Program Chairman: Leon R. Kass, HM E482, 702-8571
Program Coordinator: Herman Jacobs, C 327, 702-7144,
Departmental Secretary: Delores A. Jackson, C 330, 702-7148
Program of Study
The Fundamentals program is designed to enable interested students to concentrate on certain fundamental questions of human existence and certain fundamental books that articulate and speak to these questions. It seeks to foster precise and thoughtful pursuit of basic questions by means of (1) rigorous training in the interpretation of important texts, supported by (2) extensive training in at least one foreign language, and by (3) the acquisition of the knowledge, approaches, and skills of conventional disciplines: historical, religious, literary, scientific, political, and philosophical. By focusing on basic issues and texts, it offers an alternative to the more disciplinary and methodological emphases of other undergraduate programs.
Rationale. There are fundamental questions that any thoughtful human being must seriously confront sooner or later, for example, Socrates' "What is?" questions: What is man? What is god? What is justice? or, alternatively but similarly, Kant's questions: What can I know? What ought I do? What may I hope? Such questions and others like them are often raised in the general education courses, not only in humanities and social sciences but also in the physical and biological sciences. Some students, engaged by such fundamental questions, wish to continue to explore them more thoroughly and deeply. This program enables these students to concentrate on basic questions and seeks to provide them with the wherewithal to address them on a high level.
That wherewithal is to be found in the fundamental or classic texts (literary, philosophic, religious, historical, and scientific) in which the greatest minds and teachers articulate and examine the basic questions, often in different and competing ways. These books are both timeless and timely; they not only illuminate the persisting questions of human existence but also speak to our contemporary concerns, especially as they are both the originators and the most exacting critics of our current opinions. Accordingly, these texts serve best not as authorities but as friends who present us with rich alternatives at the highest level and hence with the most provocative material for reflection.
This program emphasizes the direct and firsthand experience and knowledge of major texts, read and reread and reread again. Because they are difficult and complex, only a small number of such works can be studied. Yet the program assumes that intensively studying a profound work and incorporating it into one's thought and imagination prepares one for reading any important book or reflecting on any important question. Read rapidly, such books are merely assimilated into preexisting experience and opinions; read intensively, they can transform and deepen experience and thought.
But studying fundamental texts is, by itself, not enough. Even to understand the texts themselves, supporting studies and training are necessary: a solid foundation in at least one foreign language and in disciplines and subject matters pertinent to the student's main questions are essential parts of the concentration program. Knowledge of the historical contexts out of which certain problems emerged or in which authors wrote; knowledge of specific subject matters and methods; knowledge of the language in which a text was originally written, as well as an understanding of the shape a given language imparts to a given author or language as such to thought as such; fundamental skills of analysis, gathering evidence, reasoning, and criticism; different approaches and perspectives of conventional disciplines. All these are integral parts of the educational task.
Individual Program Design. Genuine questions cannot be given to a student; they must arise from within. For this reason, a set curriculum is not imposed upon the student. It must answer to his interests and concerns, and begin from what is primary for him. One student may be exercised about questions of war and peace, another about the nature of man, a third about science and religion, a fourth about freedom and determinism, a fifth about distributive justice. Through close work with a suitably chosen faculty adviser, the choice of texts, text courses, and supporting courses for each student is worked out in relation to such beginning and developing concerns. Beginning with a student's questions and interests does not, however, imply an absence of standards or rigor; this program is most demanding.
Application to the Program. Students should apply in the spring quarter of their first year to enter the program in their second year; the goals and requirements of the program are best met if students spend three years in the concentration. Applications may, however, be made during the second year as well. Each student is interviewed and counseled in order to discover those students whose interests and intellectual commitments would seem to be best served by this program. Students are admitted on the basis of the application statement, interviews, and previous performance.
A. Course Requirements.
1. Required Introductory Sequence (2). A two-quarter sequence, open to second- and third-year students, serves as the introduction to the concentration. It sets a standard and a tone for the program as a whole by showing how texts can be read to illuminate fundamental questions. Each course in the sequence is taught by a different faculty member; each course is devoted to the close reading of one or at most two texts, chosen because they illuminate the great questions and powerfully present important and competing answers, and because they might contain the truth about, for example, nature, the soul, community, art, or the best way to live. Students should learn a variety of ways in which a text can respond to their concerns and questions and can compel consideration of its own questions and concerns.
