Contacts | About Fundamentals | Program Requirements | Grading, Advising, and Honors | Academic Year 2017–18 Courses | Autumn Quarter | Winter Quarter | Spring Quarter | Possible Supporting Courses

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About Fundamentals

The Fundamentals program enables students to concentrate on fundamental questions by reading classic texts 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.


A richly informed question or concern formulated by each student guides the reading of texts. Classic texts are also informed by such questions; for example, Socrates asks: What is virtue? What is the good? What is justice? Aristotle and Cicero explore the relation of civic friendship to society. Freud asks: What is happiness? Can humans be happy? Milton investigates how poetic vocation may be related to political responsibility. Students who are engaged by these questions and others like them, and who find them both basic and urgent, may wish to continue to explore them more thoroughly and deeply within the structure of the program which provides the wherewithal to address them on a high level.

That wherewithal is to be found in the fundamental or classic texts (historical, religious, literary, scientific, political, and philosophical) in which the great writers articulate and examine questions in different and competing ways. These books illuminate the persisting questions and speak to contemporary concerns because they are both the originators and exacting critics of our current opinions. These texts serve as colleagues who challenge us to think that something else might actually be the case than what we already think. The most important questions may, at bottom, be the most contested, and those most susceptible to, and most requiring, sustained, probing engagement.

This program emphasizes the 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 proposes 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 issue. Read rapidly, such books are merely assimilated into preexisting experience and opinions; read intensively, they can transform and deepen experience and thought.

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 main questions of students are essential parts of the major. Students benefit from 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; 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 assigned to a student; they must arise from within. For this reason, a set curriculum is not imposed upon students. Each student's course of study must answer to his or her interests and concerns, and must begin from a distinctive concern. One student may be exercised about questions of science and religion; another about freedom and determinism; another about friendship and conversation; another by prudence, romance, and marriage; a fifth about distributive justice. Through close work with a suitably chosen faculty adviser, a student determines texts, text and author courses, and supporting courses as appropriate to address the student's Fundamentals question. Beginning with a student's questions and interests does not, however, imply an absence of standards or rigor; this program is most demanding.

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 and work with a variety of scholars presenting their approaches to and understanding of books that they love, that they know well, and that are central to their ongoing concerns.

Application to the Program

Students should apply in 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 major. Students are interviewed and counseled in order to discover whether or not their interests and intellectual commitments would be best served by this program. Admissions are decided on the basis of the application statement, interviews, and previous academic performance.

Program Requirements

The Fundamentals program comprises (a) 13 courses, (b) the Junior Paper, and (c) the Senior Exam, for a total of 1500 units.

A. Course Work

  1. Gateway Course (1 course) (Autumn or Winter): This course is specifically designed for the incoming cohort of Fundamentals students and is a mandatory part of the program. It is devoted to the close reading of one or two texts, chosen because they raise challenging questions and present important and competing answers. Through this course, students will study a variety of ways in which a text can respond to their concerns and can compel consideration of its own questions.

  2. Text/Author Courses (7 courses). The Text/Author courses are devoted to the study of one or two particular texts or the work of a particular author. Through these courses, each student will develop a list of six texts that will become the basis of his or her Senior Exam (see below). This list should contain works in the area of the student's primary interest that look at that interest from diverse perspectives, and one of the six must be studied in an original language other than English, the same language in which the student establishes competency. Text/Author courses are generally cross-listed as FNDL courses in Class Search; if a relevant course is not cross-listed, the student should contact the coordinator to see if it can be counted towards the major. In years when the Gateway Course is offered in Autumn, entering students are required to take at least one Text/Author course in Winter; in years when the Gateway Course is offered in Winter, entering students are expected to take at least one Text/Author course in Autumn. 
  3. Supporting Courses (4 courses). These are courses that complement the student's program, providing historical context, theoretical and methodological training, or other complements. They do not have to be listed as FNDL to satisfy this requirement, but they must be explicitly identified as supporting courses in consultation with the student's adviser.
  4. Foreign Language (1 course). Students in the program are expected to achieve a level of proficiency in a foreign language sufficient to enable them to study in the original language (other than English) one of the texts on their examination list. Such training ordinarily requires two years of formal language instruction or its equivalent. The third quarter of the second year of the language is counted toward the major. In addition, students are required to take a course where they study a text in that language; the instructor of the course may be asked to provide an evaluation of the student's linguistic proficiency on the basis of this work. Students and instructors should work closely together in determining how the student will demonstrate compentency in the language. As the achievement of proficiency may differ vis-à-vis length of study from language to language, it may prove harder for students of some languages to read a text in its entirety even after completing two years of instruction. Any students who believe that their language is so difficult that doing so is unrealistic may petition to have the requirement met by reading a clearly marked-out portion of the text—perhaps a chapter or two, or series of smaller sections. To be considered, the petition must set out a clear plan and must be signed by the instructor of the text in question.   

