Explores concepts and questions in the field of bioethics and addresses key debates from different philosophical, social, and cultural perspectives.
Each week we discuss one artistic monument as an exemplar of cultural conditions in that period, which we explore through slides in class and on our website. Exploring the meaning of the one monument, we then juxtapose pertinent contemporary readings that reveal basic themes of the western tradition. Our knowledge base is cumulative, so that what we learned in the first few weeks resonates in the later ones. We recognize themes, variations of those themes, and new departures as we move from the ancient to the modern periods.
Student learning goals
1. To examine the context for the making of 10 public art monuments of the western tradition;
2. Learn the ways of seeing and understanding these monuments in various media;
3. Engage in close reading and understanding of the literary texts;
4. Come to a synthesis between word and image for each of the monuments and surrounding literature;
5. Make intellectual and artistic connections across the visual and textual examples and across the centuries.
General method of instruction
We intersperse lecture/discussion in a lively interchange with small group work on the readings, unpacking passages from philosophical, theological, literary, and critical theoretical works.
Any previous course in western philosophy, art history, or literature will be helpful. Usually the class is composed of students with varied backgrounds, but there are always numerous students with deepened understanding on a variety of subjects that help inform our general knowledge base as we move through the weeks of the class.
Class assignments and grading
There are no formal exams, but short quizzes on the weekly readings are to be expected, The weight of the intellectual work is realized through five assigned argumentative papers, one for every two units, of which four are required. Students are encouraged to complete first paper assignment , so that they all learn from this experience, but only three more are required out of the remaining four. If a student chooses to write all five papers, the worst grade is dropped from the grade calculation.
Grades are based on class participation (20%) and four papers are 20% each.