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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Mark H. Purcell
CEP 301
Seattle Campus

The Idea of Community

Theories of community and communal rights and responsibilities. Experience building a learning community within major. Explores struggles for community in every sector of life. Offered: A.

Class description

What is a community? Why do people form communities? What kind of community is the best? At the heart of CEP is the idea of community. It is fundamental to the academic curriculum and the lived experience of the major. This class is "the community class," but it can only be, in 10 weeks, an introduction to the idea of community. We intend for this quarter to provide you with a solid foundation on which you can continue to extend and deepen your understanding of community in the quarters to come.

To develop that foundation, we will examine some seminal thinkers in the history of the massive scholarship on community: Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Marx, and Proudhon. These are by no means the last word in humanity’s collective wisdom on the idea of community. But in a sense their work serves as the deep roots of the idea that virtually all subsequent inquiry affirms, builds on, or reacts against. That’s why they are a good way to begin an examination the idea of community.

In addition to this close academic examination of the idea of community, we will also learn about community this quarter by creating and practicing it among ourselves. This will mean working together closely as a cohort and class, becoming aware of commonalities and differences, and mastering a set of practical skills—active listening, communicating, facilitating, thinking, writing, etc.—that will help our CEP community function and thrive.

Because "community" is so central to the CEP experience, your investigation of community will continue long after this class. Reading and understanding the material this quarter will not be easy. You will have to work hard. But we promise that if you do, you will gain a wealth of exceptionally useful wisdom that will be invaluable for grasping the opportunities and facing the challenges you will encounter over the next two years.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Mark H. Purcell
Date: 09/24/2009