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Eric Ruckh

Eric Ruckh
Eric Ruckh
Associate Professor

Modern European Intellectual/Modern France
Office Phone: 618-650-2403

Location: Peck Hall, Rm. 1207
E-mail: eruckh@siue.edu

Ph.D., University of California, Irvine, 1997

Fields of Interest

Modern European Intellectual and Cultural History, Critical Theory, Philosophy of History, Modern France

Publications, Recent Essays, and Recent Conference Presentations

"The Labyrinth of Friendship: Rupture, Space and the Political Unconscious of Hesse's Narcissus and Goldmund" (2004)

"Theorizing Globalization" (2004)

"Tropic Strategies: Bataille, D├ępense and History" (forthcoming)

"Comte and Chopin: History in the Wake of the French Revolution" (Athens, 2004) (with Stephen M. Brown)

"The Dynamics of Friendship and Animosity in Toni Morrison's Sula" (London, 2004)

Sample Syllabi

CIV 115: "Cityscapes: Crossroads of Culture and Politics"

History 412: "The French Revolution"

History 413: "Modern France"

History 420A: "European Intellectual History: From the Renaissance to the Enlightenment"

History 420B: "European Intellectual History: From the Romantics to the Postmoderns"

History 422B: "Late Modern Europe: World War I to World War II"

History 555A: "History and Theory: Human Agency, Its Possibilities and Limits"

History 555B: "History and Theory: Structures, The Permanence and Transience of Life-worlds"

Honors 120: "On Friendship"

Interdisciplinary Studies 324: "Peoples and Cultures of the East"

Interdisciplinary Studies 332: "The Political and Social Thought of Hegel and Marx"

Biographical Statement

I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA in a working-class home. I received my Bachelor of Arts degree from Bucknell University in 1989. My interest in interdisciplinary scholarship and teaching was born at Bucknell through my exposure to an array of extraordinary teachers in the Departments of History, Philosophy, Economics and English. I went on to the University of California, Irvine and received my Ph.D. in 1997. While at Irvine, I deepened my interdisciplinary training and refined a whole range of skills through my work in the Departments of History, Philosophy, French, English and Comparative Literature and the Program in Critical Theory. Along the way, I had the opportunity to study and live in France and England.

Currently, I teach at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in the Department of Historical Studies; I also offer courses in the Honors Program and in the Interdisciplinary Studies Program. My teaching is largely organized around two broad interests: modern European intellectual history and the history of modern France. Within those parameters, I often examine intersections of literature and philosophy, using concepts drawn from philosophical texts to illuminate literature and the insights of literature to flesh out philosophical concepts. The dialogues that organize my courses are also mirrored in my research.

My current research is organized around two nodes. First, I continue to explore a long-standing fascination with the oeuvre of Georges Bataille. In particular, I have been interested in Bataille's theory and practice of history. I have published on the insights Bataille's conceptualization of history can bring to contemporary debates about globalization. I am currently working on an article that seeks to illuminate the resources Bataille can offer to the historical discipline at the beginning of the Twenty-First Century. Second, through my teaching, I have come to have a passionate interest in friendship, its history and its political function. I have published on the political unconscious of Herman Hesse's Narcissus and Goldmund, showing that the novel functioned as a warning of and challenge to the totalitarian tendencies of the late 1920's and early 1930's. I am currently working on a parallel examination of Toni Morrison's Sula, trying to understand how the novel comments on the intersection of gender, race and power in the mid-twentieth century United States. I hope, over the next years, to turn these discontinuous essays into a book on friendship and politics.

That project will be slow in unfolding because I have, since May 2005, been engaged in the project of re-imagining and reforming the General Education Program at SIUE. As Chair of the BRIDGE (Baccalaureate Reform through Integrated Design of General Education) Committee, much of my creative energy for the next few years will be directed towards helping to create a coherent, innovative and relevant General Education Program for SIUE.

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