2. Elected Text Courses (6). The central activity of the concentration is the study and learning of six classic texts. Late in the second year, each student, with the help of a faculty adviser, begins to develop a list of six texts. The list grows gradually during the following year; a final list of six should be established early in the fourth year. This list should contain fundamental works in the area of the student's primary interest, but should include works which look at that interest from diverse perspectives. The texts selected are usually studied in seminar courses offered by the faculty of the program or in courses cross-listed or approved for these purposes. Some books may, however, be prepared in reading courses or tutorials (independent study), if appropriate. Students write term papers in each of their text courses. These are carefully and thoroughly criticized by the responsible faculty members. The books taught come from a variety of times and places, East and West, and the selections reflect both the judgments and preferences of the faculty and the different interests and concerns of the students. Normally, six text courses are required for the degree (in addition to the introductory sequence). At the end of the fourth year, students take a Fundamentals examination on the books they have selected (consult following section on Fundamentals Examination).
3. Foreign Language (6). Each student in the program is expected to achieve a level of competence in a foreign language sufficient to enable him to study in the original language (other than English) one of the texts on his examination list. Achieving the necessary competence ordinarily requires two years (i.e., one year beyond the College language requirement) of formal language instruction (with an average grade of B- or better) or its equivalent. In addition, each student must show that he has in fact used foreign language skills in studying one of the fundamental texts. In some cases, a student who has successfully completed at least one year of formal language instruction may arrange to study his chosen text in a tutorial or reading course with a member of the faculty, thereby concurrently developing further his language competence, and may petition to have such work count toward the fulfillment of the foreign language requirement.
4. Elected Supporting Courses (4). Appropriate courses in relevant disciplines and subject matters are selected with the help of the advisers.
5. Electives. Please refer to the Four-Year Curriculum section, under the Sample Programs heading (consult following section on Sample Programs).
B. The Junior Paper. The junior paper occupies a unique and highly important place in the program because it provides the only opportunity for the student to originate and formulate a serious inquiry into an important issue arising out of his work and to pursue the inquiry extensively and in depth in a paper of about twenty to twenty-five pages. At every stage in the preparation of the paper, the student is expected to work closely with his faculty adviser. Normally, students elect to register for one course of independent study in the quarter in which they write and rewrite the paper. Acceptance of a successful junior paper is a prerequisite for admission to the senior year of the program.
C. Fundamentals Examination. Sometime in the spring quarter of the senior year, each student is examined on the six fundamental texts he has chosen. Preparation for this examination allows students to review and integrate their full course of study. During a three-day period, students write two substantial essays on questions designed for them by the associated faculty. The examination has a pedagogical intention, more than a qualifying one. Its purpose is to allow students to demonstrate how they have related and integrated their questions, texts, and disciplinary studies.
Summary of Requirements
College demonstrated competence in a
Language foreign language equivalent to
Requirement one year of college-level study
Concentration 3 courses in a second-year foreign language
2 introductory courses
6 elected text courses
4 elected supporting courses
Credit may be granted by examination.
Grading, Transcripts, and Recommendations. The independent study leading to the junior paper (NCDV 29900) is best evaluated in faculty statements on the nature and the quality of the work. In support of the independent study grade of Pass, both the faculty supervisor and the second reader of the paper are asked to submit such statements to student files maintained in the Office of the New Collegiate Division. Other independent study courses may be taken on a Pass/No Pass basis (NCDV 29900) or for a "quality grade" (NCDV 29700); students must write a term paper for any independent study courses taken for a "quality grade." Students should request statements of reference from faculty with whom they have worked in all their independent study courses.
At the student's request, the registrar can include the following statement with each transcript:
The New Collegiate Division works with a small, selected group of students. There is less emphasis on letter grades than in other Collegiate Divisions and greater emphasis on independent work (NCDV 29900), including substantial papers submitted at the end of the junior and senior years. Students do some substantial portion of their work in close association with a tutor or tutors, and this work is graded Pass/No Pass only. Grades are supplemented with qualitative statements available from the Master, New Collegiate Division, The University of Chicago, 5811 South Ellis Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60637.
