About Sandra Rudnick Luft


(415) 338-2165




Humanities DepartmentCollege of Liberal and Creative Arts


At SF State Since:



I received my B. A. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1956, with a double major in Philosophy and English Literature. During my first year of graduate study in Philosophy at UCB, my interests increasingly focused on the relationship of ideas to one another and to their historical and cultural contexts, and I entered the newly-formed History of Ideas Program at Brandeis University. I was awarded my Ph.D. in the History of Ideas in Spring, 1963, and have been teaching in the interdisciplinary Humanities Department at San Francisco State University since Fall, 1962.

My teaching and research interests have centered on modern European (sixteenth to twenty-first centuries) history of ideas, with an emphasis on philosophy of history and on the theoretical and methodological assumptions of the interdisciplinary study of intellectual and cultural history. From the mid-1960’s to the mid-1990’s, I also participated in NEXA, the Interdisciplinary Science/Humanities Program in the College of Humanities. All courses were team-taught, and during that thirty-year period I taught NEXA 387 Origins of Modern Science, once a year with Professor Jim Peters, an Astrophysicist in the Physics Department. More recently, my teaching has focused on contemporary postmodern literature, particularly the works of Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Derrida, as well as on the writings of Hannah Arendt. When relevant my courses are cross-listed in Philosophy and in Jewish Studies. Since 2013 I have been conducting a Reading Group on the writings of Arendt in Berkeley.

For many years the focus of my research has been the eighteenth century Neapolitan philosopher Giambattista Vico. My book, Vico's Uncanny Humanism: Reading the "New Science" between Modern and Postmodern, was published by Cornell University Press, 2003. My most recent publication is the 2013 article, "The Divinity of Human Making and Doing in the Eighteenth Century," published in A Companion to Enlightenment Historiography, a volume which is part of the Brill series on Historiography, Ed. Sophie Bourgault and Robert Sparling, Leiden/Boston, 401-436


Undergraduate Courses:

Hum. 302     Theories and Methods in the Humanities

Hum. 345     Humanism and Mysticism in the Humanities

Hum. 370     Derrida and Deconstruction

Hum. 375     Biography of a City: Florence

Hum. 406     The Creation of the Modern World: Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries

Hum. 408     Giambattista Vico

Hum. 410     The Modern Revolution

Hum. 413     Hannah Arendt

Hum. 432     Nietzsche and Postmodernism

Hum. 445     The German-Jewish Ferment: 1920’s-1950’s

Hum. 550     The Art of Autobiography

Hum. 690     Senior Seminar in the Humanities


Graduate Seminars:

Hum. 700      Introduction to Integrative Studies

Hum.  703     History in the Humanities

Hum. 704      Philosophy in the Humanities

Hum. 720      Humanistic Themes

Hum. 723      Contemporary Humanistic Scholarship

Hum. 898      Master’s Thesis

Hum. 899      Special Studies