B. The Junior Paper

In the Winter or Spring Quarter of their junior year, students write an extended essay called the Junior Paper. This project provides the opportunity for students to originate and formulate a serious inquiry into an important issue arising out of their work and to pursue the inquiry extensively and in depth in a paper of about twenty to twenty-five pages (roughly 8,000 to 10,000 words). At every stage in the preparation of the paper, students work closely with their Fundamentals faculty adviser. Students register in the independent study course FNDL 29901 in the quarter in which they write the paper; they are also expected to participate in the Junior Paper Colloquium that takes place in the Winter Quarter. Acceptance of a successful Junior Paper is a prerequisite for admission to the senior year of the program.

C. The Senior Exam

At the end of Week Six in the Spring Quarter of their senior year, students are examined on six texts they have studied in the context of their Text/Author courses and approved independent study courses. 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. To take the exam, students register in FNDL 29902 in the Spring Quarter (or, with the consent of the chair, in the Autumn or Winter Quarters if there are scheduling issues).

Summary of Requirements

The Gateway Course100
Seven Text/Author Courses700
Four Supporting Courses400
Third quarter of second-year foreign language *100
FNDL 29901Independent Study: Junior Paper100
FNDL 29902Independent Study: Senior Examination100
Total Units1500

or credit for the equivalent, determined by petition

Grading, Advising, and Honors

Grading. The Junior Paper and Senior Exam (FNDL 29901 and FNDL 29902) are graded Pass/Fail; all other courses within the major must be taken for quality grades. Independent study courses must include a term paper, and students should be prepared to request statements of reference or evaluation from faculty with whom they have worked in this capacity.

Advising. Each student has a faculty adviser who is assigned to the student on the basis of their mutual interests and areas of expertise. 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 may also oversee the student's Junior Paper and is responsible for approving the final list of texts for the Senior Exam. In addition, the program coordinator is available for advice and consultation on all aspects of the program.

Honors. Honors are awarded by the Fundamentals faculty to students who have performed with distinction in the program. An overall GPA of 3.5 is necessary to be considered for honors, and special attention is paid to both the Junior Paper and the Senior Exam.

Academic Year 2017–18 Courses

Gateway Course (required for all incoming Fundamentals majors)

FNDL 21001. Poe: Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque. 100 Units.

Though Poe wasn't the first famous writer of short stories, his tales of horror, mystery, and ratiocination made the short prose form a modern medium, inspiring artists ranging from Baudelaire and Manet to Arthur Conan Doyle and the inventors of science fiction. Their unreliable narrators, copious displays of learning, and contrary effects of shock and verisimilitude have shaped modern fiction. At the same time, the "book" wherein Poe collected his tales over his lifetime grew in fits and bounds, absorbing both his theoretical speculations and his poems as extended means of "telling tales." Their chief concerns, subjectivity and reason in their compatibility and conflict, are still—or should be—our own. We approach Poe's short works in as close to the order of composition as we can achieve, and we read them carefully.

Instructor(s): Andrei Pop     Terms Offered: Autumn

Independent Study (for registering for the Junior Paper and Senior Examination)

FNDL 29901. Independent Study: Junior Paper. 100 Units.

Students who are on campus will be required to attend a series of colloquium meetings in Winter Quarter, but should enroll in the quarter that they will write the Junior Paper. Students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Course Form. Must be taken for P/F grading.

Terms Offered: Autumn, Winter, Spring
Prerequisite(s): Open only to Fundamentals students with consent of faculty supervisor and program chair.

FNDL 29902. Independent Study: Senior Examination. 100 Units.

Students should expect to register for this independent study in the Spring of their final year, the quarter in which they will take their Senior Exam. Exceptions to this can only be made with the consent of the program chair. Students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Course Form. Must be taken for P/F grading.

Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Open only to Fundamentals students with consent of faculty supervisor and program chair.

Autumn Quarter

FNDL 20502. Frank Lloyd Wright in Chicago and Beyond. 100 Units.

This course looks at Wright's work from multiple angles. We examine his architecture, urbanism, and relationship to the built environment, as well as the socio-cultural context of his lifetime and legend. We take advantage of the Robie House on campus and of the rich legacy of Wright's early work in Chicago; we also think about his later Usonian houses for middle-income clients and the urban framework he imagined for his work (Broadacre City), as well as his Wisconsin headquarters (Taliesin), and spectacular works like the Johnson Wax Factory (a field trip, if funds permit), Fallingwater, and the Guggenheim Museum. By examining one architect's work in context, students gain experience analyzing buildings and their siting, and interpreting them in light of their complex ingredients and circumstances. The overall goal is to provide an introduction to thinking about architecture and urbanism.

