ENG487H1F - L0201

Advanced Studies Seminar: Milton, Globalism, and the Post-National


Friday 1 pm - 3 pm


P. Stevens

E-mail: paul.stevens@utoronto.ca

Brief Description of Course

Our century is distinguished by the degree to which the nation-state which emerged so powerfully in the early modern period has come to be perceived as undesirable, obsolete, or anachronistic. “Modernity,” says the economist Paul Collier, increasingly “strings identity between one pillar of individualism and one of globalism: many young people see themselves as both fiercely individual outsiders in their surrounding society, and as citizens of the world.” For many educated elites and young people, the imagined community is not, then, the nation but the “world,” a discursive polity imagined not through print so much as electronic media, television and the internet. This course seeks to reappraise the work of Milton and other 17th-century architects of the nation-state in the light of this dramatic new context: in particular, it seeks to understand the degree to which a new universal or global community is already taking shape in contemporary religious and political thought about the nation. The central question, if not the only question, the course seeks to address is this: is the nation-state the antithesis or the harbinger of globalism? The focus of the course is Milton but other texts to be studied include the Torah, the epistles of St Paul, Virgil’s Aeneid, and Shakespeare’s Henry V.

Required Reading(s)

Milton: Areopagitca and Paradise Lost; Virgil: Aeneid; Shakespeare: Henry V; Bible: Selections.

First Three Authors/Texts

Genesis 1-3, 9-10, 12-23, 37-45; Exodus 1-15; Leviticus 18-21.; Virgil Aeneid.

Method of Evaluation

  • Class Participation (15%)
  • Seminar Presentation (30%)
  • Research Essay (55%)