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

CTI 302 • Classics Of Socl/Polit Thou

33330 • Dempsey, Erik
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM WAG 208
(also listed as GOV 314)
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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. 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 human mental faculties in The Descent of Man, 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.

We will read selections from the following works:

  • Plato The Republic, The Symposium 
  • St. Augustine: The Confessions, City of God 
  • Hobbes The Leviathan 
  • Rousseau Discourse on the Origin of Inequality
  • Nietzsche Beyond Good and Evil
  • Darwin The Descent of Man 
  • Freud Civilization and its Discontents
  • And selected articles on evolutionary psychology


CTI 302 • Classics Of Socl/Polit Thou

33340 • Dempsey, Erik
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM GAR 0.128
(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. 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 human mental faculties in The Descent of Man, 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.

We will read selections from the following works:

  • Plato The Republic, The Symposium 
  • St. Augustine: The Confessions, City of God 
  • Hobbes The Leviathan 
  • Rousseau Discourse on the Origin of Inequality
  • Nietzsche Beyond Good and Evil
  • Darwin The Descent of Man 
  • Freud Civilization and its Discontents
  • And selected articles on evolutionary psychology


CTI 302 • Classics Of Socl/Polit Thou

33345 • Wensveen, Jonathan
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM MEZ 1.210
(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. 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 human mental faculties in The Descent of Man, 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.

We will read selections from the following works:

  • Plato The Republic, The Symposium 
  • St. Augustine: The Confessions, City of God 
  • Hobbes The Leviathan 
  • Rousseau Discourse on the Origin of Inequality
  • Nietzsche Beyond Good and Evil
  • Darwin The Descent of Man 
  • Freud Civilization and its Discontents
  • And selected articles on evolutionary psychology


CTI 302 • Classics Of Socl/Polit Thou

33335 • Siddiqi, Ahmed
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM BEN 1.124
(also listed as GOV 314)
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This class is a study of classic texts in the history of political economy. The basic aim of this course is to investigate questions about economics from a political point of view. This is not a class in economic theory, but one that attempts to achieve a broader perspective on how economic questions are resolved. We will approach this problem through the study of the great books. The texts that we will study are among the greatest and most influential ever to address these subjects. These books contain insights of permanent importance that can help us understand our history, but which are also of direct relevance for the way we understand our own society today. They do not take for granted that maximal economic prosperity is always the highest goal. Rather, they try to see the implications of different ways of dealing with economic issues for society as a whole. Though prosperity is one of society’s goals, it is not the only one. In this course, we will consider other goals of the community as well, including the inculcation of virtue, the protection of freedom and equality, the cultivation of religion, and adherence to the moral law. We will see how the answers to economic questions also matter for these goals.


The approach in this class will be roughly chronological. We will begin by studying how classical and medieval thinkers addressed the problems of political economy. We will then explore at length the development of the capitalist economy, and the political, moral, and cultural changes that accompanied it, by studying the works of Locke, Montesquieu, and Adam Smith. The course will finish with an examination of some of the works examining the modern economy. We will treat first Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Discourses, with their sharp critiques of bourgeois society. Then we will read Karl Marx’s famous critique of capitalism and his prediction that it would be superseded by a communist social and political order. We will close by looking at the key 20th Century debates about the market and whether it can persist in its current form absent some radical political change. This will include a treatment of the debate between John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich Hayek concerning the causes of the Great Depression.    

CTI 304 • Judaism, Christianity, & Islam

33355 • Smith, Geoffrey
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM RLM 6.104
(also listed as HIS 304R, ISL 311, J S 311, R S 304)
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This course will focus on the three related traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, which originated in the "near east" and today have a global reach.  These religions are sometimes called "Abrahamic traditions" as they all claim a special relationship with the Biblical figure, Abraham.  We will explore the historical development, belief systems, practices, sacred texts, and cultural influences of these three traditions, independently and in relation to each other.  by the end of the course, you can expect to have a basic understanding pf the essential characteristics of each tradition and the way they manifest in different cultural contexts in the past and present.  This class will also 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.  These methods include, but are not limited d to: historical methods, the study of ritual, and the analysis of ideas. 

CTI 304 • The Bible & Its Interpreters

33360 • Landau, Brent
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM 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 but poorly known 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 (part of the larger ancient Jewish work known as 1 Enoch); the “reversal” of Genesis’s creation story found in the Gnostic Christian writing Apocryphon of John; and the use of Genesis narratives in the Quran, the foundational scripture of Islam. Significant attention will also be given to ethical issues arising from the text and interpretation of Genesis.