Instructor(s): K. Taylor     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): This course meets the general education requirement in the arts.
Equivalent Course(s): AMER 17410,ARTH 17410

FNDL 20700. Aquinas on God, Being, and Human Nature. 100 Units.

This course considers sections from Saint Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologica. Among the topics considered are God's existence; the relationship between God and Being; and human nature.

Instructor(s): S. Meredith     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): CLCV 23712,RLST 23605

FNDL 21001. Poe: Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque. 100 Units.

Though Poe wasn't the first famous writer of short stories, his tales of horror, mystery, and ratiocination made the short prose form a modern medium, inspiring artists ranging from Baudelaire and Manet to Arthur Conan Doyle and the inventors of science fiction. Their unreliable narrators, copious displays of learning, and contrary effects of shock and verisimilitude have shaped modern fiction. At the same time, the "book" wherein Poe collected his tales over his lifetime grew in fits and bounds, absorbing both his theoretical speculations and his poems as extended means of "telling tales." Their chief concerns, subjectivity and reason in their compatibility and conflict, are still—or should be—our own. We approach Poe's short works in as close to the order of composition as we can achieve, and we read them carefully.

Instructor(s): Andrei Pop     Terms Offered: Autumn

FNDL 21005. Philosophy: Plato's Phaedrus. 100 Units.

The Phaedrus is one of the most fascinating and compelling of Plato's Dialogues. Beginning with a playful treatment of the theme of erotic passion, it continues with a consideration of the nature of inspiration, love, and knowledge. The centerpiece is one the the most famous of the Platonic myths, the moving description of the charioteer and its allegory of the vision, fall, and incarnation of the soul.

Instructor(s): E. Asmis     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): GREK 20300 or equivalent
Equivalent Course(s): BIBL 31200,GREK 31200,GREK 21200

FNDL 21403. Shakespeare I: Histories and Comedies. 100 Units.

This course is part of the College Course Cluster, The Renaissance. This course will explore a selection of seven or eight plays representing Shakespeare’s youthful genres of Comedy and History. We will consider how each play fits, or doesn’t fit, within organizing dichotomies like playhouse versus print, popular versus elite, and early versus late. We will also consider how terms that structure our encounter with Shakespeare both form and deform his work, leaving us to ask, Can we do better? (D, E)

Instructor(s): E. MacKay     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): TAPS 28405,ENGL 16500

FNDL 21411. The Art of Michelangelo. 100 Units.

The focus of this course will be Michelangelo’s sculpture, painting and architecture while making use of his writings and his extensive body of drawings to understand his artistic personality, creative processes, theories of art, and his intellectual and spiritual biography, including his changing attitudes towards Neoplatonism, Christianity and politics. Our structure will be chronological starting with his juvenilia of the 1490s in Florence at the court of Lorenzo the Magnificent through his death in Rome in 1564 as an old man who was simultaneously the deity of art and a lonely, troubled, repentant Christian. Beyond close examination of the works themselves, among the themes that will receive attention for the ways they bear upon his art are Michelangelo’s fraught relationship with patrons; his changing attitude towards religion, especially his engagement with the Catholic Reform; his sexuality and how it might bear on the representation of gender in his art and poetry; his “official” biographies during Michelangelo’s lifetime and complex, ambivalent, reception over the centuries; new ideas about Michelangelo that have emerged from the restoration and scientific imaging of many of his works. At the same time, the course will be an introduction of students with little or no background in art history to some of the major avenues for interpretation in this field, including formal, stylistic, iconographical, psychological, social, feminist, theoretical and reception.

Instructor(s): C. Cohen     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): This course meets the general education requirement in the arts.
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 17612

FNDL 21700. Le Roman de la rose. 100 Units.

The mid-thirteenth-century Roman de la Rose was arguably the single most influential vernacular text of the (French) Middle Ages. A sprawling, encyclopedic summa composed by two separate authors writing some forty years apart, whether taken as a source of inspiration or an object of condemnation, the Roman de la Rose became an obligatory point of reference for generations of authors. Over the course of the quarter, we will read the conjoined text, each student focusing their reading through a critical optic of their choice (e.g., gender studies, animal studies, ethics and philosophy, reception studies, manuscript studies, etc.). Students will select and read ancillary texts to enrich their understanding of the Rose, and will collaborate with one another to chart a rich and diverse set of interpretive paths through this complex work.

Instructor(s): D. Delogu     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): FREN 20500 and at least one other literature course taught in French.
Note(s): Taught in English, with readings in French.
Equivalent Course(s): FREN 31700,GNSE 27300,FREN 21700

FNDL 22400. Greek Comedy: Menander. 100 Units.