Honors. Honors are awarded by the Fundamentals faculty to students who have performed with distinction in the program. Special attention is paid to both the junior paper and the senior examination. In addition, honors depend on the student's grades, especially in the concentration; a 3.25 grade point average is roughly the floor, but because some course work may be ungraded, the grade point average standard cannot be stated precisely.
Advising. Each student has his own faculty adviser, a member in the program chosen from those with whom the student works most closely. The adviser closely monitors the student's choice of texts, courses, and language studies, allowing for the gradual development of a fitting and coherent program. The faculty adviser supervises and is one of the readers of the junior paper and is responsible for approving the final list of texts for the Fundamentals examination. The program coordinator is available for advice and consultation on all aspects of every student's program.
Sample Programs. The following sample programs show, first, a plan of a four-year curriculum, locating the concentration in the context of Collegiate requirements, and, second, illustrative courses of study within the concentration itself, indicating possible ways of connecting fundamental questions and interests to both basic texts and standard courses. These programs are merely for the purpose of illustration; many, many other variations would be possible.
Four-Year Sample Curriculum. Courses that meet College general education requirements are labeled (GE). Courses that are underlined fulfill requirements of the Fundamentals concentration. The Fundamentals concentration program comprises fifteen courses, over and above the fifteen courses constituting the College-wide general education requirement. Yet of these fifteen concentration courses, only five are true requirements, that is, fixed courses that must be taken and, usually, at a prescribed time: the two-quarter introductory sequence is strictly required and prescribed for the student's first year in the program and, in most cases, a second year of foreign language study (in the language of one's choice) is also prescribed. All the remaining ten courses (text and supporting courses) are truly elective, and are freely chosen by the student with advice from his faculty adviser. A student interested in Fundamentals is well advised to take Humanities and a language in the first year.
First year Humanities (GE) 3
Social Sciences (GE) 3
Physical Sciences or Biological Sciences
or Mathematics (GE) 3
Foreign Language I 3
Second year Introductory Fundamentals Sequence 2
Physical Sciences or Biological Sciences
or Mathematics (GE) 3
Foreign Language II 3
Civilization Sequence (GE) 3
Text Course 1
Third year Text Courses 3
Supporting Courses 2
Musical, Visual, or Dramatic Arts (GE) 1
Fourth year Text Courses 2
Supporting Courses 2
* Normally students take one unit of independent study to write the junior paper and another to prepare for the Fundamentals examination.
Questions, Texts, and Supporting Courses. All Fundamentals students, working with their advisers, develop their own program of study. Since students come to Fundamentals with diverse questions, they naturally have diverse programs. The following programs completed by Fundamentals students may serve as examples of study in the concentration.
One student asked the question, "How does telling a story shape a life?" She studied Homer's Odyssey, Augustine's Confessions, Shakespeare's Winter's Tale, Goethe's Autobiography, Saint Teresa's Life, and the Bhagavad-Gita, and studied in supporting courses, Reading and Writing Poetry (Fundamentals), Myth and Literature (German), Autobiography and Confession (Divinity School), and Comparative Approaches to Psychotherapy (Psychology).
A second student asked a question about the ethics of violence, "Is there a just war?" He read Thucydides' Peloponnesian War, Aristotle's Ethics, the Sermon on the Mount from the Gospel of Matthew, the Bhagavad-Gita, Machiavelli's The Prince, and Weber's "Politics as a Vocation," and studied in supporting courses, World War II (History), The Military and Militarism (Sociology), Introduction to Indian Philosophical Thought (South Asian Languages and Civilizations), and Introduction to the New Testament (Early Christian Literature).
A third Fundamentals student investigated the question, "Is the family a natural or a cultural institution?" His texts were Genesis, Homer's Odyssey, Aristotle's Politics, Aristophanes' Clouds, Sophocles' Antigone, and Rousseau's Emile. In supporting courses, he studied The Family (Sociology), Men and Women: A Literary Perspective (Fundamentals), Political Philosophy of Locke (Political Science), and Sophocles (Greek).
A fourth student, interested in natural right and natural law, read Genesis, Plato's Republic, Aristotle's Ethics, Rousseau's Second Discourse, Montesquieu's Spirit of the Laws, and the Federalist Papers. In supporting courses, he studied Machiavelli to Locke, Rousseau to Weber, and the Political Philosophy of Plato (all Political Science).