CTI 304 • The Bible & Its Interpreters

33375 • Yoo, Philip
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM WAG 208
(also listed as R S 315)
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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.



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, Rabbinic Literature, Qur’anic Literature, Maimonides, Augustine, Luther, Spinoza, Mendelsohn, Kierkegaard, and others.



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

33370 • Fitzgerald, Ryan
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM CLA 0.118
(also listed as R S 315)
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This course examines some of the most influential narratives in the Bible and how they have been interpreted through history. The main theme of the course will be relationships. What kinds of readings of the Bible have influenced relationships between women and men historically? What kinds of readings have determined policies on racial or gender segregation? How have biblical interpretations affected national agendas? How do people use the Bible to relate to a particular version of the divine? This course will attend to the ways that thinkers through history have used the Bible and its interpreters to guide philosophies about relationships between men and women, self and “other,” and human and divine. Reading the varieties of these interpretations will give students a general understanding of both how biblical texts were written and how their significances changed over time. This course will make efforts to highlight the contributions to biblical interpretation made by historically marginalized demographics, at times at the expense of more famous interpreters. As such, along with traditionally valorized biblical figures like Abraham, Jacob, David, and Jesus, we will read the stories of strong women like Hagar, Tamar, and the Syrophoenician woman. Likewise, in addition to some of the most influential interpreters of the Bible such as Augustus, Thomas Aquinas, and Martin Luther, we will study contributions made by female pioneers in biblical interpretation such as Julian of Norwich, Angelina Grimké, and Mary Baker Eddy, as well as interpretations from various non-European perspectives. This balance aims to give students both some familiarity with some of the dominant currents of narrative and interpretation while including other perspectives that have too often gone unheard. 


Required texts

The New Oxford Annotated Bible, Fully Revised Fourth Edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010) or The HarperCollins Study Bible, Fully Revised and Updated (San Francisco, CA: HarperCollins Publishers, 2006). If you have neither, get the Oxford Bible.  Course packet 



Reading Reports (6) 20%

Short essays (2) 20%

Final essay draft 15%

Final essay 25%

Movie analysis 10%

Attendance 10% 

CTI 310 • Ancient Philosophy

33380 • Assaturian, Sosseh
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM BEN 1.126
(also listed as C C 304C, PHL 301K)
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The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition,” Alfred North Whitehead once wrote, “is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.” The Republic is not only one of Plato’s richest dialogues, but one of his most influential. In it, the reader confronts some of the most fundamental philosophical questions:

- What can we really know?

- How is knowledge different from belief?

- What does a just society look like and who should be in charge?

- Is fate real? If it is, how can we be responsible for anything? 

- How should we live?

In this course, we will focus on Plato’s answers to these and other questions in the Republic. Along the way, we’ll take occasional stops to look at different and dissenting responses to these questions from other figures in ancient and Hellenistic philosophy, such as Heraclitus, Aristotle, the Sceptics, the Stoics, and some of the so-called Sophists.

To goal of this course is to introduce students to philosophy and the study of arguments by practicing extracting, interpreting, and evaluating philosophical arguments that are situated in difficult sources. While these arguments may, at first, seem mysterious, they represent the origins of the western philosophical tradition and help us understand the trajectory of this tradition into today. By forcing us to confront and understand difficult texts from a context that is very different from our own, study of ancient philosophy deepens both the care with which we read and the depth with which we listen and empathize.

CTI 310 • History Of Religions Of Asia

33385 • Brereton, Joel
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM UTC 3.102
(also listed as ANS 301R, R S 302)
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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. Part of the course, therefore, 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 originated in Asia, have large numbers of adherents, possess particular historical significance, and represent different cultural areas. By the end of the course, students will have a understanding of the basic histories and orientations of these religious traditions.

Written assignments comprise four interpretive essays on primary texts assigned in the course and two exams. 

Principal required texts:

Willard Oxtoby, Roy Amore, (and Amir Hussain), World Religions: Eastern Traditions (3rd or 4th ed.). Oxford.
R.K. Narayan, tr., The Rāmāyaṇa. Penguin.
Patrick Olivelle, tr., The Buddhacarita: Life of the Buddha (posted on Canvas)
Burton Watson, tr., Zhuangzi: Basic Writings. Columbia. [=B. Watson, Chuang Tzu: Basic Writings]
Hiroaki Sato, tr., Basho's Narrow Road: Spring and Autumn Passages. Stone Bridge.