We will read in Greek Menander’s Dyskolos, with an eye to understanding “New Comedy” and its robust afterlife in Renaissance Europe and modern sitcoms. We will also devote some time to reading and assessing fragments from Menander’s contemporaries. Coursework will include translation as well as secondary readings. E. Austin. Autumn.

Instructor(s): E. Austin.     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): GREK 20300 or equivalent
Equivalent Course(s): GREK 32400,HIST 20403,HIST 30403,GREK 22400

FNDL 23910. Rulership Ancient and Modern: Xenophon's Education of Cyrus and Machiavelli's Prince. 100 Units.

A reading of two of the classic treatments of political rulership: Xenophon's The Education of Cyrus and Machiavelli's Prince. We will consider the qualities needed to acquire, maintain, and increase political power, the relations between rulers and ruled, the relations between political and military leadership and more broadly between politics and war, the roles of morality and religion in politics, differences between legitimate and tyrannical rule, and differences between modern and ancient views of rulership. (A)

Instructor(s): N. Tarcov     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 33910,PLSC 23910

FNDL 25406. Hawthorne and Melville. 100 Units.

In the two-year period between 1850 and 1852, Hawthorne and Melville produced five remarkable books: The Scarlet Letter, The House of the Seven Gables, The Blithedale Romance, Moby-Dick, and Pierre. During this same time they lived within six miles of each other in the Berkshires, a circumstance that initiated a strong literary friendship and that prompted a number of shared literary, aesthetic, and political preoccupations. This course will focus on four texts: Hawthorne’s Mosses from an Old Manse and The Scarlet Letter, and Melville’s “Hawthorne and His Mosses” and Moby-Dick. Monomania—in its psychological, sexual, aesthetic, religious, epistemological, and political manifestations—will focus much of our inquiry into these texts and into the body of critical discourse surrounding them. (B, G)

Instructor(s): J. Knight     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): AMER 25406,ENGL 25406

FNDL 26560. Shakespeare and the Ancient Classical World. 100 Units.

This course is part of the College Course Cluster, The Renaissance. This course will look closely at the plays written by Shakespeare on the ancient classical world: Titus Andronicus, Julius Caesar, Troilus and Cressida, Antony and Cleopatra, Timon of Athens, and Coriolanus, with an emphasis on the second, third, and fourth titles in this list. Why did Shakespeare turn to the ancient classical world for dramatic material, and what did he find there that was not available to him in the Christian world he knew at first hand? What philosophical ideas, experiments in forms of governance, and understanding of the human condition did he discover? In what ways is Shakespeare a different writer and dramatist as a result of his imaginative journey to the world of ancient Greece and Rome?  (D, E)

Instructor(s): D. Bevington     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 36560,ENGL 16560

FNDL 27620. Montaigne & La Boétie : une amitié littéraire. 100 Units.

Nous retracerons le thème de l’amitié littéraire à partir de l’exemple de Montaigne et La Boétie. Nous étudierons ce topos à la Renaissance et nous placerons cette relation idéalisée dans son contexte politique et social. Un homme (La Boétie) et un texte (le Discours de la servitude volontaire) définissent l’amitié chez Montaigne. Les deux (individu et livre) sont indissociables et occupant une place centrale dans le livre de Montaigne. Nous lirons plusieurs chapitres des Essais de Montaigne, ainsi que le Discours de la servitude volontaire de La Boétie, et développerons un modèle sociologique de l’amitié à partir de ces deux auteurs.

Instructor(s): P. Desan     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): FREN 20300
Note(s): Readings and discussions in French. Students with a major other than French can give a presentation in English and write their term paper in English.
Equivalent Course(s): FREN 27620,FREN 37620

Winter Quarter

FNDL 20109. Sartre’s Being and Nothingness. 100 Units.

We propose here a cursive reading of Sartre’s masterpiece of 1943, explaining the whole project of Sartre’s phenomenological ontology. For that we will focus on his polemical relation to German Idealism (mostly Hegel) and to German Phenomenology (Husserl, Heidegger) in order to clarify the meaning of notions that Sartre inherits from these two traditions, like in-itself, for-itself, intentionality, existence, selfhood, pre-reflexive consciousness, negativity, nothingness, etc. (B)

Instructor(s): R. Moati     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Prior knowledge on Descartes, Spinoza, German Idealism, Phenomenology (Husserl, Heidegger) and knowledge in French are highly recommended to attend this course.
Note(s): Undergrads enroll in sections 01 & 02. Graduates enroll in section 03.
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 30109,PHIL 20109

FNDL 20120. Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations. 100 Units.

