Sophomore Level Courses

ENG 2790-H01 HUMANITIES IN A DIGITAL WORLD

LAUREN SHOHET & ROBERT BECK
TR 1:00-2:15 PM

If the humanities explore what it means to be human, the new field of Digital Humanities (DH) explores what it means to be human in our networked, digitized world. DH pursues traditional humanistic questions using computational tools. This course explores what these tools are and how to use them in humanities research. Those students who are interested in software development also can learn how to customize existing tools and create new ones. The course cultivates digital literacies essential in many workplaces and post-graduate educational settings. As we think about digital tools, we will go beyond asking “how to. . ..” to also think about “so what?” We’ll study ways to analyze information and communicate our results; we’ll also consider how different tools enable or inhibit certain kinds of questions, and how they invite or discourage particular communities of users.

We will learn to frame traditional humanities questions in ways that digital tools can address, discover further questions through techniques of visualization and mapping, and participate as citizen-scholars in a big data project. We’ll also study some films that engage digital-human encounters, like Making Mr. Right, Bladerunner, and Her. By the end of the course, you will comfortably use the essential DH platforms Omeka (exhibiting); Google Fusion Tables (data management); Cytoscape (data visualization); Voyant (text analysis); Geocommons (mapping); ChronoZoom (timelining); Balsamiq and HTML (wireframing). Assignments will include readings about culture and computation, regular journal entries, short papers (undertaken in successive drafts), and tutorials in DH platforms. The final undertaking is class creation of a DH project.

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ETH 2050-H01 THE GOOD LIFE: ETH & CONT PROB

Allison Covey
MW 1:30-2:45PM

Course description forthcoming.

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ETH 2050-H02 THE GOOD LIFE: ETH & CONT PROB

AUDRA GOODNIGHT
TR 11:30-12:45 PM

ETH 2050 invites students into the fundamental quest for the good life.  In his encyclical Veritatis Splendor, Pope John Paul II says that morality is not primarily about rules and laws, but about the meaning of life and how to live well.  In this course, we will consider what it means to live a good life and how best to pursue the good life as human beings, who are social by nature.  As social creatures, human beings cannot live a good life apart from other people.  Thus, it is appropriate to consider how best to interact with others in order to promote the good life for others as well as ourselves.  The course is structured around two main questions that focus our pursuit of the good life – “What is the good life?” and “How do we promote the good life for ourselves and for others?”  These questions fall under the headings of 1) ethical knowledge and 2) ethical action. 

 

1)     Ethical Knowledge: Part of living well includes knowing what is good, ethical knowledge and the concepts that structure moral theories will be considered.  We will consider the nature of the good life and how the good life can be attained.  Pursuit of good and avoidance of evil are basic to living well and provide a basis from which to consider other ethical concepts including virtue, rights, duties, and happiness.  We will see how these concepts fit into larger conceptual frameworks for the moral life by learning about moral theories such as virtue ethics, natural law, and consequentialism.

 

2)     Ethical Action: Pursuit of the good life requires that knowledge be put into action; thus, the course will also focus on promoting the good life for others.  In book 19 of St. Augustine’s City of God, he proposes that moral philosophy must always by social philosophy.  In this spirit, we will take seriously the view of human beings as social creatures and the possibility that individual human flourishing is essentially a social endeavor.  We will focus our discussion of human flourishing in the context of four areas of ethical concern – life and death, disability, racial justice, and the global economy.  Catholic Social Teaching will inform our discussion of these issues.

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ETH 2050-H03 THE GOOD LIFE: ETH & CONT PROB

BRETT WILMOT (B&S)
TR 2:30-3:45 PM

This version of ETH 2050 has been designed to pursue a more in-depth engagement with ethics as it relates to business and economic topics. It is still important to understand, however, that this is not a business ethics course. We’re interested in general questions about ethics and the good life, but we will be exploring these themes through a closer examination of how we understand business activity and our participation in economic systems and institutions. The main objectives are to promote a more sophisticated grasp of the moral dimensions of human life and an increased awareness of our continued participation in complex, living traditions of critical reflection on what it means to be moral and how to live a good human life, particularly as these relate to our understanding of the role of business, and economic activity generally, in society. To this end, we will be spending a considerable amount of time on primary sources that cover economic themes, ranging from antiquity to the modern era.