There will also be additional short readings to be posted on Canvas.

download syllabus

CTI 310 • Intro To Philos Of Religion

33405 • Martinich, Aloysius
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM CLA 0.106
(also listed as PHL 305, R S 305)
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This course investigates four different attitudes that have been held about the relation of humans to God. First is an ancient view according to which God's existence is presupposed and all events are interpreted as expressions of God's will. Second is a medieval view according to which the existence of God and his various attributes are suitable subjects for proof and argument. Third is a modern view according to which God exists but little is known about him through reasoning. Fourth is a contemporary view according to which God is assumed not to exist, and it is asked whether anything has any value and whether human life has a meaning. Although the course is divided historically, our goal will be to identify what is true or false, rational or not rational about the views expressed in each.

CTI 310 • Left And Right In America

33389 • Moench, B.
Meets MWF 4:00PM-5:00PM BEN 1.124
(also listed as AMS 311S)
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Is the United States a “liberal society”—why or why not? This course will examine the philosophical origins of contemporary American political culture and retrace the country’s often contradictory relationship with liberal philosophy.

      American political culture produces ethical constructs—such as “the personal is political or “government is the problem, not the solution—which guide one’s perceptions of political events and historical causation. Together we will excavate the intellectual history behind the ethical frameworks of American politics and search for the causes of the country’s current political divide. In 2004, Barack Obama, then a candidate for the US Senate, proclaimed there was not “a Liberal America” and a “Conservative America” but “one United States of America.” What was Obama referring to? Are there underlying agreements in American political culture that reach across both the left and right? This course will address this debate by examining the political and ethical commitments behind the core texts of America’s past and present.     

possible texts:

A course pack will be assigned that includes short selections from John Locke, Adam Smith, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Bernard-Henri Levy, Malcolm X, and Ronald Reagan.



Attendance: 5 percent

Participation: 5 percent

Research summary papers: 15 percent

Mid-term paper: 30 percent

Final paper: 35 percent           

CTI 310 • The Rise Of Christianity

33390 • White, L
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM FAC 21
(also listed as C C 318, J S 311, R S 318)
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Topic 3 - The Rise of Christianity  is an introduction to the origins and development of Christianity.

CTI 310 • Western Civ In Medieval Times

33395 • Kaufman, Cheryl
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM BUR 136
(also listed as AHC 310, HIS 309K)
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This course offers an introductory survey of Medieval Western European history, from about 300 to 1500 C.E.  Although primary 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. There are no prerequisites for this class or prior knowledge of European history.


Required Texts: 

Rosenwein, Barbara, A Short History of the Middle Ages

(2014 single 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)


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 310 • Western Civ In Modern Times

33400 • Vaughn, James
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM JGB 2.218
(also listed as HIS 309L)
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This lecture course surveys the history of the West and its overseas expansion from the later Middle Ages to the present.  The central theme of this survey is the emergence and development of modernity in this world region.  We will examine the origins and evolution of capitalism, the centralized state, the Westphalian state system, secularization, civil society, industrialization, urbanization, imperialism, and mass democracy.

Book for the course:
Joshua Cole and Carol Symes, Western Civilizations: Their History and Their Culture, Eighteenth Edition, Volume 2 (New York, 2014).

Grading policy:
1. Attendance -- 10% of grade.
2. First mid-term essay exam -- 25% of grade.
3. Second mid-term essay exam -- 25% of grade.
4. Final essay exam -- 40% of grade.

CTI 325 • Morality And Politics

33410 • Stauffer, Dana
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM CLA 0.112
(also listed as GOV 351L)
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Do the ends justify the means? If they don’t, what does? 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 two great political philosophers, Aristotle 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.


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

33420 • Jacobsohn, Gary
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM MEZ 2.124
(also listed as GOV 357M)
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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. 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. If it is important to defend a right  -- for example, privacy – against the intrusive reach of the state, must all rights be so defended with equal vigilance?  Is there a principled way to distinguish among rights, say between speech and the right to bear arms, such that the Court would be justified in treating them differently as far as a constitutional defense is concerned?  By the end of the course students should have an informed judgment on such questions, which is to say, on the role of the Supreme Court in contemporary American politics.  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


                                RIGHTS (Vol. 2, 3rd ed.)



