Marx’s First Day On the Job

Karl Marx arrives for his first day of work in a factory, only to find that Adam Smith happens to own the factory.

Marx: You’re kidding me, right?

Smith: Sorry?

Marx: I’m taking on this factory job to, you know, unite with the proletariat and stuff, and I get landed with Adam Smith as my boss. This is just too perfect.

Smith: Um…

Marx: Well, I spend every flipping day inciting workers to unite against the bourgeoisie, and actually see that they are part of one big, sad, oppressed class.… Read the rest here

Plato and More

Two men are seated in the middle of a room. One of them- draped in a thick, fur coat with a silk sash resting neatly on the shoulders- appears to be at ease. Sitting up straight in his chair, he glances over at the other man and offers a soft, almost cautious nod. There is a pause, as his balding, toga-clad companion mulls over the gesture. He seems undecided. Then, after a long silence he lifts his chin and returns the motion.… Read the rest here

Marx and Smith

Sam Wittmer


Two men sit at the bar, each contemplating his respective drink.  Across from the two, in a booth on the other side of the dark room, a group of factory workers sits down.  It is the end of their day; the workers are tired men, wearing rags and clearly exhausted, but nonetheless making jokes and laughing.

Karl Marx:  This is truly a sad sight.  I know the pain that those ironworkers and smelters must be feeling.… Read the rest here

Plato vs. More

Lehrer: Good evening, gentlemen. Your first topic tonight is Democracy. Plato, you go first.

Plato: Thank you, Jim. I am not and have never been a supporter of Democracy. Democracy is the result of the poor overthrowing the rich and killing or driving them out. Afterwards positions will be handed out to everyone and their cousin with no thought as to whom is fit for which job. There is complete freedom for the people. This freedom to say and do as they please will result in the population being extremely diverse, with no one filling his or her role.… Read the rest here

On Capitalism: Smith vs. St.Simon

(St. Simon [St S] from 1817 time-travels back to 1776 and conveniently sits next to Adam Smith [AS]  in a bar)

AS: Hello good sir, I am Adam Smith from Scotland. From where do you hail?

St S: Good day to you, I am called Claude Henri de Rouvroy but most commonly Henri de Saint-Simon of France.

AS: It is nice to meet you. Say, what are your thoughts regarding this glorious rise of industry and capitalism in Europe, particularly in the United Kingdom?… Read the rest here

Dialogue on democracy between Plato and More on a friday night over a drink.

Robert Ekblom

Professor Qualls

Utopias/Dystopias Seminar


Dialogue on democracy between Plato and More on a friday night over a drink.


M(ore): What is your opinion on social freedom and individual role in society?

P(lato): I believe in three classes. There will be those who rule, the warriors, and the masses. The masses will work, and will not involve themselves with ruling or responsibilities of the society, and a select group will take on the responsibility of leading the society for the good of the whole.… Read the rest here

History 253 Exam

What would you like to be asked in your oral exam? Here is your opportunity to contribute to the exam. Please submit at least two essay-type questions via the comment section of the blog. These should not be narrow, factual questions, rather they should be open-ended questions dealing with central themes of our course. Preferably, they should cross several eras. See the current exam guide on Moodle for suggestions.

Read the rest here


Jeremy Pozner
First Year Seminar
Professor Qualls

Paper Prospectus

I intend to write about the use of propaganda to influence both the German citizens’ and the Nazi soldiers’ views of the Jews as Üntermenschen. The Nazis used propaganda campaigns in order to glorify the blue- eyed, blonde- haired Aryan and to dehumanize the Jews. These propaganda campaigns included movies, posters, and even comics for children that blamed the Jews for all of society’s ills. This propaganda influenced the Germans’ view of Jews as less than human and created a psychological gap between the two parties.… Read the rest here

Gender and Sexuality under Differing Ideologies

Emily Smith

Revised Paper Proposal


In this paper, I want to examine the way that gender and sexuality are viewed under different forms of government. Gender and specifically women’s role in society has always been a controversial subject because different societies view women with varying degrees of equality. In the United States, women did not have full rights until the nineteenth amendment outlawed discrimination in suffrage based on gender. Yet women continue to have lower wages and have more difficulty obtaining jobs in certain fields than their male counterparts.… Read the rest here

The Effects of Collectivism, and a Lack of Individuality on the “Individual” In Anthem and We

The Effects of Collectivism, and a Lack of Individuality on the “Individual” In Anthem and We  By Katie Mooradian:


I plan to analyze individuality in both Ayn Rand’s Anthem, and Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We. I hope to find similarities between how their limited opportunities for individuality, take away their humanity. Both stories feature a removal of “human universals” such as choosing a mate, and child rearing by their natural parents, which compete against what we today would term as human nature.… Read the rest here