HISTORY 390 - Topics Mini-Course
Winter 2022, Section 002 - Capitalism and Literature, 1600-1776
Instruction Mode: Section 002 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: History (HISTORY)
Department: LSA History
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Waitlist Capacity:
May be elected three times for credit.
Primary Instructor:


This course aims, through a series of pertinent literary texts, to introduce students to popular controversies surrounding early capitalism – capitalism, in effect, before it had been systematically described by Adam Smith in 1776 in The Wealth of Nations. We will read a series of engaging literary texts to see how plotting, characterization, and point of view responded to systemic changes. By focusing on the interpretation of these texts, we will see what was at stake in changes to notions of the individual, sudden celebrations of consumption, and shifting attitudes toward greed and pride. Seventeenth- and eighteen-century capitalism was often embattled by older moral and political traditions.

We will focus both on the assigned texts and on how to make historical arguments. In gesturing toward the history of capitalism between 1600 and 1776, we will tease out not only conflicting attitudes towards trade, commerce, and usury but also issues of social structure.  

The course, while incorporating mini-lectures, will depend heavily on discussion – i.e. you.  Engagement is all.

Course Requirements:

Written work will include three very short papers


HISTORY 390 - Topics Mini-Course
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
 In Person
MW 4:00PM - 6:00PM
002 (SEM)
 In Person
MW 2:00PM - 4:00PM

Textbooks/Other Materials

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