Intro Level Core Courses

HON 1006-001, 1051-001, 1053-001 INTERDISC II (LIT, THL, PSC)

BROOKE HUNTER, RACHEL SMITH, ALICE DAILEY
MWF 8:30-10:20 AM, T 4:30-5:45

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 1006-001
Interdisc Humanities II: Performing Shakespeare
Honors 1006-001, Spring 2019
Dr. Alice Dailey

This course introduces students to performing the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. We will focus on performance as fundamentally interpretive work—as a set of choices that reflect intellectual interests, aesthetic values, and communicative priorities that must be considered carefully if we are to make meaningful theatre from the early modern textual artifacts we have inherited. We will experiment with not only historical and contemporary forms of Shakespearean performance but with hypothetical productions that stretch the limits of what we can imagine the plays to do. The course will begin with the fundamentals of Shakespearean versification as students practice scansion and elocution. Students will then stage scenes using individual cue parts like the ones sixteenth century actors were given. From this introduction to the historical performance of Shakespeare, we will progress to considering what a play production focused on the concerns and technologies of our contemporary moment might look like. Finally, we will move outside of the pragmatic limitations of real theatrical performance to think about what performance theorist Daniel Sack calls “imagined theatres”—theatres not bound by the normal limits of embodiment, space, or even time. By considering performance in practical as well as theoretical terms, we will expand our understanding of what Shakespearean performance is, what it has been, and what it could be.


HON 1051(Brooke Hunter)
This course introduces literary study by tracing the development of medieval and early modern literature in Europe through the genres and ideas important to it. As we read fantastical dream visions, romances, and Christian epics we will discuss the invention of romantic love, how literature constructs the human relation to the divine, and what different heroes and monsters reveal about the cultures that produce them. This course asks you to move beyond subjective accounts of how texts make you feel or how they reflect on your present moment to consider how literary art structured the experiences of past people. We will read for both explicit ideological programs and implicit meanings and motivations by situating texts in their historical contexts. This course will introduce you to the practice of evidence-based, analytic writing. We will analyze and make arguments about works that are ambiguous, advance contradictory ideas or beliefs, or are otherwise irresolvable or vague. Our goal will be to move you from the rigid either/or solutions and arguments that tend to accompany early educational training to a more flexible articulation of both/and ideas. Finally, we will consider how the same evidence and experiences allow for the creation of various and even contradictory ideas and art.

 

HON 1053 (Rachel J. Smith)
This course is an introduction to western European medieval and early modern theological discourse. At the heart of the sources we will be studying this semester, we will find a foundational question asked in a variety of forms (including systematic treatises, poetry, vision narratives, and painting), namely, “how do human beings journey to God?” This question in turn gives rise to a host of tensions, debates, and further questions that enrich and complicate the theological works we will study: does such a journey require flight from the world, from the realities of embodied existence, or does it occur by means of such existence? Do the things of the world reveal or conceal God? How does doctrine of the incarnation, which claims that the earthly and divine are perfectly united in the person of Jesus, change the response to this question? Is human initiative and action required or even possible in such a journey? What is faith and how does it connect the believer with the divine? Is it mere credulity in things unknown or is reason an aid to it? What is love and what role does it play in faith and knowledge? Finally, where is authority to be found in the course of this search? Does it lie with the individual, in church structures, in the natural world, and/or in a text?
These theological questions, we will see, are always embedded within particular cultural and historical contexts, contexts we will carefully track alongside our examination of the conceptual questions. At the end of the course, we will trace the ways in which the early modern period can be conceived as a time of rupture and transformation of a medieval past as well as a period in which profound continuities with the previous theological tradition are maintained.


Students will be pre-registered.