A fifth asked the question, "What is marriage?" and concentrated on these texts: Genesis, Homer's Odyssey, Sophocles' Antigone, Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra, Austen's Pride and Prejudice, and Goethe's Elective Affinities, and took, as supporting courses, Contemporary Ethical Theory (Philosophy), History of American Women (History), The Family (Sociology), and Sex Roles and Society (Psychology).
These programs indicate the diversity of issues and books Fundamentals represents. They are intended to suggest the cohesion of the individual program's texts and supporting courses within the context of a broad question. Obviously, many, many other programs could be devised.
Activities of Graduates. The Fundamentals program serves the purposes of liberal education, regarded as an end in itself, and offers no specific pre-professional training. Yet Fundamentals graduates have successfully prepared for careers in the professions and in scholarship. Some are now pursuing work in law, medicine, journalism, ministry, government service, business, veterinary medicine, and secondary school teaching. Others have gone on to graduate schools in numerous fields, including classics, English, comparative literature, Slavic, history, philosophy, social thought, theology, religious studies, clinical psychology, political science, development economics, mathematics, film studies, and education.
The faculty of the Fundamentals program comprises humanists and social scientists, representing interests and competencies in both the East and the West and scholarship in matters ancient and modern. This diversity and pluralism exists within a common agreement about the primacy of fundamental questions and the centrality of important books and reading them well. The intention is for the students to see a variety of serious men and women presenting their approach to and understanding of books which they love, which they know well, and which are central to their ongoing concerns. The members of the Fundamentals faculty are
ELIZABETH AsMIS, Professor, Departments of Classical Languages & Literatures, New Testament, and Early Christian Literatures, Committee on the Ancient Mediterranean World, and the College
Bertram Cohler, William Rainey Harper Professor in the College; Professor, Departments of Psychology (Human Development), Education, and Psychiatry, and the Divinity School
Wendy Doniger, Mircea Eliade Professor, the Divinity School, Department of South Asian Languages & Civilizations, Committee on Social Thought, and the College
Charles M. Gray, Professor, Department of History and the College; Lecturer, the Law School
David Grene, Professor, Committee on Social Thought
Amy A. Kass, Senior Lecturer, Humanities Collegiate Division
Leon R. Kass, Addie Clark Harding Professor, Committee on Social Thought and the College
John MacAloon, Professor, Social Sciences Collegiate Division
STEPHEN C. MEREDITH, Associate Professor, Department of Pathology
Wendy Raudenbush Olmsted, Associate Professor, Division of the Humanities and the College
James M. Redfield, Edward Olson Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Classical Languages & Literatures, and Committees on Social Thought and the Ancient Mediterranean World, and the College
William Schweiker, Professor, the Divinity School and the College
Jonathan Z. Smith, Robert O. Anderson Distinguished Service Professor of the Humanities, Committee on the History of Culture, and the College
Nathan Tarcov, Professor, Department of Political Science, Committee on Social Thought, and the College; Director, John M. Olin Center for Inquiry into the Theory & Practice of Democracy
Christina von Nolcken, Associate Professor, Department of English Language & Literature and the College; Chair, Committee on Medieval Studies
Karl Joachim Weintraub, Thomas E. Donnelley Distinguished Service Professor, Department of History, and Committees on Social Thought and the History of Culture, and the College
Courses preceded by an asterisk (*) will be part of the required introductory sequence in 2001-02.
20300. Human Nature and Human Good: Rousseau's Second Discourse (=FNDL 20300, SCTH 33500). PQ: Consent of instructor. A close reading of the text, with special attention to these questions: What is permanent and what is changeable in "human nature"? How does the truth about human nature affect notions of the right and the good? L. Kass. Winter.
20700. Aquinas on God, Being, and Evil. This course considers sections from Saint Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologica. Among the topics considered are whether God exists; the relationship between God, existence, and the real; and the origin and nature of evil. S. Meredith. Winter.
21200. Lost Illusions by Balzac (=CMLT 24400/34400, FNDL 21200, FREN 31200). PQ: Open only to concentrators in Fundamentals and Comparative Literature and to graduate students in Romance Languages and Literatures. Concentrators in Comparative Literature must have completed that department's language requirement. This course studies Balzac's masterpiece Lost Illusions in the context of this author's oeuvre. We address issues such as the rise of the modern individual, the tensions between talent and social pressures, and the struggle between the urge to succeed and moral responsibility. We also examine the question of literary realism and idealism, and Balzac's place in the history of the modern novel. T. Pavel. Spring.
