Fall Semester Courses
Welcome, admitted students in the Class of 2024! Please pay particular attention to the descriptions below for our fall first-year courses, CC 101 and CC 111. If you are ready to reserve a place in Core for the coming fall semester, submit your reservation request here >>
CAS CC 101: Core Humanities I: Ancient Worlds. Fall. (course homepage) An interdisciplinary study of the origins of civilization, from Mesopotamia and the Hebrew Bible to the development of Greek civilization through Homer, tragedy, and the philosophy of Plato. We consider the contrasting values of the different cultures that have contributed to our own worldview with particular relation to the expression of those cultures in literature and the visual arts. Students explore the nature of creativity as it is examined in the works studied and engage with the visual culture of ancient Greece in its relation to beauty and power by studying the Parthenon and works at the Boston MFA. Hub credits: Aesthetic Exploration; Global Citizenship & Intercultural Literacy; Creativity/Innovation.
CAS CC 111: Core Natural Science I: Origins—of the Big Bang, Earth, Life and Humanity. Fall. (course homepage can be accessed by enrolled students via learn.bu.edu) The origins of the physical world, a scientific parallel to CC 101. Explores how the fields of astronomy, earth science, biology, and anthropology help us to understand our place in the cosmos from a scientific perspective. Topics include the Big Bang, evolution of the stars and earth, evolution of life, and the origins of human life and society. Assignments include computer-based and experimental laboratory work as well as team-based investigation and original research. Hub credits: Scientific Inquiry I; Quantitative Reasoning I; Teamwork/Collaboration.
CAS CC 201: Core Humanities III: Renaissance, Rediscovery, and Reformation. Fall. (course homepage) Reading Petrarch, Machiavelli, Montaigne, Cervantes, Shakespeare, Descartes, and Cavendish, we examine the revival of the Classics and explore the new focus on the physical world and questioning of authority. Topics studied include the origins of modern political and scientific thought, the beginning of the novel and revival of epic, and Baroque aesthetics. A study of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel and Monteverdi’s music add an artistic lens to study of this period, and a focus on writing and research complements our emphasis on authorship. Note: Students who complete CC 201 have the opportunity to go to Florence over the January 2021 winter break. Hub credits: Research Writing (WR 150); Research & Information Literacy.
CAS CC 221: Core Social Science I: Making the Modern World: Progress, Politics, and Economics. Fall. (course homepage) How did “society” emerge as a distinctive object of political engineering, normative discourse, and social scientific inquiry? What economic transformations helped shape theories of justice and social contract? Careful readings of Western social, political and economic thinkers between 1600-1900. Hub credits: Historical Consciousness; Social Inquiry II; Writing Intensive. Note: This course was previously offered as CC 211.
Spring Semester Courses
CAS CC 102: Core Humanities II: The Way: Antiquity and the Medieval World. Spring. (course homepage) How to live? Examining Aristotle, Confucius, Laozi, the Bhagavad-gita, Virgil, and the Gospels, students compare contrasting Biblical, Classical and Eastern views of “The Way,” or the best human life, concluding with Dante’s Divine Comedy. A focus on writing and oral / signed communication leads to an exploration of the nature of communication, while a study of Western and Asian art at the Museum of Fine Arts brings out the contrast of traditions and deepens Core’s overall study of the relation of the individual to culture and to nature. Hub credits: Foundational Writing (WR 120); Oral and/or Signed Communication.
CAS CC 112: Core Social Science I: Religion, Social Thought and the Roots of Society. Spring. Examines the relation of religion and culture alongside various approaches to change or reform, through the works of St. Augustine and John Locke; looks at early European attempts to understand other cultures, in the cases of Spanish missionaries in Latin America and the Jesuits in China; and concludes with the study of twentieth-century social scientists—James, Durkheim, and Evans-Pritchard—who endeavored to analyze culture, belief and society. We discuss what is a just war, whether we have natural rights, and whether tolerance is a utopian ideal, with a particular focus on the nature of critical thought and the various modes of argumentation employed in the works studied. Hub credits: Social Inquiry I; Global Citizenship & Intercultural Literacy; Critical Thinking. Will not be offered after Spring 2020; beginning in AY2020-21, the former Core social sciences sequence CC 112 (first-year) / CC 211 (second-year) will be replaced with CC 221 (fall) and CC 222 (spring).
