The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Study of Core Texts and Ideas

CTI 302 • Classics Of Socl/Polit Thou

33890 • Pangle, Lorraine
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM MEZ 1.118
(also listed as GOV 314)
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Description:

This course explores the changing understanding of the human psyche in the history of political thought through the study of classic texts in philosophy and psychology. In roughly chronological order, we will examine several key philosophers’ accounts of the deepest human concerns—justice, happiness, and love—and the potential political life has to fulfill those yearnings. In the final part of the course, we will study Darwin’s evolutionary theory of the evolution of human mental faculties, Freud’s theory of unconscious psychological drives, and current theories of evolutionary psychology. We will discuss how these different views of human nature suggest different approaches to politics and ethics.

 

Prerequisites: none

 

Required Texts:

  • Plato, Republic; Symposium
  • St. Augustine, City of God
  • Hobbes, Leviathan
  • Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality
  • Nietzsche, Genealogy of Morals
  • Darwin, Descent of Man
  • Freud, Civilization and its Discontents
  • Wilson, E. O., On Human Nature
  • and selected articles on evolutionary psychology

 

Course Requirements and Grading Scheme:

  • weekly posts on discussion board and class participation: 20%
  • two short (1200-1500 word) papers: 25% each
  • final exam: 30%

CTI 302 • Classics Of Socl/Polit Thou

33880 • Pangle, Lorraine
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM MEZ 1.208
(also listed as GOV 314)
show description

Description: 

This course explores the changing understanding of the human psyche in the history of political thought through the study of classic texts in philosophy and psychology. In roughly chronological order, we will examine several key philosophers’ accounts of the deepest human concerns—justice, happiness, and love—and the potential political life has to fulfill those yearnings. In the final part of the course, we will study Darwin’s evolutionary theory of the evolution of human mental faculties, Freud’s theory of unconscious psychological drives, and current theories of evolutionary psychology. We will discuss how these different views of human nature suggest different approaches to politics and ethics.

 

Prerequisites: none

 

Required Texts:

  • Plato, Republic; Symposium
  • St. Augustine, City of God
  • Hobbes, Leviathan
  • Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality
  • Nietzsche, Genealogy of Morals
  • Darwin, Descent of Man
  • Freud, Civilization and its Discontents
  • Wilson, E. O., On Human Nature
  • and selected articles on evolutionary psychology

 

Course Requirements and Grading Scheme:

  • weekly posts on discussion board and class participation: 20%
  • two short (1200-1500 word) papers: 25% each
  • final exam: 30%

CTI 302 • Classics Of Socl/Polit Thou

33885 • O'Toole, Daniel
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM MEZ 2.122
(also listed as GOV 314)
show description

This course explores the changing role of human psychology in the history of political thought through the study of classic texts in philosophy and psychology. We will examine several key philosophers’ accounts of the deepest human concerns—justice, freedom, self-preservation, love, and happiness—and the potential of political life to fulfill those yearnings. We will focus on the works of Plato, Augustine, Hobbes, and Rousseau, and we will compare their reflections on human nature with those of Darwin and with contemporary theories of evolutionary psychology. We will discuss how these different views of human psychology suggest different approaches to ethics and politics.


CTI 302 • Classics Of Socl/Polit Thou

33875 • Bennett, Zachary
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM WAG 208
(also listed as GOV 314)
show description

This course explores the changing role of human psychology in the history of political thought through the study of classic texts in philosophy and psychology. We will examine several key philosophers’ accounts of the deepest human concerns—justice, freedom, self-preservation, love, and happiness—and the potential of political life to fulfill those yearnings. We will focus on the works of Plato, Augustine, Hobbes, and Rousseau, and we will compare their reflections on human nature with those of Darwin and with contemporary theories of evolutionary psychology. We will discuss how these different views of human psychology suggest different approaches to ethics and politics.


CTI 303 • Competing Visions Good Life

33895 • Abramson, Jeffrey
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM CLA 0.130
(also listed as GOV 314)
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Course description: Government 314: Competing conceptions of the good life

Professor: Jeffrey Abramson

 

COMPETING VISIONS OF THE GOOD LIFE

    This is a basic introductory course to political philosophy. Through a reading of works of political thought from Plato to        the present, we confront enduring debates about the meaning of liberty, tolerance, equality, justice and the good life.

 

Prerequisites: none

 

Grading Policy:  plus or minus grades.   Midterm Exam counts 30%; Final exam counts 50%; attendance and participation counts 20%

 

Books for Purchase:

Plato:   Euthyphro, Apology, Crito (Library of Liberal Arts)

Plato:       Republic (Basic Books)

Sophocles:   Three Theban Plays (Penguin)

Aristotle:   Nichomachean Ethics (Hackett)

Aristotle:   Politics (Oxford)

Augustine:   Confessions (Penguin)

Machiavelli: The Prince and the Discourses (Modern Library)

Hobbes:      Leviathan (Penguin)

Locke:       Letter Concerning Toleration (Hackett)

Locke:       Second Treatise on Government (Hackett)

Rousseau:    Basic Political Writings (Hackett)

Mill:        On Liberty (Hackett)

Abramson:    Minerva’s Owl (Harvard)           


CTI 304 • Judaism, Christianity, & Islam

33900 • Smith, Geoffrey
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM PAR 1
(also listed as HIS 304R, ISL 311, J S 311, R S 304)
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This course explores the principal beliefs and practices of Jews, Christians, and Muslims and the historical development of the religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  At the same time, the course will provide an introduction to the field of religious studies by exposing students to some of the interdisciplinary methods used to understand religion as a central component of human culture, including historical methods, the study of ritual, and the analysis of ideas.

