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Lecture

HIST121 Existentialism

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Department
History
Course
HIST 121
Professor
Ana Siljak
Semester
Winter

Description
HIST121 18 March 2013 Reading(s): Camus, Nietzsche, Dostoevsky Lecture 10: Totalitarianism/Existentialism Totalitarianism - Stalin, follower of Lenin: five year plans (1928), collectivization (1929-1940), the great terror/purge (1936-1938) - 10 million death toll - collectivization doesn’t work in practice as on paper; decline in productivity; passive resistance - prison camps for oppositional thought - 8 million arrested - As a system, modern aspects: o Cult-like leader, obedience + worship o One-party state  Mass rallies, fake elections; channeled political inclinations  Judicial procedures, known outcome, sham liberal order o Propaganda  Make dictators handsome, powerful, manly  God-like figures  Requires modernity; technology; microphones, radio, film clips, television  In order to indoctrinate the masses o Terror  Good of the people projected as ideal; elimination of enemies beforehand  Instill fear in those who question authority  Secret police, summary execution, interrogation + torture  Importance of machineguns o Technology - Level of control over society that was impossible in the past; unlike previous dictatorships o Robespierre didn’t have the means that Hitler and Stalin did o Aspire to total control over all aspects of human life; social, political, cultural, artistic - Totalitarian ideologies resembled the religions they tried to replace o Aspire to more than politics; transformation of every aspect of human life; even internal thoughts of the individual Existentialism - Questioned modernity, role of the individual and his/her fulfillment o Predictions about modernity and its consequences; revolt against its modern science worshipping form; in the name of the individual and his/her freedom o Not liberal freedom/Marxist freedom; freedom to define oneself against the whole world; own faith, fate, destiny o Questions of religion  How to cope with loss of faith HIST121 18 March 2013 Reading(s): Camus, Nietzsche, Dostoevsky - Against the Crystal Palace: Dostoevsky o 1858, debate in response to Russian worshipper of the Crystal Palace o What is real meaning of Crystal Palace as a utopia o Refuting socialism; rational enlightenment core to socialism that denies possibility of free will  Mechanistic  Concern with hum
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