First Year Seminar


I The First-Year Seminar Requirement

All first-year students are required to take two Seminars, one in the fall and the other in the spring semester. The Seminars are courses in which the student is introduced to the literary, philosophical, and artistic legacies of several interrelated cultures. Works are chosen to represent a wide range of intellectual discourse, from poetry, drama, and fiction, to history, philosophy, and polemic.

Course Description - Fall 1996 Semester

This semester the First-Year Seminar explores what constitutes education, and how education is culturally, politically, economically, and socially determined. Who decides how to educate and who receives education? Who is excluded from education and how does this exclusion define education? In what ways is education important, both to individuals and societies? How do great thinkers assess their own educations and those of others? Education has been figured both as the introduction of a body of knowledge into a more or less receptive (and empty) mind and as the drawing out of the individual's inherent potential. How do the two models of education play themselves out in various works? This seminar will not be about teaching methods, but about definitions of education; resistance to education; problems with education; responsibilities in the transmission of knowledge; gender and education; the Bildungsroman, autobiography, and education; the philosophy of education; the politics of education; and the like. Each section will read four core texts, supplemented with additional readings. The core texts are:

Plato: Republic
On the Education of Children

Virginia Woolf: A Room of One's Own
W.E.B. Du Bois:
The Souls of Black Folk

The seminars have been devided into three groups. Please continue.