CTI 345 • Dante

33430 • Raffa, Guy
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM HRH 2.112
(also listed as E 366D, EUS 347, ITC 349)
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Dante: Spring 2018

ITC 349, same as E 366D, crosslisted with EUS 347 and CTI 345

TTH 12:30-2 in HRH 2.112

Professor Guy Raffa, Dept. of French and Italian

Office Hours: TTH 10-11 in HRH 3.104A

E-mail:; Home Page:

The Divine Comedy offers a remarkable panorama of the late Middle Ages through one man's poetic vision of the afterlife. However, we continue to read and study the poem not only to learn about the thought and culture of medieval and early modern Europe but also because many of the issues confronting Dante and his age are no less important to individuals and societies today. Personal and civic responsibilities, governmental accountability, church-state relations, economics and social justice, Dante's influence on artists and other writers, benefits and limitations of interdisciplinarity—these are some of the themes that will frame our discussion of the Divine Comedy. Although you will read the poem in English, a bilingual edition will enable you to study and learn famous lines in the original Italian. The course is taught in English and contains flags for Writing and Global Cultures.

Danteworlds ( In addition to detailed entries, audio recordings, and study questions, this Web site contains hundreds of images from works by Sandro Botticelli, an anonymous 16th-century artist, John Flaxman, William Blake, Gustave Dorè, and Suloni Robertson.

Through close reading, class discussion, and the use of Danteworlds, you are expected to identify and explain the significance of major characters, references, and ideas in Dante's Divine Comedy (Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise) and Vita Nuova. You will be tested on this ability in responses to study questions (a low-stakes writing assignment) and two in-class exams. An essay, which you will rewrite and expand based on my feedback, will assess your ability to support an interpretation of a specific aspect of Dante's poetry with detailed textual analysis and scholarly research. A peer-editing activity will help you to revise and edit your own work. I expect you to have read the assigned cantos and reviewed the corresponding material in Danteworlds (including the study questions) before class.

Required Texts: (you must use the editions of these texts ordered for the class)

            Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso (Trans. Allen Mandelbaum); Vita Nuova (Trans. Barbara Reynolds)

Recommended Text (also ordered for this class): The Complete Danteworlds: A Reader's Guide to the "Divine Comedy" (Raffa)

Canvas: We will use the CANVAS learning management system to organize and provide course content on-line. When you log in to Canvas ( and select the course, you will have access to the syllabus, assignments, lecture presentations, grades, and a discussion forum. You will be required to submit most assignments on-line using Canvas. For assistance, consult the student tutorials ( or contact support staff (

Assignments and Computation of Grade:

10%: 1500-word essay on the Inferno (credit for successful completion)

25%: Rewrite and expansion of this essay incorporating scholarly research (graded)

5%:   Annotated bibliography of research sources (credit for successful completion)

5%:   Peer-review (credit for successful completion)

10%: Responses to study questions in Canvas Discussion Forum (credit for successful completion)

30%: Two in-class examinations  (graded: 15% each)

15%: Classwork and participation

Attendance Policy: Your attendance, which obviously influences your classwork and participation grade, is expected at all class meetings. You are expected to arrive on time to class and to stay for the entire lesson. Repeated late arrivals to—or early departures from—will count as absences. For every class that you miss (for whatever reason) after the fifth absence, your classwork and participation grade (on a 100-point scale) will be reduced by 5 points.

Late Work: Late work will lose a full letter grade for each day it is late except in the case of documented emergencies (e.g., serious illness, death in the family), religious holidays (see university policy below), or university-sponsored events (with prior notification).

Writing Flag: This course carries the Writing Flag. Writing Flag courses are designed to give students experience with writing in an academic discipline. In this class, you can expect to write regularly during the semester, complete substantial writing projects, and receive feedback from your instructor to help you improve your writing. You will also have the opportunity to revise one or more assignments, and you may be asked to read and discuss your peers’ work. You should therefore expect a substantial portion of your grade to come from your written work. Writing Flag classes meet the Core Communications objectives of Critical Thinking, Communication, Teamwork, and Personal Responsibility, established by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

Global Cultures Flag: This course carries the Global Cultures flag. Global Cultures courses are designed to increase your familiarity with cultural groups outside the United States. You should therefore expect a substantial portion of your grade to come from assignments covering the practices, beliefs, and histories of at least one non-U.S. cultural group, past or present.    