 


CTI 304 • The Bible & Its Interpreters

33905 • Landau, Brent
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM CLA 0.106
(also listed as R S 315)
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Among all the influential texts found in the Bible, none has had such an enormous impact on world history and culture as the Book of Genesis has. This may be somewhat surprising: given the fact that Christianity is the world’s largest religion, one might expect that one of the Gospels of the New Testament would be the most influential. Yet Genesis, with its
tales of the strange world that existed before the Flood and its recounting of the exploits— sometimes morally questionable—of Israel’s patriarchs, exercised such a hold on the imagination of the earliest Christians that many New Testament writings can actually be seen as extended ruminations on the implications of the Genesis narrative…as can many other great works of literature and art from antiquity to the present. This course will explore the incredibly diverse ways that human beings have sought to make meaning out of this book. We will begin by devoting more than two months to a close reading of Genesis in its entirety—just us and the text (mostly). We will then proceed to examine several significant ancient interpretations of Genesis. We will investigate: a retelling of the strange story of “sons of God” mating with human women (from Gen 6:1-4) as found in the Book of the Watchers; the “reversal” of Genesis’s creation story found in the Gnostic Christian writing Apocryphon of John; Genesis in the writings of Augustine, arguably the greatest Christian theologian of all time; and the use of Genesis narratives in the Quran, the foundational scripture of Islam.


CTI 304 • The Bible & Its Interpreters

33910 • Yoo, Philip
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM BEN 1.102
(also listed as R S 315)
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Description:

What, according to the Bible, is required of us? What is our response to the deity? What is our place in the cosmos? With these questions in mind, this course seeks to cultivate both an understanding of the Hebrew Bible (the Christian Old Testament) and the New Testament and how biblical writers and subsequent interpreters grappled with notions of divine command and human obligation. We pursue this aim through close readings of the biblical texts themselves and the reception of biblical figures, themes, and ideas among its many interpreters. We begin by examining the historical sense of the Hebrew Bible as a product of the ancient Near East. We will then examine the practice of biblical interpretation among the competing Jewish ideologies at the turn of the Common Era, out of which emerged the early Christians and the New Testament. The later part of the course will highlight some of the major Jewish and Christian interpreters of the Bible in the pre-modern and modern periods and how, through their own view of “scripturalism”, these interpreters understood and formulated responses to questions of human nature, humanity’s relationship to the supernatural, and the meaning of life.

 

Texts

  • The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha: New Revised Standard Version. Edited by Michael D. Coogan, Marc Z. Brettler, and Carol Newsom. 4th ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010. (indicated by NOAB in the Plan of Study, below)
  • Course Pack with selections from Readings from Philo, Dead Sea Scrolls, Rabbinic Literature, Qur’anic Literature, Maimonides, Augustine, Luther, Spinoza, Mendelsohn, Kierkegaard, and others.

 

Grading

  • Attendance (10%)
  • 5 short reading reports (2% each or 10%)
  • 2 short papers (15% each or 30%)
  • rewrite of one paper (25%)
  • final exam (25%)

CTI 304 • The Bible & Its Interpreters

33914 • Case, Megan
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM GAR 1.134
(also listed as R S 315)
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Before there was God, there was Enki; before God tamed the sea, Marduk defeated Tiamat. While much of the Western world has been shaped by the story of creation found in Genesis, what shaped those biblical accounts? The first half of this course focuses on this question, examining other creation accounts found in the ancient Near East, such as Atra?as?s and the En?ma Eliš, in order to place the biblical stories in their wider cultural setting. In the second half of the course, we analyze various interpretations of creation found in the traditions of the Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Throughout the entire course, “myth” serves as our guiding concept, as we consider whether the various creation accounts in the ancient Near East properly fit in that category.

 

Texts

  • Stephanie Dalley, Myths from Mesopotamia: Creation, The Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989).
  • Malise Ruthven, Islam: A Very Short Introduction, 2nd edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).
  • Robert A. Segal, Myth: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).
  • Normon Solomon, Judaism: A Very Short Introduction, 2nd edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014).
  • Linda Woodhead, Christianity: A Very Short Introduction, 2nd edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014).
  • The Harper Collins Study Bible
  • The Study Quran, Harper Collins
  • Other readings will be posted on Canvas

 

Grading

Class Participation: 15% 

Canvas Questions: 20%

Creation Story Small Comparisons: 15% (5% each)

Creation Story Large Comparison: 20% (10% comparison; 10% analysis)

Final Paper: 30% (5% 1st Draft; 5% Peer Review; 20% Final Draft)