21300. James Joyce's Ulysses. Among the themes considered are the problems of exile, homelessness, and nationality; the mysteries of paternity; the mystery of maternity; the meaning of the Return; Joyce's epistemology and his use of dream, fantasy, and hallucination; and Joyce's experimentation and use of language. S. Meredith. Winter.
21400. Self, World, and Other: The Thought of Paul Tillich (=FNDL 21400, RLST 23700, THEO 46600). This course is a careful examination of the thought of one of the leading philosophers of religion, existentialist thinkers, and systematic theologians of the twentieth century, Paul Tillich. The course centers on a detailed reading of Tillich's major work, Systematic Theology. We explore Tillich's definition of religion as ultimate concern, his theory of religious symbols, and the account of theological method. Substantively, the course examines Tillich's treatment of major ideas in the Christian religion, namely, God, Christ, and human estrangement and redemption or, as he called it, New Being. The purpose of the course is to enable students to engage a major religious thinker on the most fundamental questions of human existence and to learn the demands and joy of systematic theological reflection. W. Schweiker. Winter.
*21600. Shakespeare: Hamlet. PQ: Completion of the general education requirement in humanities. Required of new Fundamentals concentrators; open to others by consent of instructor. We do a close reading of the play as it unfolds. In addition, special attention is given to the nature of tragedy. Frequent short writing and/or acting assignments are made. A. Kass. Autumn.
21700. Melville: Moby-Dick; or, The Whale. PQ: Consent of instructors. Class limited to twenty students. We do a close reading of Melville's work. Special attention is given to the question of heroism. A. Kass, L. Kass. Spring.
21800. Franz Kafka (=FNDL 21800, GRMN 24800). This course is centered on close readings of several of Kafka's stories and short prose as well as his novel The Trial. Among the topics are the nature of literary interpretation, Kafka's view of culture and language, art and theology, art and psychology, and modernity in literature. Although selected secondary readings are considered, the main emphasis is on close readings of the assigned texts. D. Wellbery. Autumn
22000. Musil: The Man Without Qualities (=FNDL 22000, GRMN 25000/45000, SCTH 41500). Robert Musil's unfinished novel, The Man Without Qualities, which is one of the masterpieces of twentieth-century German literature, paints a haunting, bleak portrait of modern life. This course offers a close reading of the work with an eye to understanding the political, amorous, and scientific aspects of the modern condition, as Musil sees it. The course is conceived as a pendant to last year's course on Mann's The Magic Mountain, but does not presuppose familiarity with that work. M. Lilla. Autumn.
22100. Dante in Translation (=FNDL 22100, HUMA 24200, ITAL 22100, RLST 26700). A close reading of the Divine Comedy by Dante, highlighting the major problems and the most famous cantos. An important goal of the course is to give a view of medieval culture (e.g., the allegorical mode, the problem of state and church, and the culture of Scholasticism) taking Dante's work as a basis. Classes conducted in English. P. Cherchi. Winter.
22300. Myths and Symbols of Evil (=FNDL 22300, HUMA 21200, RELH 22300, RLST 23600). This course examines in depth Martin Buber's Good and Evil and Paul Ricoeur's Symbolism of Evil. There are a few brief lectures, but emphasis is on seminar discussion and student participation. A. Carr. Winter.
*22400. Tristram Shandy (=FNDL 22400, SCTH 38600). Required of new Fundamentals concentrators. A close reading of the novel, with attention to the sentimental sensibility, the unreliable narrator, intimations of post-modernism, and various narratological high-jinks. J. Redfield. Winter.
22600. Proust: In Search of Lost Time (=FNDL 22600, SCTH 36700). PQ: Students must read the entire work in the summer beforehand. (We recommend the Scott-Moncrieff/Kilmartin/Enright translation.) We then approach the work for a second, more intensive, reading that focuses on manageable selections each week. J. Coetzee, J. Lear. Autumn.
