Sophomore Level Courses

ENG 1975-H01 Beauty

HELENA TOMKO
TR 11:30-12:45


“What beauty saves the world?”—Dostoyevsky, The Idiot
Where do we find the beautiful? How does an encounter with beauty change us? Does it move us to love and to justice? Or does it mislead and seduce us? Does beauty walk rightly with goodness and truth, or do philosophical and theological concerns distract and deaden the artist or the lover? These questions will guide our inquiry into the beautiful across disciplines and across centuries. We will read literary works by Dante, T.S. Eliot, Keats, Oscar Wilde, James Baldwin, Wallace Stevens, Flannery O’Connor and Karen Blixen and attend to visual and musical encounters with the beautiful. We will pursue the contested interpretations of beauty among thinkers such as Plato, Pater, and Aquinas, as well as more recent assessments by Jacques Maritain, Josef Pieper, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and Iris Murdoch. With these great minds, we attempt to solve the mystery of whether beauty really can save the world.

Restricted to students in the Global Scholars Humanities and Good True Beautiful Cohorts.

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ENG 1975-H02 Beauty

MICHAEL TOMKO
TR 11:30-12:45


“What beauty saves the world?”—Dostoyevsky, The Idiot
Where do we find the beautiful? How does an encounter with beauty change us? Does it move us to love and to justice? Or does it mislead and seduce us? Does beauty walk rightly with goodness and truth, or do philosophical and theological concerns distract and deaden the artist or the lover? These questions will guide our inquiry into the beautiful across disciplines and across centuries. We will read literary works by Dante, T.S. Eliot, Keats, Oscar Wilde, James Baldwin, Wallace Stevens, Flannery O’Connor and Karen Blixen and attend to visual and musical encounters with the beautiful. We will pursue the contested interpretations of beauty among thinkers such as Plato, Pater, and Aquinas, as well as more recent assessments by Jacques Maritain, Josef Pieper, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and Iris Murdoch. With these great minds, we attempt to solve the mystery of whether beauty really can save the world.

Restricted to students in the Global Scholars Humanities and Good True Beautiful Cohorts.

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ENG 1975-H03 Beauty

REBECCA CHERICO
TR 11:30-12:45


“What beauty saves the world?”—Dostoyevsky, The Idiot
Where do we find the beautiful? How does an encounter with beauty change us? Does it move us to love and to justice? Or does it mislead and seduce us? Does beauty walk rightly with goodness and truth, or do philosophical and theological concerns distract and deaden the artist or the lover? These questions will guide our inquiry into the beautiful across disciplines and across centuries. We will read literary works by Dante, T.S. Eliot, Keats, Oscar Wilde, James Baldwin, Wallace Stevens, Flannery O’Connor and Karen Blixen and attend to visual and musical encounters with the beautiful. We will pursue the contested interpretations of beauty among thinkers such as Plato, Pater, and Aquinas, as well as more recent assessments by Jacques Maritain, Josef Pieper, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and Iris Murdoch. With these great minds, we attempt to solve the mystery of whether beauty really can save the world.

Restricted to students in the Global Scholars Humanities and Good True Beautiful Cohorts.

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ENG 1975-H04 HON CORE SEM: WIDE SKY & LONG GREEN

CATHERINE STAPLES
TR 1:30 – 2:15

What do modern day organic farming, bee-keeping, and bird-banding have to do with country life and the concept of the pastoral as seen in poetry, prose, and fiction, ranging from Virgil, Wordsworth, Thoreau and Frost to Rick Bass, Annie Dillard, Henry Beston, Claudia Emerson, Seamus Heaney, Maxine Kumin, Julia Shipley, Alison Hawthorne Deming, Linda Hasselstrom Aimee Nezhukumatathil and Ross Gay. Is the desire to live and work deliberately and simply in the natural world an idealized notion or is it full of harsh realities and rural truths? Is it both? What is the nature of contentment? The course relies on primary texts and invites close reading of these texts through a variety of writing forms. Students will write critically and creatively. Our field trips to Rushton Farm will be occasions for writing, for deepening the semester-long inquiry into pastoral traditions. As we tour Rushton farm, we might begin to see the practical applications of Virgil’s two-thousand-year-old advice about planting, harvesting, and animal husbandry in the Georgics. With a warbler or owl banding session, we’ll get a glimpse of the intimacy between the human and the wild.

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ETH 2050-H01: The Good Life: Eth & Cont Prob

Brett Wilmont 
TR 2:30 PM- 3:45 PM

This course will introduce you to classic and contemporary sources in ethics, including primary sources from thinkers such as Aristotle, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Immanuel Kant, and John Stuart Mill. In addition, we will be reading a range of modern sources that will gives us the opportunity to explore these thinkers’ ideas and how they continue to inform our present-day moral discourse around contemporary topics. We will be discussing matters related to sexuality, economics, and euthanasia/assisted suicide. The main objectives are to promote a more sophisticated grasp of the moral dimensions of human life and an increased awareness of our continued participation in complex, living traditions of critical reflection on what it means to be moral and how to live a good human life.