CTI 310 • Ancient Philosophy

33920 • Koons, Robert
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM WAG 308
(also listed as C C 304C, PHL 301K)
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An introduction to the political ideas and theories of the ancient Greeks and Romans. We will focus on primary texts by Plato, Aristotle, Cicero and Augustine of Hippo, supplemented by some selections from the Greek historian Thucydides and the political school of thought known as the “Sophists”. About one-third of the course will be devoted to role-playing game, The Threshold of Democracy: Athens in 403 B.C.  This game is part of a “Reacting to the Past” method developed at Barnard College. Students will be assigned different roles, e.g. Thrasybulus, a radical Democrat, Oligarch, Supporter of Socrates, Rich Athlete--derived from the historical setting, each role being defined largely by its game objective-exonerate Socrates, banish Socrates, condemn him to death. Students will determine on their own, however, how best to attain their goals, though they will receive guidance from important texts in the history of ideas.

The heart of each game is persuasion. For nearly every role to which you will be assigned, you must persuade others that your views make more sense than those of your opponents. Your views will be informed by the texts cited in your game objectives, and the more you draw upon these texts and the more cleverly you draw upon them, the better. You have two ways of expressing your views: orally and in writing. Both will be graded.


CTI 310 • History Of Religions Of Asia

33925 • Brereton, Joel
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM UTC 3.102
(also listed as ANS 301R, R S 302)
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Description:

This course surveys the central beliefs and patterns of life of living religious traditions of Asia. It will focus particularly on the basic texts or narratives of these traditions, on their essential histories, and on the concepts of humanity, the world, and the divine that are distinctive of each. In addition, the course will explore not only what people believe religiously but also what they do religiously. Therefore, part of the course will consider the ways of life, forms of social action, and rituals practiced by different communities. Not all Asian traditions can be included in a one-semester survey. The traditions chosen have large numbers of adherents, possess particular historical significance, and represent different cultural areas. These include: Hinduism, Islam in South Asia, Buddhism in South and Southeast Asia, Chinese Confucian and Daoist traditions, Shinto, and Buddhism in China and Japan.

Required Texts:
Willard Oxtoby, Roy Amore, (and Amir Hussain), World Religions: Eastern Traditions (3rd or 4th edition)
R.K. Narayan, tr., The Ramayana: A Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic
Patrick Olivelle, tr., The Buddhacarita: Life of the Buddha (selections provided in class)
Burton Watson, tr., Zhuangzi: Basic Writings [or B. Watson, Chuang Tzu: Basic Writings]
Hiroaki Sato, tr., Basho's Narrow Road: Spring and Autumn Passages.

Grading:
30%  Two exams (15% each)
45%  Three essays (15% each)
15%  Final essay
10%  Attendance and Participation


CTI 310 • Intro To The New Testament

33927 • Kim, Jin Young
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM WAG 308
(also listed as C C 304C, R S 315N)
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Description:

This course introduces students to the academic study of the writings that today comprise the Christian New Testament. We will begin by introducing different scholarly approaches to NT and a brief historical overview of the Second Temple Judaism and the Roman Empire as the background for understanding NT. In the first segment of the course we will focus on the Pauline letters to understand the Apostle Paul and the specific historical, political, and religious situations of the earliest churches as reflected in each letter. The second segment of the course covers the gospels and the synoptic problem. Here we ask how each text reinterprets the significance of Jesus and formulates religious identity within its own historical and communal context. The last segment of the course discusses the Book of Revelation, selections of non-Pauline epistles, and few extra-canonical writings that have significance in understanding the NT. Here we also think about the development of the New Testament as a canon. The primary goal of this course is to introduce students to the major critical issues in the interpretation of NT and a set of analytical tools for assessing biblical texts on their own.    


CTI 310 • The Rise Of Christianity

33935 • White, L
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM GEA 105
(also listed as C C 318, J S 311, R S 318)
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Start with questions and then look for answers.

1.   What is the earliest writing in the New Testament? What was the latest?

2.   What does it mean to call Jesus of Nazareth an apocalyptic Jewish prophet?

3.   When did the followers of Jesus begin to call themselves “Christians”?

4.   What were they called before that time?  And why does it matter?

Whether or not you think you know the answers to all or some of these questions, you may still want to follow the basic path of historical discovery they hint at.    This course brings together two main lines of history:  first that of Jesus and the early Christian movement itself, and second, that of the “book” (more precisely the “books,” meaning the New Testament), that tell that story.   How did it happen?  Where did they come from?  When did they begin to call themselves “Christians,” and why did they do so?  And finally, what changed along the way?  All of these are part of the story, and it is, without doubt, a story that has had a major impact on all later western history. 

            This course is designed to acquaint students with the sources, issues, and methods in studying the development of the earliest Christian movement, primarily in  the New Testament period.  It will survey the development of the Christian movement, from its beginnings as a reforming sect within first century Judaism until it became a major cult in the Roman world, by looking at two intersecting sets of factors:  the world situation during the period of its origins and the forces which gave it its peculiar social and theological shape.  In particular, attention will be given to critical examination of the New Testament writings themselves, in order to "place" them in their proper historical context and to reconstruct some of the major phases and factors in the development of the movement.   In the light of this critical reconstruction, sociological and anthropological methods will be introduced into the historical discussion; topics will include: sociological formation and development of sectarian groups; gender, status, group dynamics, and boundary maintenance in diaspora communities; and the evolution of organizational structures in cultural contexts.   