A close reading of Philosophical Investigations. Topics include: meaning, explanation, understanding, inference, sensation, imagination, intentionality, and the nature of philosophy. Supplementary readings will be drawn from other later writings. (B) (III)

Instructor(s): J. Bridges     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): At least one Philosophy course.
Note(s): Undergrads enroll in sections 01 through 04. Graduates enroll in section 05.
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 30120,PHIL 20120

FNDL 21103. Marsilio Ficino's "On Love" 100 Units.

This course is first of all a close reading of Marsilio Ficino’s seminal book On Love (first Latin edition De amore 1484; Ficino’s own Italian translation 1544). Ficino’s philosophical masterpiece is the foundation of the Renaissance view of love from a Neo-Platonic perspective. It is impossible to overemphasize its influence on European culture. On Love is not just a radically new interpretation of Plato’s Symposium. It is the book through which sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe read the love experience. Our course will analyze its multiple classical sources and its spiritual connotations. During our close reading of Ficino’s text, we will show how European writers and philosophers appropriated specific parts of this Renaissance masterpiece. In particular, we will read extensive excerpts from some important love treatises, such as Castiglione’s The Courtier (Il cortigiano), Leone Ebreo’s Dialogues on Love, Tullia d’Aragona’s On the Infinity of Love, but also selections from a variety of European poets, such as Michelangelo’s canzoniere, Maurice Scève’s Délie, and Fray Luis de León’s Poesía.

Instructor(s): A. Maggi     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): Taught in English.
Equivalent Course(s): ITAL 33900,CMLT 26701,CMLT 36701,ITAL 23900

FNDL 21205. The Tale of Genji. 100 Units.

This course intends to read the Tale of Genji in fulsome detail, to linger on the language as best we can in English translation—though with some particular study of the original—and to delve into such topics as status, gender, duty, love, loyalty, exile, impermanence, and the stakes of narrative. All readings will be in English.

Instructor(s): Malynne Sternstein     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): None
Note(s): Course limit: 10 students; preference granted to third and fourth years and Fundamentals students.

FNDL 21404. Shakespeare II: Tragedies and Romances. 100 Units.

This course is part of the College Course Cluster, The Renaissance. This course will explore a selection of seven or eight plays representing Shakespeare’s mature genres of Tragedy and Romance (the latter a posthumous designation). Like Shakespeare I, this course will examine Shakespeare’s plays as well as the history and limitations of their conceptualization. We will give special attention to the biographical, formal, theatrical, historical, and cultural implications that ensue from the sequencing of Shakespeare’s corpus, before trying out alternatives to the rise and fall paradigm. (D, E)

Instructor(s): E. MacKay     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): ENGL 16500 recommended but not required.
Equivalent Course(s): TAPS 28406,ENGL 16600

FNDL 21820. Italo Calvino: The Dark Side. 100 Units.

An intense reading of Italo Calvino’s later works: We will contemplate the orbital debris of Cosmicomics and t zero, and we will follow the labyrinthine threads of The Castle of Crossed Destinies and Invisible Cities. After stumbling upon the suspended multiple beginnings of If on a winter’s night a traveler, we will probe the possibilities of literature with the essays collected in Una pietra sopra. Finally, we will encounter Mr. Palomar, who will provide us with a set of instructions on how to neutralize the self and "learn how to be dead.” The approach will be both philosophical and historical, focusing on Calvino’s ambiguous fascination with science, his critique of the aporias of reason and the “dementia” of the intellectual, and his engagement with the nuclear threat of total annihilation.

Instructor(s): M.A. Mariani     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): Taught in Italian.
Equivalent Course(s): ITAL 31820,ITAL 21820

FNDL 22309. Zhuangzi: Literature, Philosophy, or Something Else. 100 Units.

The early Chinese book attributed to Master Zhuang seems to be a patchwork of fables, polemical discussions, arguments, examples, riddles, and lyrical utterances. Although it has been central to the development of both religious Daoism and Buddhism, the book is alien to both traditions. This course offers a careful reading of the work with some of its early commentaries. 

Instructor(s): Haun Saussy     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Classical Chinese.
Equivalent Course(s): CMLT 21815

FNDL 24002. Kieslowski: The Decalogue. 100 Units.

In this course, we study the monumental series “The Decalogue” by one of the most influential filmmakers from Poland, Krzysztof Kieślowski. Without mechanically relating the films to the Ten Commandments, Kieślowski explores the relevance of the biblical moral rules to the state of modern man forced to make ethical choices. Each part of the series contests the absolutism of moral axioms through narrative twists and reversals in a wide, universalized sphere. An analysis of the films will be accompanied by readings from Kieślowski’s own writings and interviews, including criticism by Zizek, Insdorf, and others.

