Intro Level Core Courses

BIO 1101-H01 BIOLOGY

JANE MORRIS
MW 4:30-5:45 PM

Description forthcoming.

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ACS 1001-H01 MODERNS (GTB OR GLOBAL SCHOLARS COHORT)

THOMAS W. SMITH
TR 1:00-2:15 PM

As the second in the “transcendentals” series, this course is a seminar organized around the “true.”  We will read both classic and contemporary texts that aim to raise the question of the nature of truth and to explore its essential connection with goodness and beauty.  We will begin with a consideration of the impoverishment of the notion of truth in contemporary discourse and then consider both the origins of this impoverishment and alternatives to it.  Along the way, students will learn to read texts closely, to engage in fruitful discussion of them with their classmates and to write compelling papers.

Open only to cohort students; students will be pre-registered.

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ACS 1001-H02 MODERNS (GTB OR GLOBAL SCHOLARS COHORT)

MARY HIRSCHFELD
TR 1:00-2:15 PM

As the second in the “transcendentals” series, this course is a seminar organized around the “true.”  We will read both classic and contemporary texts that aim to raise the question of the nature of truth and to explore its essential connection with goodness and beauty.  We will begin with a consideration of the impoverishment of the notion of truth in contemporary discourse and then consider both the origins of this impoverishment and alternatives to it.  Along the way, students will learn to read texts closely, to engage in fruitful discussion of them with their classmates and to write compelling papers.

Open only to cohort students; students will be pre-registered.

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ACS 1001-H03 MODERNS (GTB OR GLOBAL SCHOLARS COHORT)

JESSE COUENHOVEN
TR 1:00-2:15 PM

As the second in the “transcendentals” series, this course is a seminar organized around the “true.”  We will read both classic and contemporary texts that aim to raise the question of the nature of truth and to explore its essential connection with goodness and beauty.  We will begin with a consideration of the impoverishment of the notion of truth in contemporary discourse and then consider both the origins of this impoverishment and alternatives to it.  Along the way, students will learn to read texts closely, to engage in fruitful discussion of them with their classmates and to write compelling papers.

Open only to cohort students; students will be pre-registered.

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ACS 1001-H04 MODERNS

TIMOTHY HORNER
TR 11:30 AM-12:45 PM

Description forthcoming.

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ACS 1001-H05 MODERNS

MICHAEL THOMPSON
MWF 9:30-10:20 AM

Description forthcoming.

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ACS 1001-H06 MODERNS

WIGHT MARTINDALE
TR 2:30-3:45 PM

Jumping from the 17the century to the present, we will read great, idealistic works (Pascal, Samuel Johnson, Charles Dickens, The Declaration of Independence, and the like), followed by hugely bad behavior--The Mississippi Scandal, slavery in America, WW I, and the finance/mortgage collapse of 2008.

Morale: We may know better, but there are those among us (often at the top) with very evil inclinations, frequently put into effect.

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HON 1051-001, 1053-001, 1054-001 INTERDISC II (LIT, THL, PSC)

LAUREN SHOHET, KEVIN HUGHES, MARK SHIFFMAN
MWF 9:30-11:20 AM, 12:30-1:20 PM

The Interdisc sequence of courses presents students with a unique opportunity to engage the deepest and most fundamental questions that lie at the root of human experience through intensive engagement with classic texts and artifacts in a collaborative interdisciplinary environment.  The second semester of Interdisc explores the ‘greater Middle Ages’ and Early Modernity, from the waning of the Roman Empire to the edge of the French Revolution.  The three sections of the course work in relationship throughout the semester, considering both alignments and tensions among the texts we study. We also will ask how questions are formulated, what counts as evidence, and the goals of analysis in the three disciplines that constitute this year's version of Interdisc II: literature, theology, and political science. Written work includes 3 short papers for each discipline, as well as brief informal assignments throughout the semester. The course also includes 3 oral exams (each encompassing all three strands).
HON 1051
The literature component explores intersections between writing and other aspects of culture. Why do people write (or recite) and read (or listen)? What are the relationships between texts and material history? Between rhetoric and culture? What continuities and changes can we explore in the concepts of writing, forms of literature, conventions of reading, and modes of publication across our time period? We will explore how rhetorical analysis of texts can illuminate internal conflicts in the culture that produced them, with close attention to dissenting paradigms of gender, spirituality, political authority, and selfhood. Readings will include texts of Chaucer, Petrarch, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Donne, Milton, Aphra Behn, and others.
HON 1053
In the timespan examined in Interdisc II, theological questions were known to be necessary and unavoidable elements to any fully human understanding of the cosmos, and even of the “microcosm,” the human being herself.   This dimension of the course will focus on these fundamental religious questions as asked in western, primarily Christian cultures:  Is there a God? What can we know about God?  How do we know God?  What difference does it make to anything else?  Texts of Benedict, Pseudo-Dionysius, Anselm, Thomas Aquinas, Dante, Luther, Calvin, Ignatius Loyola, Descartes, Diderot, and others.
HON 1054
Students in this course will be introduced to classical political thought, and then to the profound transformations of the fundamental understanding of political life and the nature of law brought about in the encounter between Biblical religion and classical political practice and reflection.  The course will then turn to the modern thinkers who have transformed the understanding of law and political life and shaped the basic aims and assumptions of the modern nation state.  Authors will include Plato, Plutarch, Augustine, Aquinas, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau.

Students will be pre-registered.

