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Cultural Heritage—Eight Credits

The dominant culture of the United States has its roots in the history and development of “Western culture” and its interplay with “non-Western” societies. For good or for ill, Western culture is now having an increasingly global impact.

Hope students, whether or not they see the dominant culture of the U.S. as “home turf,” benefit from knowing and critically reflecting upon the cultural heritage of Western civilization.

Whatever path a student chooses in meeting this requirement will provide an introduction to some of the central events, questions and concerns that have shaped Western culture. Students will gain an understanding of historical movements, as well as significant literary and philosophical texts. Through discussion and writing, students are encouraged to develop an informed evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the Western cultural legacy which will contribute greater self-understanding.

How the requirement works

The overall idea of the Cultural Heritage requirement is to include the study of both ancient culture (CH1) and modern culture (CH2) and to give you a college-level introduction to three humanities disciplines: literature, history, and philosophy.

The Cultural Heritage requirement may be fulfilled by taking only two courses if at least one of them is an IDS course and the combination of courses includes attention to all three disciplines. IDS 171 and IDS 172 each include all three disciplines and can thus combine with any other course from the opposite era (ancient or modern). There are also some two-discipline IDS courses (IDS 173-178, odd numbers for CH1, even numbers for CH2); for these, it is important to choose a companion course that covers the missing discipline. IDS 175, for example, is a CH1 course in literature and philosophy, so it needs to be paired with a course that includes history, such as History 131 or 208 or IDS 172, 174, or 178.

Worksheet to see if a combination of CH courses works
Make a 2x3 grid as below. Write the course numbers in each box for which they count. Your cultural heritage requirement is met when there is at least one course in each row and at least one course in each column.


For example, if someone took IDS 175 and HIST 208, it would look like this, with at least one course in each row and one in each column.

Students may also fulfill the requirement with a combination of three single-discipline courses, one each from English, Philosophy, and History, two of which must be 4-credit CH1 and CH2 courses; the third may be a 4- or 2-credit course from the third discipline. Here is how a three-course option might work:


For a complete list of options for fulfilling this requirement, see the college catalog under “Degree Program." If you have questions, contact Prof. Curtis Gruenler, Director of Cultural Heritage.


Fall 2016 Course Descriptions

IDS 171: Families, Justice, Tragedy
Fulfills CH1 for history, literature, and philosophy
Instructor: Greg Bassett
We are individuals, members of families, citizens of a country, and part of the world. What are the relationships between these aspects of our identities? Are families small societies, with their own cultures and laws? Are countries large families, held together by the affections of extended kinship? Do the duties we have to those we love conflict with the duties we have to our country? Do the duties we have to our country conflict with the duties we have to those in other countries? If they do, is there any way to decide how to act, or are we doomed to conflict and tragedy? These are questions we still struggle with today, but we can look to the past for some help in answering them. In this class, we will look at how ancient Greeks attempted to understand the relationship between families and broader society, by examining the history, drama, and philosophy of the period.

IDS 171: Jews, Pagans, and Christians: the Ancient and Medieval Worlds Reconsidered
Fulfills CH1 for history, literature, and philosophy
Instructor: Gloria Tseng
From the heyday of the Roman Empire, when they were a small and vulnerable minority, to the “Christian centuries,” when the papacy was strong enough to rival kings, Christians lived and died in the historical and cultural contexts of their day. They were shaped and informed by their worlds even as they challenged the status quo. As they interacted with the worlds around them, they were in dialog with other cultural and religious traditions. This course will take us on a brief journey of the ancient and medieval worlds and introduce us to their questions and concerns. Emphasis will be given to meditative reading (i.e., texts that call for slow reading and contemplation), and we will consider what they have to say to us in our day in regard to spirituality and other issues of life.