 

Restricted to students in the Business and Society Cohort

 

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ETH 2050-H02: The Good Life: Eth & Cont Prob

Mark Doorley
MW 1:30-2:45

This course involves students in the ongoing conversation about what constitutes the good life.  That conversation involves ancient and modern thinkers, both philosophers and theologians, as well as people alive today, struggling with questions that each generation seeks to answer:  What is the good life?  What kind of community do we want to create?  What does justice demand of me?  Of us?  Does it matter what I believe about human nature, or about God, or about society when it comes to how I live my life?  Is being happy the same thing as being a good person?  One goal of the course is to provide students with “toe holds” into this longstanding conversation.  Another goal is to enable students to engage these resources as they might bear upon some contemporary moral challenge and/or reality.  These goals will be accomplished through a combination of the following:  reading challenging texts, examining some contemporary moral challenges, and writing essays designed to synthesize the insights of the first two activities.

This is also a service-learning course.  Everyone in this class is also a member of the Sophomore Service-Learning Community.  You will all be involved in some kind of service, whether working with children in public school or after school programs, tutoring adults working for their GED, or engaging with people who are some of the most vulnerable in our society.  Regardless of what you are doing as service, the course content will regularly call upon that service experience, and at its best, the course content will provide a helpful lens to understand oneself and the world one experiences in and through the service.

Restricted to students in the SLC

 

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ETH 2050-H03: The Good Life: Eth & Cont Prob

JEFFREY MORGAN
TR 8:30-9:45

This course involves students in the ongoing conversation about what constitutes the good life. That conversation involves ancient and modern thinkers, both philosophers and theologians, as well as people alive today, struggling with questions that each generation seeks to answer: What is the good life? What does justice demand of me? Of us? Does it matter what I believe about human nature, or about God, or about society when it comes to how I live my life? Is being happy the same thing as being a good person? One goal of the course is to provide students with “toe holds” into this longstanding conversation. Another goal is to enable students to engage these resources as they might bear upon some contemporary moral challenge and/or reality. These goals will be accomplished through a combination of the following: reading challenging texts, examining some contemporary moral challenges, and writing essays designed to synthesize the insights of the first two activities.

 

 

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HON 2002-001, 2005-001 INTERDISC III

EUGENE MCCARRAHER (HIS), MARK WILSON (ETH)
MWF 10:30-12:20

HON 2002-McCarraher
The idea of “progress” has dominated the Western world since the middle of the 18th century. Scientific and technological development, industrialization, democracy, the “disenchantment” of ancient religious beliefs and popular superstitions – these and other historical changes of the last two hundred and sixty years have enlarged our knowledge of the world, extended the length and health of our lives, and multiplied our material comforts. Thus, we’ve come to believe almost instinctively that “progress” has been unambiguously positive, and hope that it will continue indefinitely. Yet these same processes of modernization have provoked profound and often militant doubt, criticism, and resistance, often from among the most learned and sophisticated representatives of modern culture. And at the beginning of the 21st century – with capitalist “globalization” in disarray, with climate change an unavoidable challenge, and with the emergence of a new religious “awakening” all over the world -- new quandaries about the meaning of “progress” have already begun to appear.
I will be tracing both the idea of “progress” and the currents of discontent with progress from the mid-18th to the early 20th century. Readings will cover economics, social thought, political philosophy, and cultural criticism. Representative authors will include David Hume, Adam Smith, William Blake, Karl Marx, John Ruskin, Max Weber, Fyodor Dostoevsky, William James, and Simone Weil.

 

HON 2005-Wilson
This course examines selected themes in late eighteenth-, nineteenth-, and early twentieth-century Western cultural history. Along with the emphasis on history, economics, and the social sciences provided by Dr. McCarraher’s part of Interdisc III, this course highlights theological and ethical themes as well. Complementing Professor McCarraher’s considerations of progress, I will invite us to explore the moral and religious “self” that emerges in the wake of the Reformation and the Enlightenment. One way to interpret Western modernity is to see it as a radical reimagining of the self and its relationship to others and the divine. This story of progress entails the liberation of one’s authentic self from the tethers of tradition, superstition, and social convention. The modern self, so construed, aims to be an autonomous agent whose loves, commitments, obligations, and beliefs (not to mention jobs, votes, and purchases) are freely chosen and self-expressive. The ancient Delphic command to “know thyself” is in this paradigm a challenge to discern what is private, interior, and uniquely yours.

As with all history, this story is one among many and is challenged by alternative visions. We will explore these stories and the tensions between them with a focus on the way that they inform and complicate our contemporary experience. When we eat, love, and pray, we do so as the children of a complex and often confused parentage in modernity. By studying the works of 18th-20th century theologians, philosophers, and ethicists, we will attempt to better understand the operative and often overlooked assumptions we make about human nature, freedom, goodness, and God, and why (perhaps) our hope for progress depends on this.

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Villanova University
Garey Hall 106
800 Lancaster Ave.
Villanova, PA 19085
Phone: 610.519.4650
Fax: 610.519.5405