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December 30 , 2010

Culture & Values of the Western World

A Syntopical Course Guide


A course virtual text package that will serve as a general interdisciplinary “review” of the Western intellectual and historical tradition.
Simply put, the Humanities study human culture throughout the world from the first moment of human existence until the present.  Because all of cultural history is such a vast subject, humanists often aim to study certain cultures at certain times and to investigate representative cultural production that seems to best capture the human spirit—those “true and beautiful” works that best make sense of who we are, where we have come from and where we are going.
In this course, we will focus principally on Western humanistic traditions from approximately 900 B.C. to the present day.  We will be looking at how Western cultural traditions answer the perennial questions (“Who are we?” and “Where did we come from?” and “Where are we going?”) in ways that seem to strike us as true, wise or beautiful. In order to find different answers to these existential questions, we will study the plastic arts, music, architecture, cinema, philosophy, religion, poetry, drama and literature from both a historical and a thematic perspective.  There will be a focus on how the Judeo-Christian tradition has served as the baseline for culture and values in the Western World.

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