Core Curriculum

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  • CAS CC 101: Core Humanities I: The Ancient World
    Beginning with the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh, CC 101 delves into big questions about the origins of our world, the relation of the divine and the human, and the origins and nature of human civilization. For insight into how the ancient Hebrews and Greeks conceived and debated these topics in religious, literary, and philosophical terms, we read touchstone works including Genesis, Homer, Greek tragedy, and Plato. Study of architectural forms and purposes gives CC 101 students another way of access to the ancient world when we explore the relation of beauty, mathematics, and society through a study of the Parthenon and its role in Athenian Imperialism.
  • CAS CC 102: Core Humanities II: Antiquity and the Medieval World
    Extending the reach of Core to China, India, and medieval Europe, CC 102 focuses our attention on a study of the "Way" -- how human life should best be lived. We read and compare viewpoints on the why and how of living well from Aristotle, Confucius, Laozi and the Bhagavad-gita, through Virgil, the Gospels, and Dante. A study of Western and Asian art at the Museum of Fine Arts complements course readings and enables students to immerse themselves in the visions of very different cultures. (CC 102 includes frequent writing instruction, workshops, and individual consultations with Core Writing Fellows. When taken in addition to CC 101, CC 102 gives credit for WR 100.)
  • CAS CC 111: Core Natural Science I: Origins
    From where do we come? This course explores our understanding of the origins of the Universe, the earth, life on earth, and human life through the various lenses of astronomy, geology, biology, and anthropology. Carries natural sciences (with lab) divisional credit in CAS.
  • CAS CC 112: Core Social Science I: Religion and the Roots of Community
    Examines modern social science and its precursors with a particular focus on the nature of religion and its place in human society. Includes classic originating works of social and political thought, case studies, and modern perspectives on religion and secularism. Carries social sciences divisional credit in CAS.
  • CAS CC 201: Core Humanities III: The Renaissance
    The nature of the self and of reality comes into question in CC 201, which traces a growing emphasis on the importance of the individual, an increasing loss of religious and philosophical certainties, and an emerging instability in social structures, from the rediscovery of the Classical world in the Renaissance through the rise of the nation state. We look at the forging of "national" identities in Montaigne, Don Quixote, and Shakespeare as well as the origins of modern scientific thought in Bacon and Descartes; and we explore powerful expressions of Renaissance ferment in the art of the Sistine Chapel, Velázquez' portraits, and the music of Bach. (CC 201 features research and writing assignments where students receive expert guidance from Mugar research librarians and CAS humanities department faculty. When taken in addition to CC 101 and 102, CC 201 gives credit for WR 150.)
  • CAS CC 202: Core Humanities IV: From the Enlightenment to Modernity
    The conflicts of reason and passion, the nature of violence and love, and radical reevaluations of good and evil are central themes taken up as CC 202 moves from the Enlightenment through the Romantic Revolt to the Modern World. We read Kant, Rousseau, Jane Austen, the Romantic poets, and Nietzsche, listen to Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, and view tensions between order and chaos in the art of Goya. We also consider how the first generations of U.S. authors cultivated and critiqued the idea of America and claimed a place for their new nation in the modern world, through a study of Thoreau, Dickinson and Whitman, Du Bois, and T. S. Eliot. CC 202 concludes open-endedly with twentieth-century Modernism and its newly fragmented view of reality.
  • CAS CC 203: Core Social Science I: Foundations of the Social Sciences
    Provides a historical framework for understanding the origins and concerns of the social sciences and the major events and processes that have shaped the twentieth century both in the United States and around the world. Readings are drawn from classic works of social and political theory: Aristotle, Tacitus, Ibn Khaldun, Hobbes, Rousseau, Tocqueville, Weber, Marx, and Durkheim.
  • CAS CC 204: Core Social Science II: The Problem of Inequality
    Focuses on the problems of inequality and the response of contemporary social scientists. Topics include psychological and sociological models of human identity, race and immigration, and contemporary theories of justice, globalization, and the international order. The course includes significant study of American society.
  • CAS CC 211: Core Social Science II: Power, Political Forms, and Economics
    Studies the beginnings of the modern nation state, ideas of human rights and self-determination, and different visions of the relation of the individual and society. Readings from classic works such as Ibn Khaldun, Hobbes, Rousseau, Tocqueville, Adam Smith, and Marx. Carries social science divisional credit in CAS.
  • CAS CC 212: Core Natural Science II: Science and the Modern World
    Studies the paradigm-shifting scientific theories that forced the twentieth century into a new understanding of our relation to the physical world, beginning with quantum theory and relativity, and then exploring the second law of thermodynamics, emergence, neuroscience, and artificial intelligence. Carries natural science divisional credit in CAS.