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ACS 1001-H01 MODERNS

MICHAEL D. THOMPSON
MWF 11:30-12:20 PM

The purpose of this course is to continue the student’s introduction to the intellectual life and spiritual values found within the traditions of the western humanities. The essential question posed by the humanities is “What does it mean to be human?” The central question posed by this ACS honors seminar is “Who am I?” In many ways there is no viable and plausible response for the former without resolving the latter. In New & Collected Poems 2001, the poet Czeslaw Milosz claims that the purpose of poetry is to remind us how difficult it is to remain just one person. We will attempt to address the concept of “person” and “Who Am I” through reading, studying and discussing some of the central works of the Western humanities tradition in the modern period. We will be guided in our task by the insights of the Christian theologian and philosopher St. Augustine of Hippo. St. Augustine claims that you are confronted with the choice of becoming whoever you are to be. This choice can be ignored but its consequences cannot be avoided. The focus of our seminar’s presentations will concern interpretations of the nature and meaning of this choice. Choosing who you are concerns relationships between the development of individual identity, truth, and the influences of those factors which you cannot easily change, or not at all, in your life, such as codes of expected behavior, the implications of transgression and the force of contextual, social, political, economic and historical circumstances.
In conjunction with Augustinian themes, we will use the concepts of tragedy, transgression, resistance and what is thought to be “natural” conditions to illuminate our analyses of personal identity. We will evaluate the choice of self destruction in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. In Hobbes’ Leviathan we will evaluate the peculiar claim that choosing an absolute leader is the only way to ensure our individual rights. The issue of freedom to choose one’s meaning centers Dostoevsky’s Grand Inquisitor while Kierkegaard in Either/Or is convinced that choosing the meaning of one’s life is our destiny. S. Freud in Civilization and its Discontents argues that the egos of the world are in competition for scarce resources while simultaneously driven by instincts and desires and are made increasingly more dangerous as ‘progress’ proceeds. We will then move to, in the words of St. John of the Cross, “the dark night of the soul” in the evaluation of racism and its rejection of both individual human being and choice. We will follow Rosenbaum’s presentation of leading attempts in Explaining Hitler. We will finish the semester in evaluating the arguments of Dr. Martin Luther King and El Hajj Malik Shabazz (Malcolm X), in their claims concerning choice and human subjectivity. These various models might be thought of as a partial check list in assisting a student to specify a format for individuality especially their own.
The format for our seminar will be, primarily, student commentary, with discussion of texts and assigned questions. I will lecture periodically.

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ACS 1001-H02 MODERNS (Society & Human Behavior Cohort)

Gregory Hoskins
MW 1:30-2:45

As a Foundational Course in the Core Curriculum, ACS1001: Moderns is designed to accomplish three goals: to continue to develop your skills as a university-level reader, writer, and seminar participant; to raise one of the four Core questions, “Who Am I?;” and to introduce you to modern (= post-1500 CE) texts and themes. We take as our models of the engaged scholar St. Thomas of Villanova (1486-1555) who combined a love of learning with a life of service to others, especially to the poor, and St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430) who sought after truth with “heart and voice and pen.” The seminar is founded on the belief that seeking the truth (veritas) with respect and love (caritas) toward one another leads to deep and lasting community (unitas).

We will give special attention in our seminar to three related questions. Because many if not all of our thinkers reject elements of the “Ancient” world we studied in ACS1000, we will ask, “What does it mean to be “modern”? Further, we will examine the rise of the “modern” individual; we will ask, “What is a self?” and, the intimately related question, “What is or are the relationship(s) between the individual and the communities by which she is created and defined?” The final question we will ask is central to the Modern world: what is freedom? (In what ways are modern individuals and societies “free” or “not free”?) You’ll be challenged by several distinct and conflicting accounts of human behavior and human flourishing. The purpose of doing this is to help you to think more deeply and carefully about these questions.

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ACS 1001-H03 MODERNS (True Cohort)

HELENA TOMKO
TR 11:30-12:45 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 (True Cohort)

REBECCA CHERICO
TR 11:30-12:45 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-H05 MODERNS (True Cohort)

MARK SCHIFFMAN
TR 11:30-12:45 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-H06 MODERNS (PPE COHORT)

MARY HIRSCHFELD
MW 3:00-4:15 PM

As we move into the “modern” section of ACS, we will take up a variety of readings all of which shape or reflect the culture that gave rise to the dominant institution of our time: capitalism. We will begin with a consideration of the medieval economy, which is distant from modernity both in terms of institutions and fundamental assumptions about human nature. We will then consider some of the signal changes in world view that fed into the emergence of capitalism: a redefinition of the nature of property rights; an increased appreciation for external goods at the expense of virtue; and a new sense that indefinite progress is possible for human beings. Capitalism provoked tensions, and we will thus also examine some of the thinking about class relations, especially as they played out during the industrial revolution. It is impossible to do justice to the broad array of changes that transpired over the several centuries culminating in the capitalist world we know today. The aim of this course is to gain a deeper perspective on our own world by looking at the reactions of those who did not share our sense of the inevitability of capitalism.

