evaluatr the key ideas of Late Capitalism and ‘Post-Modernity’, including the Frankfurt School and the French Postmodernism.
  • To characterise the key debated around Globalisation, including pro-globalist and anti-globalist movements.
  • To tie the various topics explored in the second semester of the course together on a deeper level of understanding; to characterize the basic problems of Modern Intellectual History and the potential solutions to them.
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Introduction
    • What is intellectual history? • Origin of the state, writing and culture; the first civilizations: Mesopotamia and Egypt. The role of religion and myth in the first states.
  • Ancient China
    • Main features of Daoism, Confucianism and Legalism
  • Origins of Buddhism in India
    • The Vedic religion and early Hinduism • Basic Buddhist concepts
  • Monotheism
    • Zoroastrianism; history of Israel & Judah; the compilation of the Hebrew Bible; the rise of the Jewish diaspora; the spread of Judaism round the Mediterranean; the ‘Judaizing’ God-fearing movement among gentiles; Messianic hopes; the Maccabees; the Jesus movement
  • Classical Greek Civilization
    • The emergence of Greek philosophy and civilization; the Homeric heroic age; the age of the polis; Plato and Aristotle. Logos vs myth. Euthyphro: the critique of religion. The Republic: a state based on Reason (the ideas) versus democracy. Aristotle: ethics as self-actualization
  • Hellenism
    • The universalization of Greek thought; the development and spread of the four schools of thought (emphasis on Stoicism and Epicureanism); Jewish Hellenism: Philo. The clash between Hellenism and Judaism: the Maccabees
  • Early Christianities
    • From Jesus to Christ. The changing face of Jesus from Matthew to John. Early Christianities: Pauline and Johannine; the Didache; Tertullian; Arianism; the Cappadocian Church Fathers; Nicea and the dogma of the Trinity. Christianity becomes an imperial religion.
  • The emergence and spread of Islam
    • Arabia before Muhammad. The life and mission of Muhammad. The Qur’anic revelations: Meccan and Medinan. Law, poetry and apocalypse in the Qur’an. The figure of Abraham; the Jewish and Arabian prophets in the Qur’an. Muhammad’s relations with Jews, Christians and polytheists. The four caliphs. The shi’/sunni split. The umayyads. The abassids. The spread of Islam into formerly Persian and Byzantine territories. The development of the sunna and Islamic political structures.
  • Medieval Christian civilization, East and West
    • The Christian ecumene. Pope and emperor. Monasticism. The East-West schism: the emergence of “Eastern Orthodoxy” and “Roman Catholicism”. The idea of Western Caesaropapism and Eastern Papocaesarism. The Christianization of the Slavs. The place of Aquinas in Western theology; the place of Palamas in Eastern theology (hesychasm; the divine energies).
  • Medieval Indian philosophy
    • The Bhakhti and Vaishnavite movements. Monistic and dualistic systems among medieval Hindu philosophers and mystics (advaita, dvaita).
  • Buddhism and Confucianism in China
    • How did Mahayana Buddhism interact with the native Chinese ideologies of Confucianism and Daoism? • Main features of Chan / Zen
  • Medieval Islamic civilization.
    • Classic Islamic philosophy (kalam, falsafa). Philosophy and practice of science. The influence of Ibn Rushd (Averroes) on Western science, theology and philosophy. The development of Sufism. Al-Ghazali, Ibn Arabi, Suhrawardi. The role of Islamic scholars (ulema) in Islamic empires; the relationship between orthodox religion and mysticism.
  • The Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Scientific Revolution in 16th and 17th Century Europe
    Copernicus, Galileo to Kepler and Newton
  • Medieval-early modern Islamic politics: Caliphate and empire
  • The Enlightenment
  • Romanticism and the Counter-Enlightenment
  • Political modernity in the Islamic world
  • Political Ideologies in 19th Century Europe: Liberalism, Conservatism, Socialism, and Nationalism
  • Modernity in Asia: China and Japan
  • Modernity in Russia: between Asia and Europe
  • Modernity in India: the anti-colonial struggle
  • World Communism
  • Late Capitalism and ‘Post-Modernity’
  • Globalization and the World Today
  • Final Revision
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Seminar attendance and performance
  • non-blocking Essay
  • non-blocking Winter midterm
    Students who have missed the midterm due to a valid reason are assigned an additional date to sit it.
  • non-blocking Spring exam
    Экзамен проводится в письменной форме с использованием асинхронного прокторинга. Экзамен проводится на платформе https://hse.student.examus.net). К экзамену необходимо подключиться за 10 минут до начала. Проверку настроек компьютера необходимо провести заранее, чтобы в случае возникших проблем у вас было время для обращения в службу техподдержки и устранения неполадок. Компьютер студента должен удовлетворять требованиям: 1. Стационарный компьютер или ноутбук (мобильные устройства не поддерживаются); 2. Операционная система Windows (версии 7, 8, 8.1, 10) или Mac OS X Yosemite 10.10 и выше; 3. Интернет-браузер Google Chrome последней на момент сдачи экзамена версии (для проверки и обновления версии браузера используйте ссылку chrome://help/); 4. Наличие исправной и включенной веб-камеры (включая встроенные в ноутбуки); 5. Наличие исправного и включенного микрофона (включая встроенные в ноутбуки); 6. Наличие постоянного интернет-соединения со скоростью передачи данных от пользователя не ниже 1 Мбит/сек; 7. Ваш компьютер должен успешно проходить проверку. Проверка доступна только после авторизации. Для доступа к экзамену требуется документ удостоверяющий личность. Его в развернутом виде необходимо будет сфотографировать на камеру после входа на платформу «Экзамус». Также вы должны медленно и плавно продемонстрировать на камеру рабочее место и помещение, в котором Вы пишете экзамен, а также чистые листы для написания экзамена (с двух сторон). Это необходимо для получения чёткого изображения. Во время экзамена запрещается пользоваться любыми материалами (в бумажном / электронном виде), использовать телефон или любые другие устройства (любые функции), открывать на экране посторонние вкладки. В случае выявления факта неприемлемого поведения на экзамене (например, списывание) результат экзамена будет аннулирован, а к студенту будут применены предусмотренные нормативными документами меры дисциплинарного характера вплоть до исключения из НИУ ВШЭ. Если возникают ситуации, когда студент внезапно отключается по любым причинам (камера отключилась, компьютер выключился и др.) или отходит от своего рабочего места на какое-то время, или студент показал неожиданно высокий результат, или будут обнаружены подозрительные действия во время экзамена, будет просмотрена видеозапись выполнения экзамена этим студентом и при необходимости студент будет приглашен на онлайн-собеседование с преподавателем. Об этом студент будет проинформирован заранее в индивидуальном порядке. Во время выполнения задания, не завершайте Интернет-соединения и не отключайте камеры и микрофона. Во время экзамена ведется аудио- и видео-запись. Процедура пересдачи проводится в соотвествии с нормативными документами НИУ ВШЭ.
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (4 module)
    0.2 * Essay + 0.15 * Seminar attendance and performance + 0.33 * Spring exam + 0.32 * Winter midterm


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Lai, K. (2008). An Introduction to Chinese Philosophy. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=304657
  • Toorn, K. van der. (2009). Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible (Vol. 1st Harvard University Press pbk. ed). Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=282566

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • История западной философии и ее связи с политическими и социальными условиями от античности до на..., Рассел, Б., 2006