Cultures and Ideas


Architecture/Landscape Architecture 2300E - Outlines of the Built Environment (3 credit hours)

Introduction to the discipline of architecture and landscape architecture and planning with an emphasis on the physical artifact and its formal and cultural context.

Classics 2201H - Classical Civilization: Greece (3 credit hours)

If you have ever wondered whether you should trust a history textbook, then this is the course for you. Through a detailed survey of ancient Greek civilization, this course will interrogate Greek history, literature, and art in order to develop broadly applicable critical skills. We will be focusing on selected readings in English translation from ancient authors, including Herodotus, Thucydides, Aeschylus, and Euripides. By exploring the ancient texts directly, as opposed to through modern summaries, students will develop their own understanding of the meanings and functions of ancient thought and literature.

Classics 2202H - Classical Civilization: Rome (3 credit hours)

This course will take us 2000 years back in time to explore life and death at the height of the Roman Empire. We will ask questions such as: "Why did the Romans dominate the Mediterranean? When did Rome become an empire and when did the Republic fall? Why did Christianity become the official religion of the Empire? How did the Romans justify owning slaves and how did that influence the rhetoric of the American Civil War? How were Roman concepts of gender and sexuality similar and different to our own?" We will focus on literature, archaeology, and art (both ancient and modern) but this course will also draw lessons from those sources and apply them imaginatively – moving from abstract learning to active understanding. After learning about the procedures of the Senate, we will imagine participating in the Senate: decrying the scandalous affairs of the Emperors (using Suetonius), guiding the course of Roman history (using Tacitus and Livy) and making speeches like Cicero. Similarly we will 'fight' in wars with the Roman army, recline at Roman dinner parties while reciting the poetry of Catullus, and wager on gladiatorial games. By the end of the course, students will be able to understand what Roman civilization tells us about the foundations of modern thought and how the idea of 'Rome' portrayed in plays and movies whitewashes the complexities and strangeness of its living culture.

Comparative Studies 3302E - Translating Literatures and Cultures (3 credit hours)

Are we living in an age of translation?  Do globalization and the Internet push us more than ever to translate between languages, sign-systems, and ourselves?  Can we live without translation?  In this class we will deal with these questions and explore how we translate between languages, across different media, disciplines, and cultural contexts. We will read theoretical texts on translation and relate them to novels, short stories, popular songs, the Bible, philosophy, visual arts, advertising, and film.  In short, we will study translation as a linguistic as well a general cultural practice.  Students will be asked to produce translations into English from a world language or to comment on specific translations. Basic knowledge of a world language (two semesters minimum or equivalent) is sufficient to participate in this task.

Prerequisite: English 1110

Landscape Architecture/Architecture 2300E - Outlines of the Built Environment (3 credit hours)

Introduction to the discipline of architecture and landscape architecture and planning with an emphasis on the physical artifact and its formal and cultural context.

Linguistics 2000H - Introduction to Language in the Humanities (3 credit hours)

This course examines language as a system of human communication. It also provides students with the tools needed for the recording, investigation, and close analysis of language. The course consists of a general survey of language and linguistics. A number of topics relating to man's knowledge and use of language are systematically investigated. Examples are drawn primarily from the English language, although other languages are used to illustrate certain concepts. Nevertheless, the focus of the course is not on any specific language or languages; rather, it is on properties common to all languages and on ways in which languages may differ.

Philosophy 1100H - Introduction to Philosophy (3 credit hours)

This course introduces students to the concerns and methods of philosophy through reading and discussion of ancient, modern, and some contemporary texts. A broad range of issues in metaphysics, epistemology, the philosophy of mind, and ethics will be considered, including consciousness and the mind-body problem, causation, skepticism and the possibility of scientific knowledge, free will and moral responsibility, personal identity, and the meaning of life. (Sorry, no definitive answers will be given!) Historical figures to be covered will include a number of Pre-Socratics, Socrates/Plato, Descartes, and Hume.