Instructor(s): B. Shallcross     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): Each half-hour long film will be viewed separately. All materials in English.
Equivalent Course(s): POLI 35302,POLI 25302

FNDL 25650. Dickinson's Poetry. 100 Units.

This course will try to give some sense of the range and power of Emily Dickinson's achievement as a poet. We will wrestle with the major issues that the poetry presents, along with its inherent difficulty: its religious content, its erotic content, its treatment of emotions and psychological states. We will reckon with questions of textual instability, but they will not be the focus of the course. A short paper and a longer paper will be required. (C, G)

Instructor(s): R. Strier     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 38650,ENGL 25650

FNDL 27701. Baudelaire. 100 Units.

An in-depth study of Baudelaire’s works. We will read (in English translation) Les Fleurs du mal, Les Petits poèmes en prose, and selections from his art criticism, in order to develop a perspective on this great poet who was both classical and romantic, both a traditional and a revolutionary artist who helped create modernism.

Instructor(s): R. Warren     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): Taught in English. Students taking the course for French credit will do readings in French and participate in a weekly French discussion section.
Equivalent Course(s): FREN 27701

FNDL 28210. Psychoanalysis and Philosophy. 100 Units.

This course shall read the works of Sigmund Freud. We shall examine his views on the unconscious, on human sexuality, on repetition, transference, and neurotic suffering. We shall also consider what therapy and “cure” consist in, and how his technique might work. We shall consider certain ties to ancient Greek conceptions of human happiness—and ask the question: what is it about human being that makes living a fulfilling life problematic? Readings from Freud’s case studies as well as his essays on theory and technique.  

Instructor(s): J. Lear     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Course for Graduate Students and Upper Level Undergraduates.
Note(s): Undergrads enroll in sections 01, 02, 03, and 04. Graduates enroll in section 05.
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 38209,SCTH 37501,HIPS 28101,PHIL 28210

FNDL 29300. Machiavelli: Discourses on Livey and The Prince. 100 Units.

This course is devoted to reading and discussing Machiavelli's Discourses on Livy and The Prince, supplemented by substantial selections from Livy's History of Rome, followed by a brief reading of Machiavelli's comedy Mandragola. Themes include the roles of princes, peoples, and elites; the merits of republics and principalities; the political effects of pagan and Christian religion and morality; war and empire; founding and reform; virtue and fortune; corruption and liberty; the relevance of ancient history to modern experience; reading and writing; and theory and practice. This course is part of the College Course Cluster, The Renaissance.

Instructor(s): Nathan Tarcov     Terms Offered: Winter. Course taught Winter 2018
Prerequisite(s): Open to undergrads by consent of instructor
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 32100,LLSO 21710,PLSC 20800,SCTH 31710

Spring Quarter

FNDL 21006. Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent: A Simple Tale. 100 Units.

Course centers on Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent: A Simple Tale. Contemporary critics often consider this novel the archetypal fictional work about terrorism, as it is based on the bomb attack that occurred in Greenwich in 1888. The Secret Agent demonstrates, however, much more than its prophetic significance rediscovered after 9/11. Therefore, the course seeks how the novel’s relevance stems in equal measure from Conrad’s interest in a wider political process and his distrust of state power; in particular, the course explores how these forces determine the individual caught in a confining situation. We read The Secret Agent as a political novel, that struggle for solutions defies chaos as well as an imposition of a single ideology or one authorial point of view. Its ambiguities and political antinomies allow for interdisciplinary readings that also present an opportunity to critically overview the established approaches to main Conradian themes. In analyzing the formation of the narrative’s ideology we discuss Conrad’s historical pessimism that demonstrates with sustained irony how capitalism breeds social injustice that, in turn, breeds anarchism. The class also focuses on how the novel exposes duplicity in staging surveillance, terrorism, as well as adjacent forms of violence or sacrifice. Critical texts include several older but still influential readings (Jameson, Eagleton) and the most recent.

Instructor(s): Bożena Shallcross     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): English majors: this course fulfills the Fiction (B) distribution requirement.
Equivalent Course(s): REES 31006,ENGL 21006,ENGL 31006,REES 21006

FNDL 21300. James Joyce's Ulysses. 100 Units.

This course considers themes that include the problems of exile, homelessness, and nationality; the mysteries of paternity and maternity; the meaning of the Return; Joyce's epistemology and his use of dream, fantasy, and hallucinations; and Joyce's experimentation with and use of language.

Instructor(s): S. Meredith     Terms Offered: Spring

FNDL 22517. Greek Historians: Thucydides. 100 Units.

In this course we will read book 1 of Thucydides, his description of the run-up to the Peloponnesian War, in Greek. We will pay attention to Thucydides' style and approach to historiography, sinking our teeth into this difficult but endlessly fascinating text. 

