Studies of Politics and Society
Democracy: Ancient and Modern
People cite it, refute it, debate it, fight and die for it, but what is democracy? This seminar ventures an interdisciplinary investigation of democracy, both ancient and modern, its origins, history and evolution, and legacy. This course will draw on a variety of evidence, from the archaeology of Classical Athens to modern political thought. Students will then lead discussions that focus on detailed examination of democracy. Topics will include an analysis of democracy’s diagnostic features, diachronic changes in democratic values and processes, an evaluation of the influence of ancient democracy on the earliest modern democratic systems (USA 1776, France 1789-93, Greece 1821-1830), and the variant forms of its modern revival.
Studies of Culture and Criticism
Myth and Meaning in America
“In a fractured age, when cynicism is a god, here is a possible heresy: we live by stories, we also live in them. One way or another we are living the stories planted in us early or along the way, or we are also living the stories we planted—knowingly or unknowingly—in ourselves. We live stories that either give our lives meaning or negate it with meaninglessness. If we change the stories we live by, quite possibly we change our lives” That is African novelist Ben Okri, but his insight isn’t geographically or culturally limited. We could even say that it applies uniquely to America because America is a story of its own uniqueness. America sees itself through other lenses as well, such as chosen, natural, Christian, millennial, capitalistic, and innocent. Combining theoretical studies of mythology with American historical particulars and interdisciplinary studies in literature, art, music, and dance, Myth and Meaning in America will explore and analyze the many meanings of America from inside and outside of its myths
Studies in Non-Western Cultures and Societies
World Music is designed to visually and aurally introduce the student to a variety of musical traditions from around the global, thereby giving the student a footing in ethnomusicology—the study of music and it’s relationship to history, culture, sociology, and anthropology. This course explores traditional, ceremonial, and popular music from Sub-Saharan Africa, India, Asia, the Middle East, Indonesia, Latin America, North America, and Europe. Students should develop not only a working knowledge about music, but also the ability to discuss musical happenings and relate music to a variety of cultural events.
56:606:689:90 & 91
Professor Stuart Charmé
Independent study of a special interest to the student, under supervision of an advisor chosen in consultation with the program director.