            For the most part the primary sources for the course will be the New Testament writings themselves.  It will be necessary, therefore, for each student to have access to a good, modern version of the New Testament (and preferably the whole Bible, including the Apocrypha). For study purposes, comparison of different translations is encouraged.  The other course books (listed below) provide a guide to the early Christian writings and the early history of the movement.   

 

Books:

  • A BIBLE (at least the NEW TESTAMENT, preferably in a good modern translation) [Recommended:Harper-Collins Study Bible, 2nd ed.;New Revised Standard Version]
  • L. Michael White, From Jesus to Christianity  (Harper, 2004) pb. [Optional:  L. Michael White, De Jesús al christianismo  (EVD, 2007; Spanish language edition of above)]
  • Alan F. Segal, Rebecca’s Children:  Judaism and Christianity in the Roman World (Harvard UP, 1986) pb.
  • A Xerox packet of additional readings to accompany the syllabus                                           

 

Grading:  

Final course grade will be based on the average of three in-class Exams (worth 20% each) and a cumulative Final Exam (worth 40%).


CTI 310 • Western Civ In Medieval Times

33940 • Kaufman, Cheryl
Meets MW 4:00PM-5:30PM WEL 2.312
(also listed as AHC 310, EUS 306, HIS 309K)
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This course offers an introductory survey of Western European history, from about 300 to 1500 C.E. Although textual sources are central to the study of history, we will also focus on visual and material sources to discuss the cultural, social, political, economic, and intellectual history of the Middle Ages, with a focus on the formation of identity. Classes will be a mixture of lecture, discussion, and collaborative assignments.

 

Objectives:

Learn to analyze and articulate meaning from primary sources created in the Middle Ages - both texts and material culture.

Learn to read critically and gain a broad understanding of European history. Gain the ability to describe the major historical trends in the history of Western Civilization during the Middle Ages.

Become more aware of material culture and the significance of place/space both in the medieval and modern world.

 

Develop a deeper understanding of cultures that may be different from our own. (Note that this course has a Global Cultures flag)

 

Rosenwein, Barbara, A Short History of the Middle Ages (2014 - one volume ISBN: 978-1-4426-0611-1) paperback

Augustine, Confessions (translated by F.J. Sheed)

Einhard and Notker the Stammerer, Two Lives of Charlemagne (Penguin Classics, translated by Lewis Thorpe)

The Letters of Abelard and Heloise (translated by Betty Radice)

Additional required readings will be made available electronically on Canvas or in a required Course Packet. 

 

 

Map quiz: 5%

Quizzes (including pop quizzes): 15%

Mid-semester exams (cumulative): 30% (2 @ 15% each)

Final exam (cumulative): 30%

Attendance: 10%

Class Participation: 10%


CTI 322 • Critics Of Modern Liberalism

33950 • Stauffer, Devin
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM UTC 3.122
(also listed as GOV 351G)
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GOV 351G; CTI 322

Unique # 33950; 38675

 

CRITICS OF MODERN LIBERALISM

 

Devin Stauffer

 

Spring 2017

 

Course Description

 

This course examines the writings of a wide range of thinkers who have reflected deeply on the strengths and weaknesses of the most powerful political doctrine in the world today: liberal democracy.  We will begin by studying the original case for modern liberalism as it was presented by John Locke, the great architect of the modern liberal form of government and the modern liberal way of life.  After studying Locke, we will look at the Declaration of Independence and The Federalist Papers to consider the ways in which Lockean principles informed the American Founding.  After this introduction, we will look at a set of thinkers who range from friends of liberal democracy who have worries about its dangers to hostile critics of liberal democracy who argue for its destruction.  The “friendly critics” will include authors such as Mill and Tocqueville.  The hostile critics will span the political spectrum, from Marx on the Left to Nietzsche on the Right.  These authors raise far-reaching questions about liberalism: Do the principles of freedom and equality promote an isolating individualism that dissolves communal bonds?  Is liberalism tied to an oppressive capitalist economic system?  Has the rise of liberal democracy fostered mediocrity and complacency?  Finally, we will conclude by reflecting on the health of liberal democracy today.

 

Prerequisite

 

Completion of at least thirty hours of coursework.

 

Texts

 

Locke, Two Treatises of Government and A Letter Concerning Toleration (Yale)

Hamilton, Madison, and Jay, The Federalist Papers (Signet)

Mill, On Liberty (Penguin)

Tocqueville, Democracy in America (Chicago)

Marx and Engels, The Marx-Engels Reader (Norton)

Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil (Vintage)

Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra (Penguin) 

Course Supplement (available at Jenn’s Copying, 2518 Guadalupe)

 

Grading

 

Grades will be calculated by one of these two methods:

 

With the optional paper                                   Without the optional paper

 

Paper: 25%                                                   First Exam: 30%

First exam: 20%                                            Final Exam: 45%

Final exam: 30%                                           Attendance and Participation: 15%