22900. Agnon's Only Yesterday: A Novel (=FNDL 22900, JWSC 26000, RLST 26600). S. Y. Agnon, the greatest of modern Israeli writers, won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1966. In Only Yesterday he wrote (in Hebrew) of a young man who, like the author himself, emigrated to the Land of Israel during the period (early years of the twentieth century) of the Second Aliyah, "aliyah" referring to the ingathering or ascension of diasporic Jews to Palestine. This superb novel, perhaps Agnon's best, treats the complicated religious, nationalist-patriotic, social, and other dilemmas of the early emigrants to Zion. In telling his tale, Agnon draws on a multiplicity of Jewish religious-literary traditions (e.g., the Hebrew Bible, Talmud, Midrash, Yiddish writing, and folktales). The text is Barbara Harshav's recent English translation. M. Krupnick. Spring.
23000. Hegel's Philosophy of Right (=FNDL 23000, HUMA 24700, IMET 36900, LLSO 27500). The course first focuses on "translating" (becoming more familiar with) what is to many the peculiar language of Hegel, a language which has set and still sets the most important boundaries and questions for many thinkers, not merely about politics but also about economics, sociology, and jurisprudence. More importantly, a further focus is with particular arguments but also especially with the general strategies of Hegel's argument understood broadly, which is pursued as deeply as time and student interest permit. Moreover, once some comfort with the language and general argument is attained, a somewhat critical stance is adopted, if for no other reason than to guard against the possible bewitchment by what is probably for many a somewhat new language of thought. D. Smigelskis. Spring.
23100. Short Stories: Fitzgerald and Hemingway (=FNDL 23100, HUMA 20500). Many of the short stories of these two authors are gems: beautifully crafted, compactly expressive, and often profound in implication. We read a representative number of stories to see how they express the author's aesthetic and philosophical view of being. Among the stories we read are Fitzgerald's "Bernice Bobs Her Hair," "The Diamond as Big as the Ritz," "The Rich Boy," "The Bridal Party," and "Babylon Revisited"; and Hemingway's "Indian Camp," "The Doctor and the Doctor's Wife," "The End of Something," "The Three-Day Blow," "Big Two-Hearted River," "A Clean and Well-Lighted Place," and "The Killers." E. Wasiolek. Spring.
23300. Reading the Holocaust: From Anne Frank to Schindler's List (=FNDL 23300, GSHU 29400, PSYC 22900, SOSC 22800). Using the complete, unabridged, unedited text of the Anne Frank diary and the film Schindler's List, this course explores the interplay of historical and social change in the study of both lives and texts. The course focuses primarily on a careful reading of the Anne Frank diary, concerned both with the problems of life-writing and changing construction of this icon of Shoah. The course concludes with a review of the Keneally book and the Spielberg film, Schindler's List, in exploring further the interplay of both writing and reading in the context of social-historical time. B. Cohler. Spring.
23400. Plato's Laws (=FNDL 23400, LLSO 28500, PLSC 23800/48300, SCTH 30300). PQ: Consent of instructor. Enrollment limited. An introductory reading of Plato's Laws with attention to such themes as the following: war and peace; courage and moderation; rule of law; music, poetry, drinking, and education; sex, marriage, and gender; property and class structure; crime and punishment; religion and theology; and philosophy. N. Tarcov. Winter.
23600. The Kamasutra and The Laws of Manu: Sex and Religion in Ancient India (=FNDL 23600, GNDR 25800, HREL 32100, RLST 26900, SALC 25700). We discuss religion, sex, and politics in ancient India based on readings in The Kamasutra and The Laws of Manu. Texts in English. W. Doniger. Winter.
23700. Constitution of Community (=FNDL 23700, HUMA 22200, IMET 31100, LLSO 21700). Attention is once again being given to how a "we," a community, establishes itself. This interest often assumes that discussion and deliberation plays a, perhaps the, major role, and often coincides with the notion that the organization of the community should be through government by discussion. This course is concerned with one major example of the constitution of a community, the United States. Texts of the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, the "debates" in Philadelphia in 1787 (especially Madison's Notes), the ratification conventions (especially the Federalist), and the actions in the newly formed Congress, especially the House, are discussed. Otherwise put, the course is thus not a repetition of the typical "historical," "legal," or "philosophical" emphases with which these events and texts have been treated. D. Smigelskis. Winter.
23800. Frazer's Golden Bough: Classics in the Study of Religion (=FNDL 23800, RELH 27100). This course undertakes a close reading of Frazer's one-volume edition of his work. J. Z. Smith. Autumn.