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HIS 1165-H01 SUFFERING & PROGRESS IN THE 20TH CENTURY

MICHALE WESTRATE
MW 3:00-4:15 PM

This course examines the political, cultural, social, and economic development of the world from the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 to the present. Through lectures, discussions, readings (both primary and scholarly), visual art, music, and movies, we will investigate two key themes: suffering and progress. The twentieth century was a time of extraordinary suffering—concentration camps, war, genocide, famine, forced migration, and other evils plagued humanity throughout the century. At the same time, substantial progress was made in the areas of quality of life and equality for all. Throughout the semester, we will learn about some of the worst of the suffering; we will also follow the progress of life expectancy, literacy, and equality for all, as well as major advances in technology. Via weekly written assignments, discussion, and a semester-long research project, our goal will be to assess the importance of these and other subjects in today’s world. At the end of the semester, we will better understand “the fundamental interconnectedness of all things,” or (to put it another way), human webs—the networks that make up our reality.

 

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HON 2002-001 INTERDISC HUMANITIES III: HIS

EUGENE MCCARRAHER
MWF 10:30AM-12:20PM

The idea of “progress” has dominated the Western world since the middle of the 18th century.  Scientific and technological development, industrialization, democracy, the “disenchantment” of ancient religious beliefs and popular superstitions – these and other historical changes of the last two hundred and sixty years have enlarged our knowledge of the world, extended the length and health of our lives, and multiplied our material comforts.  Thus, we’ve come to believe almost instinctively that “progress” has been unambiguously positive, and hope that it will continue indefinitely.  Yet these same processes of modernization have provoked profound and often militant doubt, criticism, and resistance, often from among the most learned and sophisticated representatives of modern culture. And at the beginning of the 21st century – with capitalist “globalization” in disarray, with climate change an unavoidable challenge, and with the emergence of a new religious “awakening” all over the world -- new quandaries about the meaning of “progress” have already begun to appear.   

Course description forthcoming.

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HON 2005-001 INTERDISC HUMANITIES III: ETH

MARK WILSON
MWF 10:30AM-12:20PM

This course examines selected themes in late eighteenth-, nineteenth-, and early twentieth-century Western cultural history.  Along with the emphasis on history, economics, and the social sciences provided by Dr. McCarraher’s part of Interdisc III, this course highlights theological and ethical themes as well.  Complementing Professor McCarraher’s considerations of progress, I will invite us to explore the moral and religious “self” that emerges in the wake of the Reformation and the Enlightenment.  One way to interpret Western modernity is to see it as a radical reimagining of the self and its relationship to others and the divine.  This story of progress entails the liberation of one’s authentic self from the tethers of tradition, superstition, and social convention.  The modern self, so construed, aims to be an autonomous agent whose loves, commitments, obligations, and beliefs (not to mention jobs, votes, and purchases) are freely chosen and self-expressive.  The ancient Delphic command to “know thyself” is in this paradigm a challenge to discern what is private, interior, and uniquely yours.

 As with all history, this story is one among many and is challenged by alternative visions.  We will explore these stories and the tensions between them with a focus on the way that they inform and complicate our contemporary experience.  When we eat, love, and pray, we do so as the children of a complex and often confused parentage in modernity.  By studying the works of 18th-20th century theologians, philosophers, and ethicists, we will attempt to better understand the operative and often overlooked assumptions we make about human nature, freedom, goodness, and God, and why (perhaps) our hope for progress depends on this. 

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PJ 2700-H01 PEACEMAKERS & PEACEMAKING

EUGENE MCCARRAHER
MW 4:30-5:45 PM


“Give peace a chance.”  In this course, we will consider the difficulties and possibilities of following through on that deceptively simple request.  First, we must examine the varieties of violence – political, racial, sexual, economic, and technological.  In fact, half of this course on peace will be devoted to exploring the nature and roots of violence.  (Like peace, violence is more complicated than it appears at first.)  Then we will turn to the varieties of peace, and determine what would be necessary for these forms of peace to flourish or even have a chance.     

 

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