Attendance and Participation: 15%                  Quizzes: 10%  

Quizzes: 10%                                               


CTI 325 • Morality And Politics

33955 • Stauffer, Dana
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM WAG 214
(also listed as GOV 351L)
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MORALITY AND POLITICS SPRING 2016

 

Do the ends justify the means? If they don’t, what does? When the moral and the expedient conflict, which one should you choose? Is revenge just? Is it a good idea? What, if any, are legitimate grounds for starting a war? Is it always better that the truth come out in politics? Should politicians keep their promises? Is loyalty to our friends and family more important than the common good? What is the relationship between moral virtue and both political success and personal happiness? We will examine the ways in which great thinkers both ancient and modern have grappled with these questions. About half of the course will be devoted to examining the arguments that political philosophers—Aristotle, Cicero, and Machiavelli—make about the role of morality in politics. We will spend the other half of the course examining moral dilemmas, and how various characters resolve them, in plays and novels by authors such as Sophocles, Euripides, Shakespeare, Addison, and Ibsen.

 

This course carries the Ethics and Leadership flag. Ethics and Leadership courses are designed to equip you with skills that are necessary for making ethical decisions in your adult and professional life. You should therefore expect a substantial portion of your grade to come from assignments involving ethical issues and the process of applying ethical reasoning to real-life situations.

 

 Required Texts:

 

1. Euripides II. By Euripides. Complete Greek Tragedies Series. University of Chicago.

 

2. Euripides IV. By Euripides. Complete Greek Tragedies Series. University of Chicago.

 

3. Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. By Aristotle. Translated by Robert C. Bartlett and Susan Collins. University of Chicago.

 

4. The Prince. By Niccolo Machiavelli. Translated by Harvey C. Mansfield. University of Chicago Press.

 

5. The Theban Plays. By Sophocles. Translated by Peter Ahrensdorf and Thomas L. Pangle. Agora.

 

6. Cato: A Tragedy and Selected Essays. By Joseph Addison. Edited by Christine Dunn Henderson and Mark E. Yellin. Liberty Fund.

 

7. Politics. By Aristotle. Translated by Ernest Barker. Oxford University Press.

 

8. Julius Caesar. By William Shakespeare. Bantam Classics.

 

9. Darkness at Noon. By Arthur Koestler. Bantam Books.

 

10. Ibsen: Four Major Plays, Volume II. By Henrik Ibsen. Signet Classics.

 

11. On Duties. By Marcus Tullius Cicero. Edited by M. T. Griffin and E. M. Atkins. Cambridge Texts.

 

Grading and Requirements:

 

First Exam: 30%

Second Exam:  30%

Paper: 30%

Class Participation, Including Pop Quizzes: 10%

 

Attendance is required.


CTI 326 • Structure Of Indiv Liberties

33960 • Jacobsohn, Gary
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM CLA 0.130
(also listed as GOV 357M)
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Gov 357 M – The Structure of Individual Liberties

 

The focus of this course is on the ways in which the Constitution protects individual rights as it accommodates the often competing claims of groups, communities, and the state. While the emphasis is on the United States Supreme Court, the class will also look at how other constitutional polities address similar issues.  We examine rights under the Constitution as they have evolved and been defined through judicial interpretation during periods of crisis and normalcy.  Some of the topics to be considered include: equal protection under law, substantive and procedural due process, freedoms of speech and religion, and privacy. Under these rubrics are to be found such issues as affirmative action, capital punishment, hate speech, property rights, abortion, and gender discrimination. Much of the reading is of Supreme Court opinions that highlight the politics of constitutional development.

 

1)    No prerequisites

2)    Hour Exam (30%), paper (30%), final exam (40%)

            

Texts:

Donald P. Kommers, John E. Finn, and Gary J. Jacobsohn. eds., AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW: LIBERTY, COMMUNITY, AND THE BILL OF RIGHTS (Vol. 2, 3rd ed.)

Michael Dorf., ed., CONSTITUTIONAL LAW STORIES

 

 

 

 

 


CTI 335 • Analytic Tradition

33965 • Bonevac, Daniel
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM CLA 0.106
(also listed as PHL 327)
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This course introduces analytic philosophy, the primary style of doing philosophy since roughly 1900 in the English-speaking world. We will examine some of the key thinkers and texts in that tradition and evaluate their arguments and theories.

Analytic philosophy focuses on themes and methods with a long philosophical history: Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes, Leibniz, Locke, Hume, Bentham, and Mill are all in a sense analytic philosophers. But the contemporary analytic tradition began with a rebellion against the idealism of Kant, Hegel, and other thinkers, which had dominated the 19th century.       Bertrand Russell used logical tools to undermine idealist accounts of mathematics, language, and logic while posing new philosophical puzzles. Ludwig Wittgenstein and the philosophers of the Vienna and Berlin Circles soon joined the attack. Russell defended realism, the view that some things are independent of mind, and developed comprehensive philosophical views. The Vienna Circle, in contrast, tended to think of philosophical problems as arising from misuses of language, and saw the analysis of language as the key to their solution. They took scientific language as their model. Hume was their hero. Metaphysics became a bad word, and epistemology became the philosophy of science. Ethics sank into disrepute.

