Concentration in Western Civilization and American Institutions
The concentration in Western Civilization and American Institutions is our original program. It offers students the opportunity to take a less structured sequence of courses in the great books than that required by the Certificate Program in Core Texts and Ideas.
The student must fulfill the following requirements:
- Completion of the requirements of a major.
- Three semester hours of political philosophy, chosen from CTI 302, CTI 303, GOV 351C, GOV 351D, and any section of GOV 335M that is cross-listed with CTI.
- Fifteen additional semester hours of coursework, chosen from the list of CTI qualifying courses.
This program is offered to undergraduates in all colleges of the University. To register, please sign up with our academic advisor, Nathan Vickers.
Core Texts of Western Civilization SequenceStudents interested in a chronological study of the great books of Western Civilization may wish to pursue the following sequence of courses to fulfill the Concentration in Western Civilization and American Institutions:
CTI 304 The Bible and its Interpreters
A close reading of extensive selections from both the Hebrew Bible and New Testament, with special attention to fundamental questions raised in the texts, accompanied by selections from major interpreters of those passages from different religious and philosophical schools of thought.
CTI 301 Ancient Philosophy and Literature
Classical philosophy and literature primarily from ancient Greece, exploring fundamental questions about human nature, justice, ethics, and humanity’s place in the cosmos. Readings will include one or more masterpieces of epic or tragedy and one or more dialogues of Plato.
PHL 349 History of Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy
An examination of the most significant and representative philosophers of medieval and Renaissance Europe, with a view both to their historical significance and their contemporary relevance.
CTI 350 Masterworks of World Drama
A study of great tragedies, comedies, and historical plays from various epochs, including at least one play of Shakespeare, with attention both to the craft of the playwright and to the works’ explorations of problems of ethics, politics, and human nature. Includes viewing and discussion of at least one performance.
GOV 351D Theoretical Foundations of Modern Politics
Major works of political philosophy that have shaped the modern world. Explores modern theorists’ revolutionary teachings on the aims and limits of politics, the role of morality in the harsh world of political necessity, the proper place of religion and reason in political life, and the nature and basis of justice, freedom, and equality.
GOV 312P America’s Constitutional Principles: Core Texts
Close readings from primary texts that have shaped or that reflect deeply on American democracy, including the Declaration of Independence, The Federalist Papers, and Tocqueville’s Democracy in America.
Through this sequence of courses, students will typically study the following works and authors:
Plato, selected dialogues
Homer, Iliad, Odyssey
Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus, Antigone
St. Augustine, City of God, Confessions
St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologia
Maimonides, Guide of the Perplexed
Thomas More, Utopia
Shakespeare, selected plays
Locke, Second Treatise of Government
Rousseau, First and Second Discourses
Declaration of Independence
United States Constitution
Madison, Hamilton, and Jay, The Federalist Papers
Schiller and Lessing, selected plays
Tocqueville, Democracy in America
Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil