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Our Historical Present: A Reflective-Critical Exercise


As a follow-up to our group discussion of the salient characteristics of our historical present, write a 2-page interpretation of the contemporary spirit of the age (Zeitgeist). Draw upon the input and insights of our group discussion, as well as your own educational and experiential background, to interpret the pervasive patterns, syndromes, trends, or motifs exhibited in several distinguishable cultural domains. Example: Some have diagnosed recent American culture as narcissistic (see comic below). This psychological state of egocentric self-absorption is allegedly exhibited in several social and cultural spheres of activity. You need not imitate this precise type of cultural criticism, but you should advance a diagnosis (positive, negative, or a combination of both) of our contemporary Zeitgeist based upon the prominent features formulated in our discussion and/or your own interpretation. Clearly, there is considerable latitude in interpretive perspectives, specific phenomena covered, and critical stances. Generally, paint with a broad brush (comprehensive generality) and attempt to expose the roots of our current historical context (radicality).