Enlighten Me!

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Enlighten Me!
Offered 2006
Campus(es) East
Instructor(s) Christine Clay
TA(s) Annie Searcy

The Class

Arguably the most interdisciplinary of the courses offered a Duke TiP Term 1 2006, this course was highly intriguing; I, having taken it, have the reserve to say so. I would higly reccommend it to any TiPster who enjoys hoardes of inside jokes, ridiculous French films such as the properly named Ridicule, and the writings of various philosophes and socio-political thinkers of the time. We also explared the period's arts, such as music and dance, and the visual arts through a (seemingly unrenumerative) evening study with Art History. In general, the reading was very heavy and lengthy, but, alas, the discussions made everything worth the while. They touched on everything from the philosophy of macroeconomics to the roles of prostitutes in 18th century Paris.

The exposition I wrote meant to summarize the class as our final assignment, circa 6/30/06:

"Well, the first moment I came into the classroom, I was apprehensive--what with all the new rules & tipsters, I wasn't sure what to expect out of this class. Thankfully, after reading our first passage and discussing it, I had, for lack of better terms, experienced a "braingasm". Finally, I was in both a philosophically and academically appealing class. As the course progressed, I gained many interesting insights from a 'zoom out' perspective [on life]. My first revelation was how history repeated itself- the French and Russian revolutions were almost identical. Secondly, I came to understand how the aristocratic society of France is like global economics today- the Northern hemisphere continues to thrive while the Southern hemisphere suffers. Lastly, I turned from my [extremely liberal] viewpoints and learned to gain a double perspective: ruthless pursuit of religion is having ethics without reason, and ruthless pursuit of science is having reason without ethics. I also gained a sense of a sort of socio-cultural independence, whilst examining the subject of "Aufklarung" (enlightenment) during our first week- analyzing Kant, Ridicule, and other outlets of media helped me to realize how little society's workings should affect a person- and how much they actually did. Voltaire's critique of optimism in "Candide" went hand in hand with this, leading me to realize that it's okay to think logically about one's situation and not to blind oneself with a shield of optimism for fear of pain. Voltaire's treatise on toleration also put my beliefs on the matter of diversity to words: "Listen to me, because God of all the worlds has enlightened me: there are nine hundred million little ants like us on the earth, but my anthole is the only one dear to God; all of the others are cast off by him for eternity; mine alone will be happy, and all others will be eternally damned" Rather, that quote is a summation of my antithesis. In general, this class opened my mind to new insights and helped me to see life with a "macro" view, and not to be affected by society's mishaps. And, finally, it inspired me to continue my academic and philosophical pursuit of enlightenment thinkers, so that my mind may be pried open even further."

The Students


(Not Pictured: Annie Searcy (TA)) Note: If any of ye Enlightened ones has a less blurry picture, do not hesitate to replace this one!

  • Julia "There's a Gangsta in the library!" Commander
  • Makenzie "I look amazing in a burka" Pryor
  • Sarah "I have a libral arts degree. Would you like some fries with that?" Langley
  • Emily "Lemons!" Chapman
  • Taylor "FISHWOMEN!" Adamson
  • Wade "I hate hoop-petticoats!" Phenicie
  • Laura "Checkapants" Levin
  • Brian "Brian McGregor" Boyd
  • Maddy "Madame La Guillotine" Kennedy
  • Mason "Battlecats" Mohanna
  • Molly "Zilia just needs to GET OVER HERSELF!" Cunningham
  • Christine "*insert impressive french accent here*" Clay (Instructor)
  • Annie "Those frenchies seek her *dramatic pause* everywhere..." Searcy (TA)

Inside Jokes

Come now, other Enlightened ones, and fill out this section sans moi.

  1. "I'll squeeze you down to size!" After a political cartoon was shown in a documentary that involved squeezing priests down (it represented how they were lazy and needed to repent), this was said by Wade to Jere.
  2. "Dead cats." One of our course books was The Great Cat Massacre by George Darnton. It explained why the murder of several housecats was funny to 18th-century French printers. Thus, dead cats.
  3. "Lauren's face!" Suggested as a possible term book page layout by Evan.
  4. "Voltaire is my homeboy." Voltaire won the class over with his Treatise on Toleration, and so he was subsequently declared to be our homeboy. This was also what was printed on the shirts as a parody of the "Jesus is my homeboy" line of clothing.
  5. "I 'roll with' or 'puff with' Voltaire/Jesus." An irate woman posted the urbandictionary meaning of "homeboy" on her website to protest the "Jesus is my homeboy" shirts. We simply replaced "Jesus" with "Voltaire".
  6. "Your mother is a twelve lemon woman." Emily did a presentation on 18th-century cures for syphilis. Among other such gems as opium, mercury, and nitric acid was the advice to eat six lemons a day for two weeks so that syphilitc symptoms would be cured.
  7. "Hyoo-mah." Used by a character in Ridicule to describe the English version of esprit.
  8. Deat cat, dead baby, Helen Keller, or Terri Schiavo jokes. Because Evan would bring them up.
  9. "Romantic friends." Basically an 18th-century lesbian pairing that was socially acceptable because "no sex" was had. This was a theme in the end-of-class skit put on by Emily, Laura, and Brian.
  10. Pepper in the orange juice. While at breakfast one morning, Evan put pepper in the orange juice of Caroline, a RAG member of Emily and a friend of both. Emily and Caroline thus used this moment of immaturity to torture Evan for the rest of term.
  11. "Thomas Jefferson and his best friend spent many nights on the mountain, subsequently naming it Tom's mountain." A quote from a documentary on Jefferson that inspired many a Brokeback Mountain-themed joke.
  12. "I want an old, dead man on my chest!" Said by Zoe when she was defending the idea of a Voltaire themed shirt.

Piccoloboy 14:13, 6 July 2006 (MST)