Around mid-century, a group of philosophers centered at Oxford focused instead on natural language, and developed philosophical perspectives granting it center stage. Around the same time, Carl Hempel recounted the difficulties the philosophers of the Vienna Circle faced in making their ideas about meaningfulness precise. W. V. O. Quine began his attack on the central theses that Moore, Russell, and Vienna Circle thinkers shared. Wilfrid Sellars launched a more general assault against their atomism. Wittgenstein dramatically reshaped his earlier views on language.

Saul Kripke and David Lewis, finally, introduced ways of understanding necessity and normativity that brought basic questions of metaphysics back to the fore.

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing.


CTI 335 • Hist Christian Philosophy

33975 • Bonevac, Daniel
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM CLA 1.108
(also listed as PHL 354)
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Philosophy courses often jump from Aristotle to Descartes—a two-thousand-year gap—with hardly a word about what went on in between. This course fills in the gap.

From its beginnings in the words of Jesus and the letters of Paul, Christian thought has struggled with fundamental philosophical questions concerning the nature of God, the self, the world, and the good life.  Christianity arose from Judaism in a Hellenistic world.  Christian thinkers immediately began developing their theological views in the context of Greek philosophical thought.  Starting with Paul, and continuing through the Reformation, we’ll look at philosophical contributions of central thinkers of the Christian tradition.  Among the thinkers we’ll discuss are Tertullian, Origen, Athanasius, Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Luther, and Calvin.  We’ll focus on a variety of philosophical issues, falling into three main categories:

Ethics: What is virtue?  How do we tell right from wrong?  Can our conscience be our guide?  What does the Fall imply about ethical knowledge and conduct?  What is sin? What is weakness of will, and why do Christian thinkers from Paul onward consider it central?

Epistemology: How is it possible to know anything about God?  How should Christians interpret the Bible?  What epistemic authority does it have?  How does epistemic authority arise in religious matters, and how can it be transferred?  Are religious experience and testimony legitimate sources of religious knowledge?  What is the relationship between faith and reason?  To what extent are we capable of understanding God?

Metaphysics: Are there arguments for God’s existence?  What is God’s nature?  How can God be both three and one?  What is substance?  What are essences?  Are there forms or universals?  If so, what are they?  Did God create the universe?  If so, how?  Do human beings have free will?  Is freedom compatible with divine foreknowledge?

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing.


CTI 335 • Political Philo Of Rousseau

33969 • Gregg, Benjamin
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM MEZ 1.210
(also listed as GOV 335M)
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This seminar examines one of the most important and historically consequential contributors to the European Enlightenment: Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778). His political theory influenced the French elite that guided the French Revolution as well as the colonial elite that guided the American Revolution. Some of his work championed deeply modernist forms of subjectivity and introspection. In his writings he advocated the education of the whole person for citizenship. As a novelist, he contributed to the genre of the sentimental novel that encouraged the idea of human rights.

Our seminar begins with one of Rousseau’s central questions: For all of its obvious benefits, Western modernity has created at least as many problems as it has solved (the First and Second Discourses). We first examine Rousseau’s political answer (On the Social Contract), then his pedagogical response (Emile or On Education), and finally his “post-political” response (The Reveries of the Solitary Walker).

Texts to be purchased (to coordinate our work in seminar, please purchase these particular ISBNs): 

First and Second Discourses. 1964 [1750; 1754]. St. Martin’s. ISBN 978-0-312-694401

On the Social Contract.1978 [1756/1762]. St. Martin’s. ISBN 978-0-312-694463

Emile or On Education .1979 [1762]. Basic Books. ISBN 978-0-465-019311

The Reveries of the Solitary Walker.1979 [1782] Penguin. ISBN 9780140443639


CTI 335 • Regime Persp Amer Poltc-Honors

33970 • Tulis, Jeffrey
Meets T 3:30PM-6:30PM PAR 305
(also listed as GOV 379S, LAH 350)
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This is a seminar on American politics and culture.   Two purposes govern the selection of texts for the course and guide our discussion of them.  All of our texts attempt to look at American politics as a whole.  Most books and courses on America look at only a part, such as the Presidency, or elections, or popular culture.  Here we attempt to think about how the parts of America fit together.  Even when these texts speak about a part, for example an institution such as the presidency or the Congress, they present the topic from a vantage point on the whole polity.   To see the polity as a whole also means that we will have to revisit and rethink aspects of our political life that we take for granted – that we don’t examine because those parts have become so natural or familiar to us.  Seeing the polity whole enables us to render the familiar unfamiliar, to make what we take for granted strange and new.

To see the polity as a whole requires that we get some distance from our subject, much as to see the planet earth as a whole requires one to look at it from outer space.  Just as it is difficult to get visual perspective on a place living within it, it is difficult to understand the promise or pathologies of a regime from within.  To get critical distance from our politics, we will closely study three sets of texts that look at American politics from a distance.   The first part of the course will recover the perspective of the founding debate between Federalists and Anti-federalists.   This fundamental debate reveals what is a stake in the basic architecture of the American regime.  The second part of the course is a close study of Tocqueville’s Democracy in America.  Regarded by many as the best book ever written on democracy and the best book written on America, Tocqueville sees our polity whole because he looks at it from the vantage point of Europe, in general, and France, in particular.  In the third part of the seminar we think about American politics from the perspective of thoughtful commentators who feel only nominally included in the polity.   Half in and half out, these extraordinary black American writers reveal fissures and fault lines in the American regime.  We end the class with a discussion of America’s place in the world today – examining a speech by a writer who articulately raises challenges to our self-understanding that are inarticulately expressed today in rage and ranting from enemies of the United States.