24000. Aristotle's Politics (=CLAS 37800, CLCV 27800, FNDL 24000). A close reading of Aristotle's Politics, with special attention to the relationship of the individual to the community. Among the questions that are considered are: What does morality have to do with politics? What is the relationship of the family to the state? What is the best state? How much inequality is tolerable? What is wrong with slavery? Is empire ever justified? What is the best system of education? E. Asmis. Spring.
24300. Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion (=FNDL 24300, HIST 12500). Enrollment limited. Calvin's Institutes are the most complete and influential statement of Christian theology to come out of the Protestant Reformation. In spite of fundamental contention between various kinds of Protestants, there is no better work to introduce readers to Reformation theology as a whole. Instead of emphasizing the familiar "theological" issues, we pay close attention to Calvin's views on such fundamental questions as the nature of knowledge, writing and interpretation, truth and meaning, morality and law, freedom and necessity, self-denial, justice, action, power, and the relationship between individuals and society. The class format consists of dialogue occasionally interrupted by monologues from the instructor. C. Fasolt. Autumn.
24400. The Mahabharata in English Translation (=FNDL 24400, HREL 35000, RLST 26800, SALC 20400). A reading of the Mahabharata in English translation (van Buitenen, Narasimhan, P. C. Roy, and Doniger [ms.]), with special attention to issues of mythology, feminism, and theodicy. W. Doniger. Autumn.
24600. The Radicalism of Job and Ecclesiastes (=FNDL 24600, HUMA 23500, JWSC 23500, NCDV 27700). Both Job and Ecclesiastes dispute a central doctrine of the Hebrew Bible, namely, the doctrine of retributive justice. Each book argues that a person's fate is not a consequence of his or her religious-moral acts and thus the piety, whatever else it is, must be disinterested. In brief, the authors of Job and Ecclesiates, each in his own way, not only "de-mythologize" but "de-moralize" the world. Theological and philosophical implications are discussed. Texts in English. H. Moltz. Spring.
24900. Gandhi (=ENST 24500, FNDL 24900, PLSC 24500/35900). Course readings deal with Gandhi's life (including his autobiography), texts that articulate his thought and practice, and critical and interpretative works that assess his meaning and influence. Topics include nonviolent collective action in pursuit of truth and justice, strategy for cooperation and conflict resolution, and alternatives to industrial society and centralized state. L. Rudolph. Spring.
25101-25102. Eliot's Four Quartets (=FNDL 25101-25102, RLST 27201-27202). The course consists of a close reading of Eliot's Four Quartets with special attention to its theological and mystical implications. D. Grene, W. Olmsted. Autumn, Winter.
25500. Austen: Emma and Pride and Prejudice (=GSHU 22300/32300, HUMA 21400, IMET 32400, LLSO 22400, SOSC 22400). This course considers two novels by Jane Austen in terms of how they treat gender, class, socioeconomic circumstances, family structure, and geographical places as constraining and facilitating the agency of characters. In responding to change, Austen's characters bridge differences of class, gender, family history, and geographical place to form friendships and marriages that change their self-understandings and capacities for productive social and personal activities. We discuss Austen's representations of evolving selves and how they develop or fail to develop growing powers of agency as they respond to historical and socioeconomic circumstances. W. Olmsted. Winter.
25700. Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales (=ENGL 15500, FNDL 25700). PQ: Knowledge of Middle English or of Chaucer's poetry not required. We examine Chaucer's art as revealed in selections from The Canterbury Tales. Our primary emphasis is on a close reading of individual tales, although we also pay attention to Chaucer's sources and to other medieval works providing relevant background. C. von Nolcken. Spring.
26300. John Stuart Mill: Essays on Bentham and Coleridge, Autobiography, and Related Brief Texts (=FNDL 26300, GSHU 24400, HUMA 22000). Mill's claim that Bentham and Coleridge were "the two great seminal minds of England in their age" may be taken as the keynote for close reading of these texts. The course extends the question, however, to whether the tendencies in social and political thought Mill attributes to the two figures continue to define our debates and doubts. C. Gray. Winter.
26400. Adam Smith, Theory of Moral Sentiments (=FNDL 26400, SCTH 33400). PQ: Consent of instructor. A close reading of the text, with special attention to the question of whether and how Smith's teaching is especially pertinent to modern liberal democratic society. L. Kass. Autumn.