Grading and Plagiarism: All graded assignments will be marked on a 100 point scale and converted to letter grades consistent with university policy:

 A (94-100) = 4.0, A- (90-93) = 3.67, B+ (88-89) = 3.3, B (84-87) = 3.0, B- (80-83) = 2.67, C+ (78-79) = 2.3, C (74-77) = 2.0, C- (70-73) = 1.67, D+ (68-69) = 1.3, D (64-67) = 1.0, D- (60-63) = 0.67, F (below 60) = 0.0

Plagiarism, intentional or not, will result in an automatic F on the assignment—the numerical grade (0-59) depending on the extent of the plagiarism and the quality of the non-plagiarized portion of the essay—as well as possible disciplinary action. For the definition of plagiarism and the University's policy on it, see:

Writing Center: For questions and feedback on writing, you are encouraged to meet with consultants at the Undergraduate Writing Center (PCL 2.330; for appointments and information, see call 471-6222).

All cell phones, tablets, laptops, and similar electronic devices must be turned off (or put in airport mode) and put away during class except if the instructor grants permission to use them for specific activities. Students who use devices in class without permission will be marked absent.


CTI 345 • Satan And The Idea Of Evil

33435 • Lang, Elon
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM PAR 308
(also listed as R S 357)
show description

Course 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.


Required readings

Readings will be drawn from several periods of English and American literature, and European literature in translation. We will read selections from the Bible, Medieval 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, 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, and the early 21st-century novel by Glen Duncan titled I, Lucifer. 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.


Requirements and Grading

Class participation and online discussions (20%)

1 long final paper or creative project (20%)

4 short papers plus 1 revision (60%)

CTI 345 • War/Revolutn In Rus Lit/Cul

33440 • Pesenson, Michael
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM GEA 127
(also listed as C L 323, REE 325)
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Course Description

 This exciting course explores Russian literary and cinematic responses to the ravages of war and revolution, heroic and bloody conflicts that repeatedly devastated the country throughout its long and tumultuous history. We will read a variety of texts dealing with the Napoleonic invasion, the Caucasus campaign, the Revolution of 1917, the Civil War, World War II, the Cold War, the Afghan War, and the present-day conflict in Chechnya, and explore how individual writers portrayed the calamity of war and its devastating effect on people’s lives, while expressing hope for ever-elusive peace and universal brotherhood. All readings and discussion will be English. All films will be screened with English subtitles.



  1. L. Tolstoy, Hadji Murad
  2. L. Tolstoy, War and Peace
  3. M. Bulgakov, White Guard
  4. I. Babel, Red Cavalry
  5. V. Grossman, Life and Fate
  6. V. Pelevin, Omon Ra
  7. Selections from journalistic accounts of A. Borovik and A. Politkovskaya on wars in Chechnya and Afghanistan

CTI 350 • Masterworks Of World Drama

33445 • Woodruff, Paul
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM WAG 308
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CTI 350 Masterworks of World Drama


Paul Woodruff



Wherever there are humans, there is theater.  We all love to watch each other perform, and most of us like to have an audience, starting in early childhood. A play does not need to be a masterpiece to be richly rewarding for performers and audience alike.  But the masterpieces have staying power; plays written 2500 years ago can still be thrilling.  In this course we will read a play or scenes from a play every week, starting with the earliest ancient Greek dramas.  We will read from Shakespeare, Moliere, Chekhov, Eugene O’Neill, Beckett, Stoppard, and classics from both China and South Asia.  We will end with a recent winner of the Pulitzer Prize, “Ruined,” by Lynn Nottage, a disturbing and life-affirming drama about women surviving civil war by taking shelter as workers in a brothel.  Toward the end of the semester, all students will be involved in performing scenes from plays they choose to work on; they won’t all have to act, as there are many ways to participate in this.  But theater is a performance art.  Putting on a few scenes will be fun; it will also help us appreciate this wonderful art form.   


The Professor  

Paul Woodruff has written plays and opera libretti.  He has also translated a number of Greek plays.  His book, The Necessity of Theater, is widely read.  He is best known, however, for his work in ancient philosophy and in ethics. 


Requirements and grading  

Ten very short papers (five points each); one longer paper to be revised during the semester (15 points), active participation (ten points), two brief exams with essay questions given out in advance (10 points each), self-evaluation (5 points for completion).     