Requirements:

Three take home analytic essays, chosen from a list of topics I provide, each weighted 25% of the course grade.  Late essays will not be accepted, except with a doctor’s excuse or a Dean’s excuse for family emergency.

OR as an option: you may write the two short essays (both together weighted 25%) and do a longer 15 page paper on a topic of your choice in consultation with me (weighted 50% of your course grade).   Government honors students who are thinking of doing an honors thesis next year may prefer this option to begin to develop research and writing skills for longer work.  Students who prefer this option will need to designate their preferred third short essay and have discussed with me a topic for their long paper by March 30. 

Texts:

The Federalist

Selected Anti-Federalist writings

Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Essays, speeches and articles by Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Dubois, Booker T. Washington, James Baldwin and Ralph Ellison


CTI 345 • Fictions Of The Self/Other

33985 • Wettlaufer, Alexandra
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM BEN 1.122
(also listed as C L 323, EUS 347, F C 349, WGS 345)
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Description:

In this course we will examine representative works from 19th and 20th-century French literature, from Balzac's Realism of the 1830s to Beckett's Theatre of the Absurd of the 1950s. We will consider literature in its relation to history, with special attention both to form and style in the development of narrative, prose poetry and avant-garde theatre. All students will be expected to give one in-class presentation on an aspect of French culture and history related to one of the works we are reading, and this presentation will be turned into a brief (5-7 page) paper. A final paper on a French novel from this period not included on the syllabus will be due the last day of class.

 

Grading/Assignments:

Class participation: 20%

In-class presentation: 20% Short paper: 25%

Final paper: 35%

 

Texts:

Balzac, Old Goriot Baudelaire, Spleen de Paris Flaubert, Madame Bovary Proust, Swann 's Way Colette, The Vagabonde

Camus, Exile and the Kingdom

Sartre, No Exit

Becket, Waiting for Godot


CTI 345 • Satan And The Idea Of Evil

33980 • Lang, Elon
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM MEZ 1.216
(also listed as R S 357)
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Description:

Since antiquity, writers have attempted to understand and define the idea of evil by giving it a voice. From the perspective of the Devil, some of the world's greatest creative thinkers have sought to challenge the intellectual resolve and rigor of their faiths while encouraging their characters and audiences to query the strength and doctrine of their own beliefs. As a result, through temptation narratives, morality dramas, cultural satires, and Faustian dilemmas, explorations of “the Adversary” have yielded some of the most compelling stories and characters ever imagined. In this course students will become familiar with the history and breadth of Satan’s role as a character (or merely background presence) in literature while developing close-reading techniques for literary analysis that can be applied across diverse eras, forms, and genres. Students will be asked to strengthen their critical reading and writing skills and to consider how our class topic can help illuminate aspects of our present-day culture and its history. Students will also attend a performance of the contemporary play, Let the Right One In, by the National Theater of Scotland and participate in a public question and answer session with the actors.

 

Texts:

  • Required readings will be drawn from several periods of English and American literature and European literature in translation. Specifically, texts may include selections from:
  • The Bible
  • Virgil’s Aeneid
  • Medieval English poetry, drama, and mystical writing
  • Dante's Inferno
  • Marlowe's Dr. Faustus
  • Goethe’s Faust
  • Milton's Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained
  • William Blake's Marriage of Heaven and Hell
  • Charles Baudelaire's Fleurs du Mal
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown
  • James Hogg’s Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner
  • Mark Twain's No. 44—The Mysterious Stranger
  • C. S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters
  • David Grieg’s The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart
  • Jack Thorne and John Ajvide Lindqvist, Let the Right One In (play)

 

Students' final projects may involve the analysis of another modern novel, the development of a creative exploration of Satan’s nature, or a detailed comparative analysis of themes across several texts in our class.

 

Assignments and their weights*:

Class-participation, attendance, response papers, and online discussions (20%)

1 long final paper or creative project (20%)

4 short essays plus at least 1 revision (60%)

 

*Grading Policy: participation assignments and essay drafts are graded on the basis of completion, revision grades replace original grades when applicable, and essays are assigned point values based on their relative weight in the overall course total (e.g. for a short essay worth 15% of the final grade, an “A” essay will receive either 14 or 15 points, a “B” will receive either 12 or 13, etc.). 100 total points are possible for the course.


CTI 350 • Masterworks Of World Drama

33990 • Biow, Douglas
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM CAL 21
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This course will examine a variety of “masterworks” of drama.  We begin, briefly, with two examples of tragedy and comedy from antiquity.  We then turn to various genres of Shakespearean drama: romance, comedy, and tragedy in particular, along with the rather new genre of the history play. Finally, we close with some experimental dramas of the modern—and particularly modernist—period.  Special emphasis will be placed on performing close readings of the plays and examining various issues related to identity formation, gender, genre, rhetoric, ethics, justice, and leadership.  We will read roughly a play per week.  The last two weeks will be devoted to a play or two plays that the students select to explore in class. 