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

 

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ACS 1001-H07 MODERNS (BUSINESS & SOCIETY COHORT)

MARY HIRSCHFELD
MW 4:30-5:45 PM

As we move into the “modern” section of ACS, we will take up a variety of readings all of which shape or reflect the culture that gave rise to the dominant institution of our time: capitalism. We will begin with a consideration of the medieval economy, which is distant from modernity both in terms of institutions and fundamental assumptions about human nature. We will then consider some of the signal changes in world view that fed into the emergence of capitalism: a redefinition of the nature of property rights; an increased appreciation for external goods at the expense of virtue; and a new sense that indefinite progress is possible for human beings. Capitalism provoked tensions, and we will thus also examine some of the thinking about class relations, especially as they played out during the industrial revolution. It is impossible to do justice to the broad array of changes that transpired over the several centuries culminating in the capitalist world we know today. The aim of this course is to gain a deeper perspective on our own world by looking at the reactions of those who did not share our sense of the inevitability of capitalism.


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

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ACS 1001-H08 MODERNS

KRISTIE SCHLAURAFF
MWF 12:30-1:20 AM

The well-known maxim “never let go of your dreams” suggests that altered states of consciousness hold an intrinsic value because they help us discover what is most important to us and therefore worthy of pursuit. How do our experiences in these moments shape our understanding of who we are? Throughout the semester we will examine how dreams shape the actions of dreamers from the fictional Victor Frankenstein to Ta-Nehisi Coates. Furthermore, we will explore how dream states, mesmeric states, and magical states serve as privileged modes of being that change the way individuals perceive and understand the world around them. What are the deeper implications of clinging tight to our dreams?

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ECO 1002-H01 Intro to Macro

MICHELLE CASSARIO
TR 1:00-2:15 PM

This course revolves around five principal themes:
1. Introduction to the subject matter of Economics and to the nature and characteristics of the American economy.
2. Analysis of the forces that govern the determination of the aggregate level of economic activity.
3. Analysis of the American banking system and its role in affecting the level of economic activity.
4. Acquaintance with the principles of economic growth and the policy instruments available for fostering the growth of the economy.
5. The impact of the global economy on the U.S. domestic economy

 

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PHI 1000-H01 KNOWLEDGE, REALITY, SELF

ERIC GUINDON
MWF 10:30-11:20 AM

Philosophy is a discipline that asks big and fundamental questions. Some of the questions we will tackle together this semester include: What sort of thing am I, and what sorts of changes could I undergo and still remain the same person? Am I really free to make my own choices, or is free will merely an illusion? Is there a divine being? Can a divine being really be good given how much evil there is in the world? And how could one ever hope to know the answers to any of these questions?
The unifying thread of our course will be the question of the nature and freedom of the self. We will begin our investigation by looking in detail at the development of one particular family of views on this topic that runs from Plato, through Augustine, and on to Descartes. According to this view, what you are, fundamentally, is an immaterial entity, a soul. Moreover, you enjoy a distinguished and radical form of freedom, one that allows you to be ultimately responsible for your actions. The second part of the course looks at challenges and alternatives to this view: some of these are critiques from other Christian philosophers, while others arise from secular philosophical or scientific concerns. We also look at a view, developed in Theravada Buddhism, according to which there is not really a self at all.

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PHI 1000-H02 KNOWLEDGE, REALITY, SELF

JACK DOODY
TR 10:00-11:15 AM

Philosophical responses to the questions of how we can know, what is real, and what is the nature of human existence that explore the dialogue between Catholic, Christian, secular and skeptical perspectives on these questions.

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PHI 1000-H03 KNOWLEDGE, REALITY, SELF

