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David Pickus

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Faculty Fellow and Senior Lecturer, Barrett, the Honors College

Affiliated Faculty, Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict

Honors Faculty Fellow
Location: Sage South Hall, Room 151

David Pickus is from Chicago. He received a B.A. in history from Lawrence University and earned his Ph.D. in German intellectual history from the University of Chicago in 1995. His academic interests cover central Europe, the Balkans, the Middle East and China. An expanded version of this thesis was published as a book “Dying with an Enlightening Fall: Poland in the Eyes of German Intellectuals, 1764-1800 (Lexington Books, 2001).” In the academic year 2007-08 David was a Fulbright scholar in Belgrade, Serbia. David is currently working on a study of the German-American philosopher, Walter Kaufmann, as well as researching intellectual life in Yugoslavia and the Balkans.

Courses & Teaching
David offers both semesters of the Human Event. The first semester (171) concentrates on the origin and development of values and belief systems. It looks at the worldviews of some of the major religious and philosophical systems of antiquity and the middle ages, asking students to compare these values and examine them in conjunction with their own. The second semester (172) shifts the focus to modernity. Students in this semester read classic authors like Tolstoy, Nietzsche, Freud and Huxley to study the intertwined topics of self-deception, rationality, barbarism and civilization.

David offers occasional advanced (394) courses in German, Jewish and European history. In addition, he teaches a seminar on the history of the modern Middle East. In all his courses David asks students to open themselves to differing perspectives; to consider objections and alternatives and to make responsible judgments of their own. David thinks that reading important books and discussing them in the classroom is one of the most valuable ways to learn about others and yourself.

Study Abroad
In a globalizing world David strongly believes that college students should be informed about current events and trends. If possible, he would like all Barrett students to go on at least one study abroad/study away program. For the past three years he has teamed up with Dr. Ning Wang of ASU’s School of Global Studies to offer a five- week study tour of China. This trip is designed to help students who would like to learn more about China, but have no opportunity to do so in depth. No prior background knowledge is necessary to join. What is necessary is a willingness to learn about China’s historic traditions and reflect on the tremendous changes China is currently undergoing. The itinerary includes Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Sichuan province, and many more. The programs and tours explore China’s politics, culture, economy, ecology and society. Along the way, students will meet and speak with a wide variety of people ranging from political and business leaders to students and factory workers.

David also offers a study abroad tour to Serbia. This program, running in June and July, teams ASU students with Serbian peers and offers an intensive investigation of Belgrade and the surrounding countryside. Students are offered internships in Serbian business and ministries, and join Serbian students in devising new entrepreneurial projects. The program also offers an extensive academic and cultural program.

More information on study abroad tours are available by clicking here.

Research, Mentoring and Student Activities
David has published essays in a number of academic journals. He is actively involved in research and encourages students to develop scholarly interests of their own. He also serves as an advisor and reader for Honors theses in the humanities and social sciences. Students are welcome to contact him to discuss their own projects. In addition, David leads a discussion group on current events “Politics and World Affairs” that holds bi-monthly meetings. All students are welcome to attend.

  • David Pickus. Jewish Nietzscheanism: Walter Kaufmann's Critique of Christianity. Jewish Studies Quarterly (2007).
  • David Pickus. Wishes of the Heart: Walter Kaufmann, Karl Jaspers and Nietzsche Scholarship. Journal of Nietzsche Studies (2007).
  • . . Germany and the East (2007).
  • David Pickus. The Walter Kaufmann Myth: A Study in Academic Public Opinion. Nietzsche-Studien (2003).
  • David Pickus, Phillip McKnight. Overeducated and Underemployed: On Learned Women, Hegel and Beautiful Souls Circa 1805. Genie-Satire und Frauenerziehung (2003).
  • Pickus, David B. Dying with an Enlightening Fall: Poland in the Eyes of German Intellectuals, 1764-1800. (2000).
  • David Pickus. To Discover A Mind: Walter Kaufmann's Celebration of Goethe, Critique of Kant and Evisceration of Heidegger. South-Central Review (1999).
  • David Pickus. When the World was Half a Thousand Years Younger: Contrast and Color in Huizinga's Autumn of the Middle Ages. Fifteenth-Century Studies (1998).
  • Pickus, David. Walter Kaufmann and the Future of the Humanities. American Comparative Literature Association (Mar 2006).
  • Pickus, David. From Leo Baeck to Walter Kaufmann: Courage and the Jewish Critique of Christianity. Seventeenth Conference of Midwest Jewish Studies (Sep 2005).
  • Pickus, David. Christianity in German-Jewish Eyes. (Feb 2005).
  • China: Five-Week Study Tour, Co-Director (2007 - 2007)
  • Athens, Rome, Dubrovnik: ASU Honors Program, Director/Faculty (2005 - 2005)
  • Romania and central Europe: ASU Program, Co-director (2004 - 2004)
  • Athens, Rome, Tunis: ASU Honors Program, Faculty (2001 - 2001)