Instructor(s): H. Dik.     Terms Offered: Autumn,Spring
Prerequisite(s): At least two years of Greek.
Equivalent Course(s): GREK 32515,GREK 22515

FNDL 25300. Lolita. 100 Units.

“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul, Lolita: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate, to tap at three on the teeth.” Popular as Nabokov’s “all-American” novel is, it is rarely discussed beyond its psychosexual profile. This intensive text-centered and discussion-based course attempts to supersede the univocal obsession with the novel’s pedophiliac plot as such by concerning itself above all with the novel’s language: language as failure, as mania, and as conjuration. (B)

Instructor(s): M. Sternstein     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 28916,RUSS 23900

FNDL 25802. Philosophical Petrarchism. 100 Units.

This course is a close reading of Petrarch’s Latin corpus. Readings include the Coronation Oration, The Secret, and selections from Remedies for Fortune Fair and Foul, On Illustrious Men, On Religious Leisure, and The Life of Solitude. Special attention is devoted to Petrarch’s letter collections (Letters on Familiar Matters, Letters of Old Age, Book without a Name, etc.) and his invectives. The aim of the course is to familiarize the student with the new and complete Petrarch that emerged in 2004 on the occasion of the 700th anniversary of his birth. Discussion will focus on Petrarch’s self-consciousness as the “father of humanism,” his relationship to Dante, autobiographism, dialogical inquiry, anti-scholasticism, patriotism, and Petrarch’s “civic” reception in the Quattrocento as well as on a comparative evaluation of the nineteenth-century Petrarchs of Alfred Mézières, Georg Voigt, and Francesco De Sanctis.

Instructor(s): R. Rubini     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): ITAL 36002,ITAL 26002

FNDL 26100. Les Misérables. 100 Units.

In this course we read Les Misérables and discuss the work's message, structure, and aesthetic vision. We will be particularly attentive to Victor Hugo's role as an observer of nineteenth-century French society as well as an actor in the political life of his times.

Instructor(s): R. Morrissey     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): FREN 20500
Note(s): All classes and texts in French; presentations preferred in French, but English will be acceptable depending on the concentration. Written work in French or English.
Equivalent Course(s): FREN 36103,FREN 26103

FNDL 27502. Kant’s Critique of Judgment. 100 Units.

With his Critique of the Power of Judgment (1791), Immanuel Kant completed his famous project of offering a “critique” of all our cognitive faculties and their claims to provide us with knowledge that is independent of sense experience. At the same time, he made revolutionary contributions to the philosophical understanding of natural and artistic beauty, and of the structures through which we understand the natural world. We will examine the Critique of Judgment with attention to each of these aspects: its contribution to philosophical aesthetics, to the philosophy of nature, and to Kant’s system of “critical philosophy”. Topics will include: the nature of pleasure and the special pleasure we take in beauty; the “disinterestedness” of aesthetic appreciation; the distinction between the beautiful and the sublime; the structure of teleological understanding and its proper place in our comprehension of the natural world; the distinction between “determining” and “reflecting” judgment; the special role of judgment in relating our understanding of ourselves as inhabitants of the realm of sensible nature to our rational concept of ourselves as agents belonging to a realm of practical freedom. (A) (B) (V)

Instructor(s): M. Boyle     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Undergrads enroll in sections 01 and 02. Graduates enroll in section 03.
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 27502,PHIL 37502

Possible Supporting Courses

Supporting Courses are intended to provide further methodological training, historical context, and conceptual frameworks to enrich the student's engagement with the texts, topics, and ideas relevant to his or her project; the selection of such courses will therefore vary considerably from person to person. The list below is a selection of what Fundamentals students might consider as their Supporting Courses, but it is by no means an exhaustive or prescriptive list. Students are encouraged to make a habit of reading the catalogs of other relevant departments and to comb through Class Search to locate courses that speak to their interests. The program coordinator and the student's advisers are also valuable resources to consult when planning out the academic year.