EMILY KRESS
TR 11:30-12:45 PM

What makes for a good conversation? In this class, we will use questions about the nature of conversation and especially philosophical dialogue as jumping-off points for an investigation into the challenges that face our epistemic pursuits more generally. In keeping with the theme of conversation, we will read philosophical works written in the form of a dialogue (by Plato and Augustine), hold our own conversations about the course readings, and reflect critically about the nature of these discussions. At the end of the class, we will ask about the virtue of civility and consider its importance to conversation and dialogue, including our own. We will use these questions about conversation to help us think about knowledge, belief, and inquiry. We will consider a puzzle about how we can even begin to inquire at all: if the possibility of inquiry depends on not having knowledge of what we want to inquire into, how are we supposed to get started in the first place? More worryingly still, what are the consequences of the possibility of error or even radical deception for our knowledge, beliefs, and practices of inquiry? What kind of beliefs—if any—might be safe? In addition, we will ask about the implications of our social context for our knowledge and beliefs. We will consider how to respond to disagreement: does the fact that people disagree with us mean that we should doubt our own beliefs? We will also ask about the implications of our personal relationships: does being a friend require us to have certain beliefs and not others? Finally, we will investigate what things have knowledge of, with a focus on our knowledge of God, the self, and the social categories we belong to. We will ask whether knowledge of God can help resolve our worries about the possibility of knowledge, or whether these worries instead threaten knowledge of God. We will also consider arguments about the nature of the self: whether we are minds, bodies, or animals (and whether there is even a self at all), and what it is for us to be the same person across time. We will also ask how our selves are shaped by others, most notably by our friends. More broadly, we will consider some of the social categories we belong to, including gender and race, and ask what we should understand these to be. Our overarching goal will be to understand who and what we are as human beings and individuals, and how we come to know these facts about ourselves.

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PSC 1200-H01 INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

LANCE KENNEY
TR 11:30 AM-12:45 PM

This course is an introduction to the study of international relations (IR), a distinct academic discipline that involves elements of political science, history, economics, sociology, and philosophy. The aim is to present the key concepts, theories, and paradigms that shape and influence world politics. Simply reporting on contemporary international events is NOT the goal: evaluating and critically assessing those events IS the goal.

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PSC 1200-H02 INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

LANCE KENNEY
TR 10:00 AM-11:15 PM

This course is an introduction to the study of international relations (IR), a distinct academic discipline that involves elements of political science, history, economics, sociology, and philosophy. The aim is to present the key concepts, theories, and paradigms that shape and influence world politics. Simply reporting on contemporary international events is NOT the goal: evaluating and critically assessing those events IS the goal.

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THL 1000-H01 FAITH, REASON, AND CULTURE

ANNA MORELAND
TR 1:00-2:15 PM

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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THL 1000-H02 FAITH, REASON, AND CULTURE

FRANCIS CAPONI
MWF 11:30-12:20

For 2,000 years, Christians have thought long and hard about all the truly big questions:
Does God exist? Does He speak to us? How does He want us to live? What does it take to be
happy? How should we interpret the Bible? Are science and religion in agreement or opposition?
Why do bad things happen to good people? What happens after death? Who can be saved?
This course examines the fundamentals of Christian belief and practice, with particular
emphasis on the “fullness of faith” proclaimed by the Roman Catholic Church. Through the
exploration of primary texts, central ideas, and the historical development of Christian theology,
students will be challenged to think deeply about the person and mission, the death and
Resurrection of Jesus Christ; the revelation of the Triune God; the nature and interpretation of
the Bible; the contours of sacramental worship and prayer, along with the moral life which arises
from them; and the relationship between faith and science.
Spirited class discussion, the development of a common theological vocabulary, and
disciplined reflection upon the relationship of Christian belief and behavior with the arts and
sciences, the issues of the day, and the students’ personal experience, will be key elements in our
exploration of the distinctively Christian answers to the big questions.
Required Texts
1. C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
(HarperSanFrancisco: 2015. ISBN-13: 978-0060652920)
2. Brant Pitre, The Case for Jesus: The Biblical and Historical Evidence for Christ
(Image / The Crown Publishing Group, 2016. ISBN: 978-0770435486)
3. Brant Pitre, Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist
(Image / The Crown Publishing Group, 2011. ISBN: 978-0385531849)

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THL 1000-H03 FAITH, REASON, AND CULTURE

Jessica Murdoch
TR 10:00-11:15

As an integral part of the Arts and Sciences Core Curriculum, this foundational course introduces students to the rich living tradition of Christianity: the sources, traditions, practices, and major thinkers that have shaped Christianity’s response to the fundamental human questions that underlie all religions and shape the human search for meaning. With a particular focus on Roman Catholicism, students engage Christianity as a living tradition of beliefs and practices that have developed over time in local and global cultural and religious contexts and that, loyal to the living God to which they point, are ready to be transformed again. Students also engage Christian truth-claims, themes, values, and witness as resources for analyzing and critically evaluating contemporary cultural challenges. In this course, students are equipped to appreciate the ongoing quest of Christian faith seeking understanding as it enters into conversation with all human knowledge and experience, including other faith traditions.

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Villanova University
Garey Hall 106
800 Lancaster Ave.
Villanova, PA 19085
Phone: 610.519.4650
Fax: 610.519.5405