26500. Kierkegaard: Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments (=FNDL 26500, PHIL 34400, SCTH 39400). After selected introductory readings to acquaint students with the idea of a pseudonymous author, we engage in a careful reading of this text. J. Conant, J. Lear. Autumn.
26600. Seneca's Letters to Lucilius (=CLCV 25200, FNDL 26600). PQ: Knowledge of Latin and training in philosophy not required. What makes a "self?" What belongs to it? What does the self have to do with society, virtue, prosperity, pleasure, and friendship? With subtlety, humanity, warmth, and variety, Lucius Annaeus Seneca explores these and similar practical ethical questions in a series of 124 letters to a young friend who is eager to make progress in philosophy while maintaining a career in public life. The course consists of a close reading of all the letters. D. Wray. Autumn.
27000. The Brothers Karamazov (=FNDL 27000, HUMA 23300, RUSS 24300). PQ: Consent of instructor. Close reading and discussion of the primary text: Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov in English translation (Norton Critical Edition). Students are asked to prepare one background reading in advance: Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground. The emphasis is on moral, intellectual, and religious issues, and, to a lesser extent, on novelistic technique. Text in English. N. Ingham. Spring.
27100. Pope's Essay on Man and Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (=ENGL 23800, FNDL 27100, GSHU 28300). Pope's Essay on Man is, among other things, a memorable repository of influential ideas (none original with Pope himself) about man's place in God's universe and the implications of this view for human conduct and belief. The doctrines thus represented by Pope, together with more orthodox modes of Christian thought, are examined, with deadly amiability, in Hume's posthumously published Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. The course proceeds in awareness of the remarkable literary qualities of both works: Pope's superb prosodic and linguistic achievement and Hume's brilliantly ironic exploitation of the dialogue form. E. Rosenheim. Autumn.
27700. Aristotle's Ethics (=FNDL 27700, HUMA 27800, IMET 37700, LLSO 27700). Special attention is given to the problems Aristotle thought important to consider, the sequence in which they are generated, and why such kind of problems may continue to be worthy of attention. A further focus is the manner in which the Ethics is a principled deliberative inquiry meant to eventuate in more sophisticated choices by the readers. D. Smigelskis. Winter.
27900. Civilization and Its Discontents (=FNDL 27900, GRMN 27200). Neither keyword of the sociohistorical and rhetorical topos, "culture" (Kultur) and "civilization" (Zivilisation), has stood so high and at the same time so low in the esteem of intellectuals and thinking people as it does at present. Similar and allied contrapositions may be observed in the usage of Freud and his contemporaries in the first half of the past century and extending even further back, to the mid-eighteenth century. Our course aims to clarify somewhat, by way of careful textual studies, the meaning of this ambivalence as it is worked out (and through) in Freud's classic analysis and psychoanalysis of "civilization and its discontents." S. Jaffe. Winter.
29000. Shakespeare on Tyranny (=FNDL 29000, PLSC 20901/31801, SCTH 34800). PQ: Consent of instructor. Enrollment limited. An exploration of Shakespeare's portrayals of tyrants and tyrannies in such plays as Macbeth and Richard III. R. Lerner, N. Tarcov. Autumn.
29200. Political Philosophy: Plato (=FNDL 29200, LLSO 29200, PLSC 31200). This course is a close reading of Plato's Parmenides. J. Cropsey. Winter.
29400. Zola and Dostoevsky on Crime and Retribution (=FNDL 29400, HUMA 24600). This course consists of close reading and discussion of two European classics written independently from each other on similar themes: Zola's Thérèse Raquin (1868) and Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment (1866). Both are, in a sense, precursors of the detective novel, except that the criminals rather than the detectives are the protagonists. Both are examples of extreme positions taken on transgression: Zola represents a materialistic, "scientific" view and Dostoevsky a spiritual, Christian view of human behavior. Thus, both represent fundamental texts in expressing these fundamentally opposed points of view. P. Dembowski. Spring.
29700. Dostoevsky's The Idiot and Melville's Billy Budd (=FNDL 29700, SCTH 33700). We read these novels with an eye to exploring the themes of innocence and goodness, and their possible relation. M. Lilla. Spring.