ANTH 20001Empire and Nation: Varieties of National Experience100
ANTH 20002Discovering Anthropology: Culture, Technology, Mediation100
ANTH 21015Media, Culture, and Society100
ANTH 21107Anthropological Theory100
ANTH 22715Weber, Bakhtin, Benjamin100
ANTH 22915The Crowd100
ARTH 10100Introduction to Art100
ARTH 17610Modernism100
CLCV 25808Roman Law100
CMST 10100Introduction to Film Analysis100
CMST 14460Cinema and Magic100
CMST 14509The Uncanny in Cinema100
CMST 25503Issues in Contemporary Horror100
CMST 27220Classical Film Theory100
EALC 10602Topics in EALC: Past, Present, & Future of the Novel100
EALC 23902Self-Cultivation and the Way in Traditional China100
EALC 24310Nature in Korean Literature and Visual Culture100
EALC 24950Fictions of Selfhood in Modern Japanese Literature100
EALC 26515Literature of the Fantastic and Operatic Adaptation100
EALC 28400Modern Chinese Literature: Communities, Media & Selves100
EALC 28411Thought Reform and Social Control in the PRC100
ENGL 10400Introduction to Poetry100
ENGL 10600Introduction to Drama100
ENGL 10706Introduction to Fiction100
ENGL 15301From the Annals of Wales to Monty Python and the Holy Grail: King Arthur in Legend and History100
ENGL 20550The Gothic Novel100
ENGL 21926People, Places, Things: Victorian Novel Survey100
ENGL 26310Narrating Appetite in the Nineteenth Century100
ENGL 27010The Matter of Black Lives: Hurston and Wright100
ENGL 27250Wealth, Democracy and the American Novel100
FREN 21820Blinding Enlightenment100
FREN 21903Introduction à la littérature française III: Littérature du 19e100
FREN 23217Merveilleux et vraisemblable du moyen âge au XVIIe siècle100
GNSE 10310Theories of Gender and Sexuality100
GRMN 24916Becoming Nothing100
GRMN 25516Dwelling: Literature and Architecture 100
GRMN 26816Authority and Enjoyment100
HIST 22407Medieval England100
HIST 22900The Italian Renaissance100
HIST 24212Japan in the Age of the Samurai100
HIST 25309History of Perception100
HIST 25415History of Information100
HIST 29516History of Skepticism100
ITAL 23410Reading and Practice of the Short Story100
ITAL 24217Italy from Napoleon (1796) to the First Republic (1946)100
ITAL 28702Italian Comic Theater100
NEHC 20037Introduction to Islamic and Jewish Law100
PHIL 20116American Pragmatism100
PHIL 21580Libertarianism100
PHIL 21600Introduction to Political Philosophy100
PHIL 22000Introduction to the Philosophy of Science100
PHIL 23000Introduction to Metaphysics and Epistemology100
PHIL 25000History of Philosophy I: Ancient Philosophy100
PHIL 26000History of Philosophy II: Medieval and Early Modern Philosophy100
PLSC 21802Global Justice and the Politics of Empire100
PLSC 21812Global Ethics100
PLSC 22402Florentine Political Thought100
PLSC 22510Law and Society100
PLSC 22700Happiness100
PLSC 23010Liberalism and Empire100
PLSC 23313Democracy and Equality100
PLSC 24302Philosophy, Rhetoric, and Politics100
PLSC 24502Feminists Read "the Greeks"100
PLSC 25610Authority, Obligation, and Dissent100
PLSC 28102Political Theory in Dark Times100
PLSC 28620The Intelligible Self100
PLSC 28701Introduction to Political Theory100
PLSC 28800Introduction to Constitutional Law100
PSYC 21950Language, Culture, and Thought100
PSYC 23000Cultural Psychology: Philosophical and Theoretical Foundations100
PSYC 23860Beyond Good and Evil: The Psychology of Morality100
PSYC 24055The Psychological Foundations of Wisdom100
PSYC 25901Psychology for Citizens100
REES 22008The Fact of the Prague Spring: 1949-1989100
REES 25600Realism in Russia100
REES 25602Russian Short Fiction: Experiments in Form100
REES 29010Strangers to Ourselves: Émigré Lit from Russia and SE Europe100
REES 29018Imaginary Worlds: The Fantastic and Magic Realism in Russia and Southeastern Europe100
RLST 21801Religion and Society in the Middle Ages100
RLST 23400Introduction to Christian Theology100
RLST 23900Buddhist Thought in India and Tibet100
RLST 23904Ethical and Theological Issues in Hinduism100
RLST 26150Introduction to Buddhism100
SALC 20901Indian Philosophy I: Origins and Orientations100
SALC 20902Indian Philosophy II: The Classical Traditions100
SOCI 20002Social Structure and Change100
SOCI 20005Sociological Theory100
SOCI 20242States, Markets, and Bodies100
SPAN 21500Introducción al análisis literario100
SPAN 21703Introducción a las literaturas hispánicas: textos españoles clásicos100
SPAN 21803 Introducción a las literaturas hispánicas: textos españoles contemporáneos100
SPAN 21903Introducción a las literaturas hispánicas: textos hispanoamericanos desde la colonia a la independencia100
SPAN 21910Contemporary Catalan Literature100
SPAN 22003Introducción a las literaturas hispánicas: del Modernismo al presente100
SPAN 26620Imagining the Self100



Malynne Sternstein
Foster 406

E. John Ellison
Gates-Blake 125

Administrative Assistant
Susan Rueth
HM 235