CAS CC 202: Core Humanities IV: From the Enlightenment to Modernity. Spring. (course homepage) Through Voltaire, Kant, Austen, the English Romantic Poets, Whitman and Dickinson, as well as the music of Beethoven, we examine questions of social hierarchy and what it means to know, the relation of subjectivity to reason, and our relationship with nature. Then, from the radical perspective of Nietzsche, returning to 20th-century America with W.E.B. Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folk, and ending with Virginia Woolf’s Modernist response to World War I, we see the roots of the modern world’s questioning of what is knowable and our revaluation of the moral and philosophic bases of human life. Hub credits: Philosophical Interpretation & Life’s Meanings; Ethical Reasoning; Writing Intensive.
CAS CC 212: Core Natural Science II: Science, Reality and the Modern World. Spring. (course homepage can be accessed by enrolled students via learn.bu.edu) Studies the paradigm-shifting scientific theories of quantum theory and relativity that created a new world view and forced the 20th century into a new understanding of our relation to reality. Examines chaos theory and parallels these ideas with current debates and discoveries in science, such as climate change and the phenomenon of allegedly “junk science”. Considers the role of science in the modern world, how we know what we know, and the nature of truth in a 21st century context. Hub credits: Scientific Inquiry II; Quantitative Reasoning II; Critical Thinking.
CAS CC 222: Core Social Science II: “Unmaking” the Modern World: the Psychology, Politics, and Economics of the Self. Spring. (course homepage) Can we ever be free? Confronting the legacy of Enlightenment philosophy in the modern era, students encounter the postmodern psychological, political, and economic theories that expose the paradoxes behind freedom and individual rights ideologies framing slavery, colonialism, ethno-nationalism, capitalist exploitation, sexism, and institutional racism. Hub credits: Philosophy and Life’s Meanings; Social Inquiry II; Critical Thinking.
Core Digital/Multimedia Expression Courses
CAS CC 220: Multimedia Encounters with Core Texts. Two credits. Allows Core students to re-imagine a favorite Core text in a new, digital format and context. Each section will focus on a particular Core work and students will decide upon and develop a new mediation of that work, developing a final project to be made available to the Core community and beyond. Prerequisite: Students must demonstrate previous experience of studying, performing, or otherwise engaging with the text on a sophisticated level, or must receive consent from the instructor. In Spring 2021, the textual focus is Hecuba by Euripides; facilitated by Hamill. Hub credits: Digital/Multimedia Expression.
CAS CC 320: Extended Multimedia Encounters with Core Texts. Four credits. Allows Core students to re-imagine a favorite Core text in a new, digital format and context. Each section will focus on a particular Core work and students will decide upon and develop a new mediation of that work, developing a final project to be made available to the Core community and beyond. Prerequisite: Students must demonstrate previous experience of studying, performing, or otherwise engaging with the text on a sophisticated level, or must receive consent from the instructor. In Spring 2021, the textual focus is Attar’s Conference of the Birds; facilitated by Tabatabai. Hub credits: Digital/Multimedia Expression; Creativity/Innovation; Teamwork/Collaboration. Prereq: CC 102 or LZ 381 or consent of the instructor.
Minor in Independent Core Studies Capstone
CAS CC 350: Core Capstone. Two-credit course. Spring. Prerequisite: completion of one of the Core Curriculum’s four two-semester course sequences. A workshop for students pursuing the Minor in Core Independent Studies to develop skills in writing, presentation, and public speaking. Students learn to synthesize, refine, and share conclusions reached in pursuit of their capstone project. To declare for this minor, use the Hegis code 1432. This course is not required for the Core Minor (Hegis 1431); for more information on the minors click here.
Core Hub Cocurriculars
>> Related factsheet: “How Core courses satisfy the BU Hub”
HUB (not CAS!) CC 181/182: Co-curricular Core Docent Program. Optional with CC 101 / 102. Trains students to interpret and articulate the literary themes studied in CC 101 and CC 102 and how to transform this learning through designing a museum experience for BU students. Core Docents will learn skills that enable them to look, reflect, interpret, organize, design and articulate visual art that engages with the formal texts and artwork studied in CC 101 and CC 102, and will work with various Boston museums as well as with Core faculty in leading museum tours. Hub credit: Individual in the Community.
HUB (not CAS!) CC 192: Collegiate Publishing – The Core Journal. Spring. This BU Hub co-curricular is designed to run as a hands-on publishing workshop. Over the course of the semester, students will produce The Journal of the Core Curriculum, the annual print anthology of the Core community. Throughout the stages of editorial and production work, we will consider how social and professional aspects of publishing mediate the relationship between individuals and communities. Prerequisite: completion of at least one CAS CC course. Hub credits: Individual in the Community.