 


CTI 350 • Masterworks Of World Drama

33994 • Patterson, James
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM WAG 308
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Masterworks of World Drama: Leadership and Moral Character

            Drama—whether the theater of 5th c. BCE Athens or 21st century CE television and film—invites its audience to explore questions of real ethical, psychological, and political significance. Drama does not usually provide explicit answers to the questions it poses; rather, it challenges us to acknowledge the complexity of situations and—as frustrating as it often is to do—reconsider our natural instinct to see conflict simply as a matter of an unambiguous right versus an unambiguous wrong. The real world is rarely this simple. But drama gives us the opportunity to explore these issues in a safe setting momentarily removed from the world around us.

            The explicit topic of this course is moral character in the context of leadership, where what constitutes “moral character” is often culturally (and sometimes contextually) determined. We will compare dramatic portrayals of successful and failed leaders (for instance, Shakespeare’s Henry V and Macbeth, respectively), and we will ask what to make of leaders who succeed but do so with questionable character (for instance, the Odysseus of Sophocles’ Philoctetes). However, we will focus above all on dramatic portrayals of different ethical systems—and thus different conceptions of moral character—that inform the behaviors of leaders, especially in instances when competing worldviews meet and conflict. For instance, we will observe the contention between competing socio-political views in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar; we will examine how conflict unfolds when civic and familial values meet in the mythological world of Sophocles’ Antigone and the real world of Nazi Germany in which Brecht set his version of the same play; and we will see what happens when political and religious duties are pit against each other, as in Euripides’ Bacchae and Ibsen’s Emperor and Galilean. In many instances, we will find that no side is necessarily right or necessarily wrong, as in Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan and Gilbert & Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance.

            So, how should one lead in any given situation? What reasonably (and unreasonably) informs a leader’s decisions? To what degree must a leader understand the context in which he or she acts? These are a few questions our plays this semester will ask us to consider. As we proceed, we will examine similar questions in the actual social, political, martial, and religious world in which we live today.

            Your grade in the course will be determined by participation (10%), four written assignments (50%), a dramatic performance (10%), and two exams (30%). 


CTI 375 • French Revolution And Napoleon

34005 • Coffin, Judith
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM JGB 2.218
(also listed as EUS 346, HIS 353)
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The Revolution and its Napoleonic sequel are among the most extraordinary events of modern times. Historians, politicians, and social theorists have studied and debated them for over two centuries but still not answered the many questions they pose. Why does a regime collapse? How is a new state built? Are revolutions necessarily protracted and violent? The human drama of this  tumultuous time is no less compelling. How did ordinary people survive? How were extraordinary careers made – and ended?

In this course we’ll use the French revolution to think about all these questions concretely. We have three aims. The first is to help you master the major events of the revolution itself. The second is to introduce issues of interpretation and historical methods, for the French revolution has long been a forcing ground for new theories of history and new approaches to the past. The required readings represent some of those approaches. Third, we hope you will learn how the revolution has become one of the defining points of modern history, and how it has shaped the world we inhabit today.

William Doyle, The French Revolution: A Very Short Introduction

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract

Lynn Hunt, ed. The French Revolution and Human Rights.

Timothy Tackett, When the King Took Flight

David Bell, The First Total War

Robert Darnton, The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History.

3 4-page take home papers (30% each)

various in-class assignments and quizzes. (10%)


CTI 375 • Jewish Mystical Thought

34009 • Schofer, Jonathan
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM CLA 0.108
(also listed as C L 323, J S 363, R S 357)
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Description:

This class explores mysticism, intimate and intense contact with or knowledge of the divine, in the writings of Judaism.  We will consider how mysticism was practiced and understood over the history of Judaism from the medieval period to the present day, and its social, political, and religious significance.  We will begin in the 20th century, when both scholars and Jewish communities asserted that the practice of mysticism is crucial to understand and to integrate into Jewish vitality.  From these modern proponents of both the study and practice of mysticism, we will turn to the canonical work of Kabbalah, the Zohar of medieval Spain, with attention both to its earlier roots and inspiration, and to its own distinct claims regarding the cosmos and regarding sacred history.  The rest of the course will address the ramifications of the Zohar, its influence in Europe and the Middle East, back to the present. Throughout the class, we will consider the relation between mystical writing, communities that cultivate mysticism, and the individuals that convey mystical experience.

 

Texts: 

  • Martin Buber, Hasidism and Modern Man
  • Martin Buber, Tales of the Hasidim
  • Moshe Idel, Kabbalah: New Perspectives
  • Moshe Idel, Hasidism: Between Ecstasy and Magic
  • Zohar: Pritzker Edition, Volume 1 (translated by Daniel Matt)

 

Grading Policy:

  • Three short papers, 2 pages each; each 15% of the course grade (45% total)
  • Midterm exam, closed-book, in-class (25%)
  • Final Exam, closed book, in-class (15%)
  • Class Participation (15%)