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Overview

Intellectual Currents

This section focusses on the historical, sociological, philosophical, economic, political, and scientific context of modernism. Entries cover individuals, coteries, movements, and events. The primary criterion…

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Rationalism

Rationalism [Ratsionalizm] was a modernist movement in Soviet architecture that was current in the 1920s and early 1930s. It was led by the architect and…

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Washington, Booker T. (1856–1915)

Born into slavery in Virginia, Booker Taliaferro Washington was the most prominent spokesman for Black Americans at the end of the 19th century. After attending…

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Russell, Bertrand Arthur William (1872–1970)

Bertrand Russell, FRS, OM, and third earl Russell, was a mathematician, philosopher, social critic, political activist, writer, and Nobel laureate in literature. Russell was born…

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Quantum Theory

Developed in the early 20th century, quantum theory is a branch of theoretical physics that concerns the unpredictable quality of particles at the quantum, or…

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Alienation

From the Christian doctrine of original sin, through G. W. F. Hegel’s conception of freedom, and the situated subject of existentialist thought in the wake…

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Wittgenstein, Ludwig (1889–1951)

Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein was an Austrian philosopher whose work, largely on the philosophy of language, had far-reaching implications for modernist intellectual history and for…

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Osun Osogbo Sacred Grove

The Osun Osogbo Sacred Grove is part of the story of Nigerian Modernism. Situated on the outskirts of the city of Osogbo in Southwest Nigeria,…

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Populism

The most salient first use of the term populism and its cognates can be found in late 19th-century Tsarist Russia. The Russian peasant Narodniki [populists]…

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Anti-Semitism including the Holocaust

Anti-Semitism, a term coined in Europe at the end of the 19th century, is the hatred of Jews and Jewishness, the latter being perceived in…

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Nietzsche, Friedrich (1844–1900)

Friedrich Nietzsche, the son of a Lutheran minister, was a German philologist, philosopher, and iconoclast. He is best known for his controversial but powerful reevaluation…

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Acéphale

The name Acéphale refers to two related projects: one is a journal, founded by Georges Bataille (1887–1962), published between 1936 and 1939, whose articles often…

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Anarchism

Anarchism is a term derived from the Greek anarkhia, meaning “contrary to authority” or ”without a ruler.“ Anarchism narrowly refers to a theory of society…

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The Vienna Circle

In 1922 Moritz Schlick (1882–1936) transformed the Verein Ernst Mach (Ernst Mach Society), a weekly reading group concerned with logical positivism, into an international assembly…

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Theory of Relativity, The

The Theory of Relativity is the name given to two separate theories put forth by Albert Einstein (1879–1955): ‘Special Relativity’ and ‘General Relativity’. When first…

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Tarde, Gabriel (1843–1904)

Gabriel Tarde was a French social psychologist, sociologist, and criminologist. In The Laws of Imitation (1880), he suggests that imitation drives the development of language…

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Nazi Modernism

Nazi Modernism is not a contradiction in terms, even if Nazi-era rhetoric and propaganda directed against Entartete Kunst powerfully suggested that this was the case.…

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Lin, Yutang (林语堂) (1895–1976)

Lin Yutang (林语堂) was a major figure in the development of twentieth-century Chinese modernity. He was a scholar, inventor, educator and translator, as well as…

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Syndicalism

Syndicalism is a social and political program advocating an economic system based on equal ownership of production and democratic rule by federated trade unions. Peculiar…

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Structuralism

Structuralism, generally described, is a twentieth-century intellectual movement associated with linguistic studies in Europe, despite its vast applicability and many adherents. An initial aim of…

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Turing, Alan Mathison (1912–1954)

Alan Mathison Turing is known as the father of modern computer science. Of his early achievements he helped to bring the Second World War to…

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Piaget, Jean (1896–1980)

Born in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, Jean William Fritz Piaget pioneered the field of cognitive developmental psychology using empirical methods to study children. Like Walter Benjamin, Piaget…

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Plessy vs. Ferguson

Plessy vs. Ferguson is a legal decision made by the United States Supreme Court upholding the constitutionality of ‘separate but equal’ laws popular in the…

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Technocracy

A broad notion of technocracy can be traced back to ancient Greece. The narrow notion of the term is distinctly modern, inspired by the Industrial…

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Malinowski, Bronisław Kasper (1884–1942)

Born Bronisław Kasper Malinowski to a family in the Polish nobility (the szlachta), Malinowski made contributions to anthropology through his text Argonauts of the Western…