IDS 171: Real Life and the Good Life from Classical Times to Christian
Fulfills CH1 for history, literature, and philosophy; GLI
Instructor: Joseph LaPorte
We all want what’s good for ourselves and others. But how do we do well in life, “get it”—what it’s all about? And in what ways have different people throughout history seen that—or not? In this course, we will be keeping our eyes on these sorts of questions, especially as they relate to sex and gender, power and slavery, and character development. The readings for this course are in large part classics, texts that have through the ages been regarded as masterpieces that transcend their own times. We will be looking at literature, philosophy, and history as well as some theology; we will be covering these disciplines as they apply to classical Greece and Rome, and then as they apply to the newly forming Christian Church which burgeons into a great religion surviving into the middle ages and the Renaissance—the church survives beyond that, of course, but we stop at the Renaissance in this course. Because the course proceeds chronologically, we can see in a powerful way how later authors build on earlier ones. Something that particularly excites me about the course is the way it illustrates how Christianity, which became the dominant religion in the West, was born in a classical world and how Christians came to incorporate classical learning and culture from ancient Greece and Rome.

IDS 171: Freedom, Justice, and the Good Life
Fulfills CH1 for history, literature, and philosophy
Instructor: Dianne Portfleet
This course will focus on 4 specific time periods in history: 5th-century B.C. Greece, 1st-century Rome, beginnings of Islam and its expansion, and Dante's Florence. In each of the historical, philosophical and literary readings, we will be focusing on the themes of freedom, justice and the good life. The last half of the semester will be spent reading the Dante’s complete Divine Comedy and expanding on all of the ideas introduced in the earlier writings.

IDS 171 Romans, Christians, and Barbarians: Western Culture as Synthesis
Fulfills CH1 for history, literature, and philosophy
Instructor: Giannini, Heidi
History is messy. Understanding where we come from involves understanding the interactions of many complex systems, ideals, and events. In this course, we will focus on three traditions that came together in the ancient and medieval periods to give rise to Western culture as we know it: the Greco-Roman, the Judeo-Christian, and the Germanic. While the contributions of Romans and Christians to the development of Western civilization are widely acknowledged, the influence of the Germans – or barbarians, as the Romans called them – is often overlooked. Our class will read philosophical, literary, and historical texts that highlight the ideals of each tradition and discuss the historical forces that brought them together. We will also engage the attempts of philosophical and literary figures to synthesize these traditions. Classes will consist mostly in lecture, but plenty of time will be reserved for discussion.

IDS 171: Sport and the Ancient World: Gender, War, Morality, and Religion
Fulfills CH1 for history, literature, and philosophy
Instructors: Steve Maiullo, Chad Carlson
Sports and athletic competitions were defining aspects of ancient Greek culture: the male athlete’s body epitomized citizen virtue; competitions spurred the production of art and poetry; and the Olympic games were understood as festivals that established criteria for ethnic identity and social division. Even though cheating was a persistent problem, athletic events took place within a religious context, through ritual and mythical associations—a fact that challenges the modern separation of sacred and secular. Philosophers wondered whether sport could be a positive outlet for a human being’s brutal lust for violence and blood.
Rome, by contrast, was a city of spectacles and imperially-sponsored games: gladiators competed for their lives and the public’s favor; wild beast hunts put imperial munificence on display; and the cynical poets suspected that all these shows served to dull the minds of an unsuspecting populace. In the Christian period, we find all the imagery of both sports and spectacles recycled and reimagined as service for Christ.

In short, when it comes to sports, the modern world has inherited from antiquity a mixed legacy of idealism and corruption, peace and violence, morality and religion. This course aims to examine critically the history and social role of sports and spectacles in the ancient world, examining the literature, philosophy, and archaeological remains that they generated at the same time as we discuss the complex evolution of the revivals in modern times, from the Olympics to the World Cup. It will be team-taught in adjacent rooms, with both sections meeting together some days for lectures and separately for discussion.

IDS 172: Enlightenment, Revolution, and Romanticism
Fulfills CH2 for history, literature, and philosophy
Instructor: Anthony N. Perovich Jr.
While the French Revolution was one of the major events of modern history, the buildup to it and the fallout from it are of equal interest, and all three will be examined in this course. This section of IDS 172 is a “three-discipline” interdisciplinary course: it will focus on European history, literature, and philosophy from the middle of the seventeenth century to the middle of the nineteenth century. Special attention will be paid to the intellectual movement known as “the Enlightenment,” to the Revolution itself and the Napoleonic period that ensued, and to the Romantic movement that sprang up alongside the Revolution and continued beyond it. Figures to be read or studied will include Voltaire, Kant, Goethe, Napoleon, and Hegel. The connections of the main themes of this course to other cultural and historical developments, such as the Scientific Revolution, the American Revolution, and the rise of nationalism, will also be explored.