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HIS 1250-H01 CROSSROADS OF EMPIRES

CHRISTOPHER HAAS
MWF 1:30-2:20 PM

This course will examine five distinct cultures of Eurasia just prior to the expansion of Islam in the seventh century. Three of them (China, Persia, and Rome) are centuries-old imperial cultures.  The other two “cultures” are, in fact, regions that bound them together: the Caucasus, and Sogdiana (Central Asia).  Geographically, our canvas is huge, extending from the Mediterranean empire of Rome, the kingdoms of Armenia and Georgia in the Caucasus, and east along the fabled Silk Road through the mighty empire of Sasanian Persia, the caravan towns of Sogdiana, as far as the immense empire of ancient China.  We will also examine the ways that these distinct cultural regions interacted with the steppe-dwelling peoples to the north.

Although we will be moving from one culture to another, the course is designed to explore themes relating to state formation, imperial control, cultural identity, long-range connectivity through trade, and the role of trade in the development of cultural traditions.  The course will acquaint students with the rich variety of sources and methodologies that historians use to explore the past.

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PHI 1000-H01 KNOWLEDGE, REALITY, SELF

GEORG THEINER
MW 1:30-2:45 PM

In most fields of study, people set out to acquire knowledge about the world.  But in philosophy, we take a step back and probe into knowledge itself – by asking questions about the sources of knowledge, its nature and limitations, and what methods we have for arriving at true knowledge.  Philosophers have thought hard about these questions, with the hope of thereby gaining a more reflective understanding of the nature of reality and the capacities of the knowing self.  To illustrate the virtues of philosophical inquiry, and how it differs from both science and religion, we will first look at a range of influential theories and arguments proposed by Plato, St. Anselm, St. Aquinas, Descartes, and Hume.  In the second half of the course, we turn to the emerging area of consciousness studies, in which philosophers collaborate with psychologists and brain scientists to examine puzzling topics such as how subjective experiences can arise from objective brain processes, the nature of free will, the unity of the self, dreams and meditation, and the possibility of machine consciousness.

This course is an introduction to philosophy which focuses on the question: What can I know? I have designed the course with three main goals in mind.  On a personal level, it will encourage you to ask big questions, and give you the tools you need to explore big answers.  On an intellectual level, it will enhance your understanding of the questions of how we can know, what is real, and what is the nature of the human person.  On a practical level, this course will help refine your critical thinking skills, become more effective at communicating your ideas in a logically structured manner, and improve your ability to make sound decisions.

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PHI 1000-H02 KNOWLEDGE, REALITY, SELF

WALTER BROGAN
TR 2:30-3:45 PM

In this course, we will study some of the great authors of the history of philosophy in the West: Plato, Aquinas, Descartes, Locke, Marx, Arendt and Freud.  Among the philosophical questions we will address will be: what it means to be real; what are the foundations of just law and the basic principles of morality; how do we know we know; can we prove the existence of God and can we understand God’s being? What does it mean to be a person? Since it is a core course, we will focus on developing an understanding of the methods and aims of philosophical thinking. A basic question we will ask is, "What does it mean to be political and rational beings?  What is the ideal community for human beings? The class will encourage sharing ideas and insights and will strive to raise critical questions that allow each of us to seriously confront the texts and ideas we encounter.  Our goal will be to enhance our writing and conversation skills in an academic setting where we discuss together salient philosophical ideas.

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PSC 1400-H01 POLITICAL THEORY

COLLEEN SHEEHAN
TR 11:30 AM-12:45 PM

This course examines the fundamental questions of politics and political philosophy, including: Is there a form of government that is superior to all the others?  What is the purpose of politics -- the goal of the political order?  Is it the self-preservation of the individual, or is it something more than self-preservation?  Are some human actions just and others unjust (or right and wrong)?  If so, what is the foundation for justice?  If not, then why have a political community at all?  Readings in this course will include works by political philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Tocqueville, Marx, and Nietzsche.

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THL 1000-H01 FAITH, REASON, AND CULTURE

GREGORY GRIMES
MWF 10:30-11:20 AM

This course will examine and discuss the role Christianity, and more specifically Catholicism, has to play in politics or the public sphere.  This will be explored through several different but related topics. 

1)   What clues are present in Scripture for thinking about political engagement: how do the Gospels portray Jesus, what was his fundamental message, and how did he see himself in terms of the political atmosphere of his time? And further, how is this interpreted by early Christians in Scripture, especially in Acts and Paul?
2)   How do ancient and mediaeval theologians, especially Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, discern the role Christianity is to have in relation to governing political bodies and legal codes?
3)   Important trends in late mediaeval and early modern theology also had a striking role to play in the development of the modern nation state and our current political economic structures.  We will examine and discuss the most striking features of these, especially in relation to how they affect political structures today.
4)   How does the question of the rationality of faith, and the nature of the relationship between faith and reason, affect the role of religion in politics and the public sphere today? How is reason/rationality thought of today, and is this adequate? Is there a reasonable quality about faith? Do all schools of thought, even science, rely on some element of ‘faith’? How is reason itself challenged, and thought of differently today? How can a more robust understanding of both faith and reason, and their relationship, help Christianity to have a more positive impact in contemporary society and culture?

In the end we will tied these threads together by examining the question: might politics benefit from responsible citizens engaging politically as knowledgeable Christians/Catholics, rather than having to translate the political convictions stemming from their tradition into some neutral, secular discourse?

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THL 1000-H02 FAITH, REASON, AND CULTURE

ANNA MORELAND
TR 2:30-3:45

Throughout this course students will gain competence in Christian theological language in order to examine critically the theological claims of the Christian tradition.  The course is organized along doctrinal themes that, woven together, make up the vision of Christian living.  This course will also provide a basis for subsequent theological study.

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