Great Books

Courses

Please note that not every course listed is offered each year and that students should consult the following sources for current course offerings:

COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

GRID-1006. Introduction to Great Ideas

This course, open to all students, is an opportunity to read and discuss books from a variety of disciplines as an introduction to the study of significant ideas, ancient and modern. Themes will include ideas of the good life, freedom, justice, friendship and others. Typically studied will be texts such as Plato's Republic, Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, Shakespeare's Hamlet, and Austen's Emma. This course is not a required course for the Great Ideas major and will not count towards the Major.

GRID-2006. The Quest for the Good Life

This course is designed to approach the perennial issue of The Quest for the Good Life through the thoughtful reading of some of the greatest works in a variety of disciplines. The texts will include ancient and modern, all selected because they speak to and illuminate this theme. Texts will vary from year to year but will include works such as Aristotle's Ethics, the Bible, Machiavelli's Prince, and Camus' The Plague.

GRID-2106. The Quest for the Good Life II

Building on the themes developed in GRID 2006, this course is designed to approach the perennial issue of The Quest for the Good Life through the thoughtful reading of some of the greatest works in a variety of disciplines. The texts will include ancient and modern, all selected because they speak to and illuminate this theme. Texts will vary from year to year but will include works such as Homer's Odyssey, Dante's Divine Comedy, Austen's Pride and Prejudice, and Wollstonecraft's Vindication of the Rights of Women. Prerequisite: GRID 2006, or permission of the instructor.

GRID-2206. Human Nature and Technology

This course will study the way in which diverse thinkers have considered the question of human nature. This question will be sharpened with a consideration of the way in which human beings considered as natural beings use and are affected by technology. Texts will vary from year to year, but may include works such as: Aeschylus' Prometheus Bound, Bacon's New Atlantis, Swift's Gulliver's Travels, Grant's Technology and Empire, Miller's A Canticle for Leibowitz, Heidegger's The Question Concerning Technology, Shelley's Frankenstein, Gaskell's North and South, Achebe's Things Fall Apart, and Sterling's Holy Fire.

GRID-2306. War and Peace

This course will investigate the causes and consequences of conflict through a close study of literature, philosophy, history, and political theory. The course will examine the political failures that lead to wars, the ways that human drives and interests manifest themselves within war, as well as the material, psychological, and spiritual costs of war. Texts may include Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War, Shakespeare's Henry V, Arendt's On Violence, and Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway.

GRID-3106. Love and Friendship

This course will explore the interrelated themes of friendship, love, and beauty. Each theme will be examined separately and as connected to the others. Ancient and modern texts will be used to examine the ways that different ages have addressed these fundamentally personal and yet common human experiences. Texts will vary from year to year, but may include works such as Plato's Symposium, Spenser's The Faerie Queene, Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor, Rousseau's Confessions, Waugh's Brideshead Revisited, LeGuin's Left Hand of Darkness, Woolf's Orlando, and Bellow's Ravelstein. Prerequisite: GRID 2006, or permission of the instructors.

GRID-3206. Nations and Borders

This course will explore how humans use geographic, racial, and cultural categories to understand themselves and others. It is particularly concerned with how individuals define themselves as belonging to, distinct from, or in conflict with particular nations, cultures, or peoples. Students will explore themes such as nationalism, colonialism, exile, racism, slavery, and globalization. Texts may include Exodus, Shakespeare's Othello, Behn's Oroonoko, Kant's Perpetual Peace, Sears' Harlem Duet, and Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth.

GRID-3306. Justice

This course will explore the nature of human community and the question of justice. Themes to be addressed will include an individual's responsibility to others, the role of community in promoting human happiness, the manner in which we are both limited and fulfilled by justice, and the relationship of justice and law. Texts will vary from year to year, but may include works such as: Plato's Republic, Aquinas' Summa Theologica, Sayers' Gaudy Night, Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Cary's Tragedy of Mariam, Marx's The German Ideology, and King's Letter from Birmingham Jail. Prerequisite: GRID 2006, or permission of the instructors.

GRID-3406. Philosophy and Art

This course will explore the relationship between philosophy, or the search for wisdom, and art. In particular, it will examine the relationship of human reason and imagination and the degree to which art can serve as a vehicle for truth. Texts may include Euripides' Bacchant, Plato's Protagoras, Aristotle's Poetics, Book of Revelation, Sidney's Defence of Poetry, and Hegel's Aesthetics. Prerequisites: GRID 2006 and GRID 2106.

GRID-3506. Freedom (POLS)

This course will examine the nature of freedom in the context of human life and community. Questions to be addressed will include: To what extent are human beings free by nature? Should political communities promote freedom? What might be appropriate limitations on our freedom? Texts may include Sophocles' Oedipus Rex, Plato's Crito, Aquinas' On Free Will, Shakespeare's Coriolanus and Hegel's The Philosophy of Right. Prerequisite: GRID 2006 and GRID 2106.

GRID-3606. Faith and Reason

This course will explore faith and reason as two ways by which human beings apprehend the truth, the fundamental object of our understanding. The nature and capacity of faith and reason as well as their relationship to one another will be explored through literary and philosophic texts that posit either one or both of these modes as the path to knowledge. Texts may vary from year to year, but normally the course will include works such as Aeschylus' Oresteia, The Gospel of John, Descartes' Discourse on Method, selections from Luther, and Kant's Critique of Pure Reason.

GRID-3903. Honours Thesis Proposal

The purpose of this course is to afford students interested in writing an honours thesis the opportunity to develop a thorough proposal, including a substantial annotated bibliography. Students will work closely with their thesis director in developing and writing the thesis proposal. Classes will meet throughout the term to assess progress. Students will be required to present and defend their proposal before their classmates and the faculty of the Great Ideas Programme. Students must complete this course to be eligible for GRID 4906.

GRID-4003. Independent Study

Students undertake an independent study under the direction of a member of the Great Ideas faculty, with the permission of the Great Ideas Coordinator. This course is limited to students of proven academic merit.

GRID-4006. Independent Study

Students undertake an independent study under the direction of a member of the Great Ideas faculty, with the permission of the Great Ideas Coordinator. This course is limited to students of proven academic merit.

GRID-4806. Special Topics

This course involves the in-depth study of a particular text or set of texts related thematically. The course will be organized around the particular interests and expertise of the available faculty member teaching it, so as to capitalize on the research and theoretical interests of faculty participants in Great Books. Its content will also take into account the particular needs of students in any given academic year.

GRID-4903. Honours Seminar

This seminar will be centred on the intensive study of the text(s) of a thinker who has greatly influenced the shape of the western world. The texts may be ancient or modern, and may be literary, historical, philosophic, and/or political in nature.

GRID-4906. Honours Thesis

The honours thesis is an extended scholarly paper on a topic written under the supervision of a faculty member who agrees to serve as thesis director. When completed, the students will be required to present and defend the thesis before their classmates and the faculty of the Great Ideas Programme. Students must complete GRID 3903 to be eligible for GRID 4906.

GRID-4913. Capstone Seminar

The capstone seminar in Great Ideas will be an author/work specific course in which students spend an extensive period of time studying the text(s) of a thinker who has greatly influenced the shape of the western world. The author or texts may be ancient or modern, and may be literary, historical, philosophic and/or political in nature.

GRID-3706. Shakespeare and Politics

An exploration of the works of Shakespeare in the context of Renaissance political thought as reflected in his plays and in early modern political texts. We focus on the plays, although Shakespeare's non-dramatic works may be included, as well as modern film adaptations. (Pre-1800.)

Last Published: Sat Dec 16 06:05:01 2017