IDS 172: The West in the World
Fulfills CH2 for history, literature, and philosophy
Instructor: Bill Pannapacker
The West in the World is a fast-paced, ambitious, panoramic survey of the big questions, political systems, technological advances, and cultural movements that have swept over the Western world—in the context of other civilizations—during the last 500 years: from the Renaissance to Postmodernism. The method of the course is interdisciplinary, involving history, literature, philosophy, and, sometimes, the arts. The course is designed to capitalize on the multiple ways—textual, auditory, visual, and practical—that people learn. Giving careful attention to the appropriate methods of each discipline—as well as their points of intersection—we will consider historical documents, philosophical treatises, and literary works, as well as films, paintings, music, and material artifacts—and anything else that helps us to grasp the combination of strangeness and familiarity that characterizes our collective past. This will not be easy. The course requires regular reading (about 100 pages per week), 40 or more pages of writing (spread out over the semester), considerable discussion (with special, “seminar style” meetings required every other week), frequent quizzes and three essay exams, and, of course, a lot of listening, note-taking, and study (the classes are lecture-oriented with ample multimedia supplementation). It’s a challenge, but “Cultural Heritage II” should lay the foundation for a lifetime of growth for you as the heir of a rich cultural legacy and as a citizen of the world.

IDS 174: Native American Literature and History in (What Came to Be Called) North America
Fulfills CH2 for history and literature, GLD
Instructor: Jesus Montano
Chronologically our course begins at the height of the Aztec Empire and proceeds through the colonial period, the ages of nation building and manifest destiny, and finally ends in the Now. In order to avoid the pitfalls of a straight linear chronology, however, our route will begin in modern Mexico with the Zapatista and other indigenous movements. We will proceed back into history, going through the nationalism and colonial periods all the way back to the eve of the Conquest in Mexico. At this point we will venture across the Border, and while staying in the past, we will explore Native American creation stories and the various ways in which people made sense of their relationships to each other, to the world, and to the divine. We will continue on this road, traveling from the early period of contact with Europeans toward the US colonial period and then to the era of expansion and Manifest Destiny. Our course will end by examining modern Native American authors who look back toward the past as a way of discussing modern US issues. The goal of our travels is to understand our cultural inheritance, sometimes through the lens of Western European thought and culture but most time in juxtaposition to it, through the disciplines of history and literature. We will look carefully at governmental treaties and historical events, as well as the thoughts and ideas governing both inter-cultural and intra-cultural dialogue.

IDS 174: Black Feminist Thought: Literary and Historical Roots, 18th -21st centuries
Fulfills CH2 for history and literature, GLI
Parker, Kendra
Students will explore the varied experiences of Black women across the black Diaspora and understand how such experiences shaped the development of black feminist thought. The specific focus of this course will be the literary and historical development black feminism thought over the last 200 years. To avoid the drawbacks of a traditionally linear chronology, students enrolled in this course will learn through a series of carefully crafted units or “cultural touchstones”—enslavement and its legacies, medical care, theology, fetishizing the body, and citizenship. Within each unit, however, we will attempt to privilege a linear chronology of historical context and selections of literature. In doing so, students will explore how these cultural touchstones became some of conduits through which Black women constructed, shaped, and articulated the overarching tenets of what emerged in the late 20th century as “black feminist thought.”
We will begin in the late-eighteenth century Western Europe and the American colonies, understanding the cornerstones of what has become the women’s rights movement in the United States. From there, we explore the transatlantic slave trade and its legacies, particularly those in the West Indies and the United States. Next, we turn to the treatment of black women’s bodies and medical care in France and the United States. Then, we examine contexts of ancient Israel to understand Black women’s fraught relationships with Christian theology and Black theology in West African and American contexts. Then, we explore the “fetishizing” of black women’s bodies and finally turn our attention to the notion of “Citizenship.”
Also fulfills the Global Learning—International requirement and counts as an elective for Women’s and Gender Studies.

