Western Traditions Courses: (12 credit hours total)
- Western Traditions: Renaissance to Modernity
- The United States Experience
- Area Studies: Encountering Latin America and the Caribbean
- Area Studies: Encountering Asia
- Area Studies: Encountering Africa
- Area Studies: Encountering the Middle East
- Area Studies: Encountering Contemporary Europe
- Science and Society
- Honors Capstone: Moral Responsibility
- A 3-credit hour Engaged Learning Course
These courses open perspectives on works that have shaped the self-understanding of the West, works whose meaning and significance have extended beyond the eras in which they were produced and beyond the boundaries of scholarly disciplines. An interdisciplinary team of professors examines these works from a variety of disciplinary paradigms so that authors such as Homer or Augustine, Shakespeare or Nietzsche are encountered not as producers of "literature" or "philosophy" but as teachers who help us to recognize and reflect on critical questions concerning the human condition. Students will examine the recurring questions the works pose to each other and to our own culture: questions about the nature of human existence and destiny, and the characteristic problems and possibilities of humanity's struggle for justice, search for truth and hunger for beauty.
Studying a selection of major works from antiquity to the present, students learn how each text reflects its own period, how texts within each period present different views, and how ideas change over time. Many of the texts antedate current disciplinary categories, but they are now associated with history, art, philosophy, theology and literature. Written and visual expressions of these themes are examined in relation to the political and cultural background of each period: Ancient Greece and Rome, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the Romantic Period and modernism.
These courses are structured as three hours of lecture and three hours of seminar each semester.
- The Construction of Race in Law and Literature
- Reconstruction: The Second Civil War
- Dissonant Themes in American Identity
- American Exceptionalism
- Immigration and Urbanization
This course examines the formation and development of the United States. Focusing on selected topics, students learn how much is at stake in competing versions of the past. Students read influential political, literary and historical texts. Professors from at least two disciplines introduce students to various ways of understanding the United States experience.
- Democracy in Latin America
- The Drug War in the Americas
- Economic Liberalism in Latin America
- Authority and Revolution
- Ethnic Diversity and Indigenous Populations
This course introduces students to the history and culture of selected nations of Latin America and the Caribbean. Students will study significant ideas and events that have shaped this area. These might include, for example, indigenous cultures, colonization, slavery, race relations, independence and revolutionary movements, economic dependency and political instability. Students will examine the region's most significant historical, political and literary texts, including those written by Domingo F. Sarmiento, Jose Tomas Cuellar, Jose Marti, Rigoberta Menchu, Mario Vargas Llosa, Jorge Amado, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Octavio Paz. Students will also examine seminal art movements and artists of the region, including casta paintings from the 19th century, religious iconography and Mexico's great muralists of the early 20th century.
- Colonization and De-colonization
- Diversity of Religion and Culture in Asia
- Distant Encounters: Explorations, Travel, Culture and History in Asia
This course will introduce students to various regions in Asia and some of the fundamental components of Asian civilizations as they have evolved historically and persist in the modern world. Regions might include, for example, East, South and Southeast Asia. Students read representative literary, philosophical, theological and historical texts. They also study significant works of visual art. Instructors point out cross-cultural linkages and influences within Asia as a whole as well the distinctive characteristics of individual societies.
As part of their broader encounter with Asia, students will study Asian forms of artistic and literary expression. For example, students may study Zen and the art of archery, Zen and the Japanese tea ceremony, Indian Bharat Natyam dance and its connection to Hindu theistic beliefs, or Chinese dance as an expression of Chinese cosmological beliefs. Students will study social, political and economic changes during the late traditional and the modern periods (16th to 20th centuries). Topics in popular and material culture might include popular art and folk beliefs. Topics in history and culture might include Indus valley civilization and the rise of Brahmanical Hinduism, the Maoist revolution in China, the colonial and postcolonial periods in South Asia and the transition to democracy in India. Students may read Midnight's Children in the context of Indian independence and partition.
- African Cinema
- Francophone Literature of Africa
- Africa in an Age of Globalization: A Political Economy Course
- 21st-Century Politics in Africa
This course introduces students to various regions in Africa and some of the fundamental components of African civilizations as they have evolved historically and persist in the modern world. These might include, for example, classical African civilizations, origins of the slave trade, agriculture, ethnicities, colonialism, nationalism, the modern state. Students read representative historical, political and literary texts and study significant works of visual art. Professors from at least two disciplines introduce students to various ways of approaching the study of African nations and cultures. Students learn how to conduct research on unfamiliar topics.
- The Middle East in Film
- The Family in Middle Eastern Cultures
This course introduces students to various regions in the Middle East and some of the components of selected civilizations in this region as they have evolved historically and persist in the modern world. Topics might include, for example, monotheistic religions, the Ottoman Empire, Islamic culture, creation of the modern system of states after the First World War; the place of women in Middle Eastern societies; urban and rural cultures; the political and economic consequences of water scarcity and oil wealth. Students read representative theological, historical, political and literary texts and study significant works of visual art. Professors from at least two disciplines introduce students to various ways of approaching an area with many languages, ethnicities, nation-states and religions. Students learn how to conduct research on unfamiliar topics.
- Diversity and Human Rights
- State and Economy
- Studying Europe through Its Music
- International Relations through Film
This course introduces students to selected areas of Europe as they have evolved since World War II. Topics might include, for example, nationalism in the European Union, immigration, economic development and political interests. Professors from at least two disciplines introduce students to various ways of approaching an area with many languages, ethnicities, nation-states and religions. Students learn how to conduct research on contemporary issues.
- The Human Genome in Society
- Energy for a Sustainable Future
- Environmental Quality and Children's Health
Through a problem-based pedagogy that employs methods of group learning, students will examine the ways natural science and social science can address a particular issue as well as the effects of science on society. Students will participate in a direct experience of scientific inquiry. They will learn fundamental cognitive and mathematical skills employed by scientists. They will demonstrate the capacity to make reasoned and ethical judgments about the impact of science on society. They will conduct group projects that address the needs of local communities, demonstrating the capacity to utilize scientific knowledge to promote the health and well-being of the individual, community and society.
This course focuses on principles of ethical reasoning and individual moral responsibility in relation to contemporary issues. It is taught by professors of philosophy and theology.
Students will acquire knowledge of the individual as moral agent, that is, one with the following attributes:
- Reflective: Carefully decides in the light of relevant values; paradigm cases will be analyzed
- Responsible: Takes personally the world's problems, such as poverty and oppression
- Confident: Knows that circumstance and education have given him/her the power to be effective
- Generous: Considers his/her abilities as gifts to be administered for the benefit of others
Students will acquire knowledge of other persons, that is, students will come to recognize:
- Family and friends as the objects of love
- Those who suffer as the objects of compassion
- All humanity as the object of benevolence
Engaged Learning Requirement (3 credit hours)
Students will complete a 3-credit hour Engaged learning course. Click on the link above for more information.