Socialism vs. Capitalism: Russian and American Writers' Responses
The turn of the 20th century was marked with turbulent political events and heated discussions about the future of Russian and American societies. Many writers and intellectuals responded to the burning issues of social justice, inequality, egalitarianism, and exploitation associated with capitalism and socialism. Through close reading, critical thinking, and analytical writing, we will engage in the critical discussions of class struggle, individual interest versus collective values, race, and social equality, and identify points of convergence and divergence between the two systems. To what extent was the opposition between capitalism and socialism fueled by the artistic vision of the great Russian and American writers? What was these thinkers' ideal of society and what impact did it have on shaping emerging socialism? Readings for the class include the fundamental works of Fyodor Dostoevsky, Leo Tolstoy, Jack London, W.E.B. Du Bois and Sholem Aleichem. The course will culminate in a digital mapping project visualizing intellectual connections between ideas and writers.