Note that students enroll in some of our courses by placement. Our required Core III classes are described below. Students select from these offerings, but class size is limited so some students will be wait-listed and must select another class. Core III classes may also be taken to fulfill Liberal Arts elective requirements.
A full listing of courses available this semester is on the Master Schedule posted on the Registrar’s web pages. They are found under “Humanities–Liberal Arts” and “Humanities–Language.”
Core III offerings are designated as “Critical Methods” classes. Each fits this description:
Introduction to methods and practices in the humanities, social sciences, or natural sciences. Course objectives: ensuring competence in understanding critical methodologies and academic debate. Students will write two critical assessments involving evidcence, evaluation, synthesis, and conclusion (4 – 6 pages each) and pass a final exam or final project with a minimum C+ grade.
Fall semester, the four sections offered are:
Section 1: 260.359.01
Race, Philosophy, and Social Criticism
Instructor: Adam Culver
This course will introduce you to the art of social criticism and the practice of political theory, with a particular emphasis on foregrounding the role that race and race-making have played in shaping modern political life. You will learn how to read, analyze, and apply a wide-range of classic and contemporary texts that call upon us to critically reflect upon and reconsider fundamental notions of virtue, truth, democracy, community, freedom, justice, and history. We will examine a series of intersections between critical race theory, social criticism, and some defining texts of the western philosophical canon. In so doing, you will see that theory is never an entirely abstract endeavor—it is always rooted in a sense of worldly care and social engagement. As such, we will pay careful attention to the different historical and political contexts that informed and motivated these thinkers and which gave specific meaning to the concepts they deployed. But we will also emphasize close reading practices and immanent critique—the critical examination of texts for internal consistency through careful attention to argumentative coherence, structure, scope, and style. Lastly, we will lift these texts out of the contexts in which they were created to ask how they might speak to our contemporary condition and to explore how they might help us address our most pressing problems and imagine new political possibilities. Above all, you will learn how to coherently construct and clearly articulate your own opinions on the questions we explore throughout the semester.
Section 2: 260.359.02
Philosophy of Art
Instructor: Oliver Thorndike
This course offers an exploration of the parallel development of philosophy and art as truth-disclosing activities. The course provides both a historical and systematic introduction to the philosophy of art. We will cover texts from Ancient Greek Philosophy to Early Modern and Modern Aesthetic Theories. Among the questions addressed are: Is there an objective standard of aesthetic taste? What is genius? What is the relationship between art and pleasure, art and emotion, and art and understanding? We will be systematically discussing what makes music beautiful (or not), and what the role of the artist is in our society. We will be watching some movies on various artists, and students will explore a topic of their choice at the end of the semester. The class requires active participation in class and the Discussion Board.
Section 3: 260.359.03
Science and Religion
Instructor: Ron Levy
This course explores the complex and nuanced interrelation of science and religion, challenging students’ thinking about the scientific and religious prisms through which most of us understand the world and our place within it. With consideration of contemporary debate as well as historical episodes reaching through the centuries, views of science and religion as separate and distinct modes of understanding will be placed in historical context to recognize their affinity as complementary ways of experiencing the world. Assigned texts include writings of scientists, theologians, and historical observers. Students in the course will recognize the inadequacy of simplistic characterizations of the relationship between science and religion. They will learn of the religious commitments of pivotal scientists, will hear prominent spokespersons address the role and limitations of both science and religion, and will consider the uniquely contentious American debate about the boundaries of each.
Section 4: 260.359.04
Instructor: Robert Carson
What are we doing when we say that a work “means” something? Is the meaning whatever the author intended, or the reader’s own experience of the text? Do we have to know about the historical context of a work in order to understand it, or can works stand on their own? And how does our own historical moment lead us to different meanings of a text in ways we might not realize? “Literary theory” is the diverse, often conflicting body of thought that attempts to answer these and other questions. In addition to formal and linguistic analysis, we will survey a variety of theoretical frameworks which connect literature to other aspects of human life, such as psychoanalysis, gender and sexuality, racial identity, colonialism, and capitalism. Our primary sources will include a selection of poems and short stories, two novels (Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway and Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger), and Alfred Hitchcock’s horror-thriller film, The Birds.