CTI 350 • Masterworks Of World Drama

33450 • Patterson, James
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM WAG 308
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Course Description

            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 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.


Required Texts

Shakespeare, Henry V; Julius Caesar; Macbeth

Euripides, The Bacchae and Other Plays

Sophocles, The Three Theban Plays; Four Tragedies

Antigone: in a Version by Bertolt Brecht

Bernard Shaw, Saint Joan

Ibsen, Emperor and Galilean

Aristophanes, Acharnians, Lysistrata, Clouds

Gilbert & Sullivan, Pirates of Penzance



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

CTI 370 • Bio, Behavior, & Injustice

33455 • Martinez, Alberto
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM MEZ B0.306
(also listed as HIS 366N)
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This course explores interesting episodes in the history of science, focusing on questions about what aspects of human behavior are essentially determined by biological factors rather than by experiences and society. Changing beliefs about what is natural have affected how some people are treated, so we will discuss the social consequences of such notions. The course will include the following topics: theories of race, Darwin’s works, evolution in schools and U.S. courts, American eugenics and Nazi science, differences between women and men, IQ testing, the controversy about DNA and Rosalind Franklin, studies of twins separated at birth, genetic engineering, ethical issues on cloning animals and humans, biotechnology, designer babies, biology in forensic science. This is a lecture course, with participation encouraged.

This course fulfills a College of Liberal Arts Science Component: Alternative Science & Technology course.

Some readings are in the Course Packet, required, which will be available at Jenn’s Copy & Binding, 2518 Guadalupe St. There are no readings at the Libraries, on reserve, instead, all other readings will be available online through the UT Libraries website or on Blackboard:

Some of the readings: Francis Galton, "Comparative Worth of Races," in Hereditary Genius (1869). Charles Darwin, Descent of Man (1871), "On the Races of Man," and “Sexual Differences." Cesare Lombroso, Criminal Man (1st ed. 1876). Lombroso, The Female Offender (1895). Julien Offray de La Mettrie, Man a Machine (1748). Francis Galton, "Eugenics: Its Definition, Scope and Aims" (1904). Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene (1976).

First exam 20%, Midterm Exam 20%, Final Exam 30%, Quizzes 20%, Attendance 10%

CTI 372 • Darwin & Politics Of Evolution

33460 • Prindle, David
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM PAR 301
(also listed as GOV 353D)
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Purpose of the Course


            Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, generally shortened to The Origin of Species, is one of the two or three most influential science books ever published.  But unlike the case with other science books, The Origin, published in 1859, is also of profound political importance.  Part of this political importance—the implications of Darwin's theory for religious explanations of the diversity of life—is well understood by all socially-aware citizens.  But there is much less awareness of the political implications of controversies within the science of evolutionary biology founded by Darwin.

     In this class I will explicate and explore both the "outside" and "inside" political implications of the science launched by the Origin, and ask the students to evaluate them.


 Assigned Reading


1)  Charles Darwin,  The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, first edition,

      (Barnes and Noble Classics, 2004) [first published 1859]

2)  Jerry Coyne, Why Evolution is True  (Viking, 2009)

3)  Phillip Johnson, Darwin on Trial, second edition, (InterVarsity Press, 1993)

4)  David Prindle, Stephen Jay Gould and the Politics of Evolution  (Prometheus Books,


5)  A package of readings, available online.


 Grading Criteria


        There are three assignments due in this class. I may make some minor adjustments in a few of the final grades to reflect excellent class participation, but in general, each of the three assignments counts one-third of the final grade.

        For your three assignments, you may choose to write two essays and take one test, or take two tests and write one essay.  It is up to you to decide how you mix the tests and essays, and in what order you choose to do them.  You may not, however, "load up" by turning in an essay at the same time that you take a test, thus getting two‑thirds of the assignments out of the way on the same day.

            At the end of the semester, an average of 92.3 or higher will earn an "A,", 90 to 92 will earn an “A-,” 88 to 89.7 will earn a “B+,” 82.3 to 87.7 will earn a "B," 80 to 82 will earn a "B-," 78 to 79.7 will earn a "C+," 62.3 to 77.7 will earn a "C," 60 to 62 will earn a "C-," and 50 to 59.7 will earn a "D."  People who have missed one or more of the three assignments, or who average below 50, will receive an “F.” 



