A History of Ideas in the City of Lights: A Four-Part Course with Samuél Lopez-Barrantes - Context Travel

A History of Ideas in the City of Lights: A Four-Part Course with Samuél Lopez-Barrantes


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Lecture 1: Man is Born Free, and Everywhere He Is In Chains

The Enlightenment’s most important thinkers all drank coffee in Paris’ Latin Quarter. With an in-depth look at Rousseau’s Social Contract, Voltaire’s fiction, and the promises and shortcomings of the revolutionaries that came to Paris to change the world, this first session examines the intellectual origins of “democracy” and “freedom,” ideas that would come to liberate—and oppress—the modern world.

Lecture 2: Romanticism is Dead, and War Has Killed It

In this lecture, we will examine the ideological shift from Romanticism to Modernism, a direct result of modernity and the brutality of the trenches. With a focus on Ernest Hemingway’s Paris life, his writing style, and the theorists that molded him, this course is designed to provide an overview of the intellectual history of modernism to better understand why so many artists flocked to Paris.

Lecture 3: We Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy

In the shadow of the Nazi Occupation of Paris, a new era of thinkers sat on the terraces of Saint Germain and tried to envision a different way to think about existence and identity. This session provides an overview of the main ideas of Existentialism, with a particular focus on the life, writing style, and philosophy of the American author James Baldwin, the most important American ex-pat to ever set foot in Paris.

Lecture 4: Postmodernism, Guy De Bord, and the Situationists

1968 was a turbulent year in human history that saw the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy, the live-broadcast brutality of the Vietnam War, and historic protests in France that inspired others throughout the world. Using Marxist theorist Guy de Bord’s little-known but highly influential The Society of the Spectacle as a basis, this final lecture in the series analyzes Karl Marx’s influence on the postmodern aesthetic, bringing history full circle to Rousseau’s famous statement: “[Humanity] is born free and is everywhere in chains.

Samuél is a novelist and musician who has lived in Paris since 2010. He holds an M.A. in European Society from University College London and an MFA in creative writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Samuél teaches literature and creative writing at Paris’ Sorbonne. He is also in an American folk-rock trio, Slim & The Beast, whose self-titled EP has already caught the attention of Rolling Stone France.

How does it work?

This is a four-part series held weekly and hosted on Zoom. Please check the schedule for the specific dates and times for each lecture.

Is there a reading list in advance?

Though the course is open to participants with no background in intellectual history, there are suggested readings for further investigation. You will receive this soon after course registration.

How long are the lectures?

Each lecture is 90 minutes long with time for Q&A.

How much is the course?

The course is $140 for four lectures.

Is a recording available?

In general, our courses are not recorded. However, if you need to miss a lecture please let us know in advance and we can arrange for a recording for that session on an individual basis.

This course is not suitable for children under age 16

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
100%
(3)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
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C
C.B.
The Professor you wish you had,

A lot to think about. Samuel's presentation style is truly unique. He presents his topics in a manner that draws you in to the writer's life/ Truly a gift.

A
A.

The course fulfilled my expectations in the way it outlined the prominent ideas of specific time periods in Paris. Focusing on specific individuals and their contributions to these time periods was well presented and discussed.

P
P.R.
Retired Professor

Excellent!!!!

Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
100%
(3)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
C
C.B.
The Professor you wish you had,

A lot to think about. Samuel's presentation style is truly unique. He presents his topics in a manner that draws you in to the writer's life/ Truly a gift.

A
A.

The course fulfilled my expectations in the way it outlined the prominent ideas of specific time periods in Paris. Focusing on specific individuals and their contributions to these time periods was well presented and discussed.

P
P.R.
Retired Professor

Excellent!!!!