IDS 175: Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey
Fulfills CH1 for literature and philosophy
Instructor: James Allis
With Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, we are presented with two of the great metaphors of life, a battle and a journey. In this class, we will read, in translation, these two epic poems which are sometimes said to have “fed” the Western imagination more than any other works in the last 2700 years.
We will begin the course reading the Iliad. The poem has sometimes been described as the greatest war story of all time. Plutarch tells us that Aristotle's pupil Alexander kept the book "with his dagger under his pillow, declaring that he esteemed it a perfect portable treasure of all military virtue and knowledge." Yet while military commanders throughout history have studied this poem of the Trojan War to avoid Agamemnon's errors and to follow Odysseus' tactics, the poem is vastly more than a "war story." With extraordinary rhythms of language and unparalleled metaphors, Homer vividly gives us a “poem of the human condition.” We will explore Achilles’ shame, rage, and withdrawal from human interactions, a culture of honor and glory, the human confrontation with mortality, the relationships between gods and humans, the meaning of courage, the strength of fate and the possibilities for human freedom, the desire for justice and vengeance, the need to keep fighting in the face of certain defeat, acts of friendship, loyalty, and generosity, the heroism of Hector, the complexity and sorrows of war along with the longings for tranquility and peace, the tragedy of Troy, the sorrow of loss, Achilles’ return to battle, the losing and regaining of humanity.
Then we will turn to the story of Odysseus’ ten year journey home from the Trojan War in the Odyssey. Here, too, we find much more than a “story of a journey,” though part of the excitement of the work is the wonderful presentation of Odysseus’ adventures and trials. We’ll investigate the meaning of home and the longing for home, the importance of hospitality in an often inhospitable world, the temptation to find release in death and the strength to resist that temptation, relations between women and men, husbands and wives, parents and children, again the relations between gods and humans and the role of fate, the significance of truth, lies, and deception in pursuing one’s goals, the reunion of Odysseus and Penelope and Odysseus’ killing of the suitors to regain his home. Throughout the story, we will see Odysseus’ continuing struggles to move ultimately from chaos to order.

All are welcome; no background in Greek language or culture is presupposed. The only prerequisite is a certain willingness to explore how it is that in a language we no longer know exactly how to pronounce, this poet Homer, from a world of which we have but the vaguest ideas, incredibly and wonderfully found a way to give us these stories of our human lives, containing, as one recent commentator has put it, “every secret happiness and every hidden sin."

Philosophy 230: Ancient Philosophy
Fulfills CH1 for philosophy
Instructor: Andrew Dell’Olio
This course is an introduction to Western philosophy from its beginning in ancient Greece to Europe during the Middle Ages. Philosophy is the "love of wisdom" or the quest for meaning. Philosophy addresses what might be called the "big questions" of human existence: Who am I and what is real? What is the source of my existence and the existence of the world? What is my purpose and how ought I live in order to achieve it? How can we achieve happiness as individuals and as a society? What is happiness and what is a just society? What is the best way to answer these questions in order to acquire knowledge? Can we acquire knowledge? What is knowledge? In this course we will look at the ways in which the greatest thinkers in our early cultural history -- Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Epictetus, Epicurus, Plotinus, Augustine and Aquinas -- have attempted to answer these questions and to frame a meaningful view of human existence and the world we inhabit.

Philosophy 232: Modern Philosophy
Fulfills CH2 for philosophy
Instructor: Heidi Giannini
See catalog for description.

English 231: Western World Literature I
Fulfills CH1 for literature
MWF 1:00-1:50
Instructor: Stephen Hemenway

English 233: Ancient Global Literature
Fulfills CH1 for literature, GLI/CD4

English 232: Western World Literature II
Fulfills CH2 for literature
Instructor: Kathleen Verduin

History 130: Introduction to Ancient Civilization
Fulfills CH1 for history, GLI
Instructor: Albert Bell
See catalog for description.

History 207: Introduction to World History to 1500
Fulfills CH1 for history, GLI
See catalog for description.

History 131: Introduction to Modern European History
Fulfills CH2 for history, GLI
Instructor: Fred Johnson
See catalog for description.