            Student are able to enroll in this class through two channels.  First, Government majors who are eligible for upper-division standing may enroll through the usual departmental processes.  Second, students who are participating in the Thomas Jefferson Center’s “great books” program (officially, CTI in the catalogue), may enroll in the class through that program.







CTI 375 • Christian Quest For Meaning

33464 • Landau, Brent
Meets TTH 8:00AM-9:30AM CLA 0.122
(also listed as R S 357)
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From the first century through the present day, Christians have reflected on and debated what it means to live a Christian life. What is the significance of Jesus' life and death for the community of believers? What is the proper way to find guidance in sacred writings? What must a person do to be considered righteous in God's eyes? What is the ideal way way to conduct one's daily life? What are the requirements for participation or leadership in a Christian community? Do gender, racial, sexual, or class differences matter? What responsibilities does a Christian have regarding broader society, and what relationship should one have toward political authorities? Under what circumstances is it necessary to suffer or die for one's faith? These and related questions will be explored by reading and discussing selections from Christian writers from the New Testament, late antiquity, the middle ages, the Reformation, and modernity.

CTI 375 • Enlightenment/Revolution

33495 • Vaughn, James
Meets TH 5:00PM-8:00PM GAR 3.116
(also listed as EUS 346, HIS 350L)
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This course examines seminal texts and significant episodes in the intellectual and political history of Western Europe and its Atlantic colonies during the later seventeenth, eighteenth, and early nineteenth centuries.  In doing so, the seminar aims to understand the intellectual and cultural revolution known as the Enlightenment as well as the relationship between it and the political revolutions of the period, particularly the English Revolution of the mid-seventeenth century (c. 1640-1660), the Glorious Revolution of 1688-1689, the American Revolution of 1775-1783, the French Revolution of 1789-1815, and the Haitian Revolution of 1791-1804.

Books for the course:
1. Margaret C. Jacob, ed., The Enlightenment: A Brief History with Documents (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2001).
2. Gordon S. Wood, The American Revolution: A History (Modern Library, 2003).
3. William Doyle, The French Revolution: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2001).
4. Lynn Hunt, ed., The French Revolution and Human Rights: A Brief Documentary History (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 1996).
5. John Locke, Second Treatise of Government, ed. C. B. Macpherson (Hackett, 1980).
6. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, trans. Donald A. Cress (Hackett, 1992).
7. Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, The Barber of Seville and The Marriage of Figaro, trans. John Wood (Penguin, 2004).

Grading policy:
1. Class attendance and participation -- 20% of grade.
2. Weekly reading responses -- 15% of grade.
3. Mid-term essay -- 25% of grade.
4. Term paper -- 40% of grade.

CTI 375 • French Revolution And Napoleon

33475 • Coffin, Judith
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM JGB 2.218
(also listed as EUS 346, HIS 353)
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In the 1950s, the Chinese Premier Zhou En-Lai was asked what he thought about the French revolution of 1789. He answered that was “too soon to tell.”  Historians, social scientists, and politicians have studied and debated this extraordinary event for two centuries, and they still not answered the many questions it poses. Why does a regime collapse? How is a new state built? Are revolutions necessarily protracted and violent? Writers and artists, too, have been captivated by the human drama of this tumultuous decade and a half. How did ordinary people survive? How were extraordinary careers made – and lost?

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.


Rousseau, The Social Contract

William Doyle, The French Revolution: A Very Short History

Timothy Tackett, When the King Took Flight

Timothy Tackett, The Coming of the Terror in the French Revolution

David Bell, Napoleon, A Biography


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

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

** Historians care about writing. It is impossible to separate form from content, and both count in your grade. Check your grammar, sentence structure, and word usage. Go to the writing center. Have someone read and comment on your paper. Give yourself time to revise.

CTI 375 • The Dead Sea Scrolls

33480 • Kaplan, Jonathan
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM PAR 201
(also listed as AHC 330, HIS 364G, J S 364, MEL 321, MES 342, R S 353D)
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Dead Sea Scrolls

For almost seventy years, the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls has influenced significantly our understanding of Second Temple Judaism, the formation of the Bible, and the origins of the religious movements of Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism. This course presents an in-depth study of the Dead Sea Scrolls in order to understand better the development of law, interpretation, ritual, messianism, apocalypticism, and prayer in the late Second Temple period. This course will include discussion of the archaeology of the Qumran community, textual production and transmission in antiquity, scribal practices in antiquity, and pseudonymous authorship.