Fall 2009: HUHC
: Cobb, Duarte, Eliot, Frisina, Rashid, Slitt (Social Science-HUHC 011)
Donahue, Lorsch, Marchesi, Naymark, Rubey, Skulsky
Individual ActionsIndividualism, Citizenship, and the Contours of Community
These concepts take on very specific meanings as they develop in Europe and the Middle
East during the ancient and medieval periods.
Those meanings continue to influence the
way we understand ourselves today.
The Fall 2009
The theme of this semester’s Culture & Expression explores thetensions in these ideas,
and the various struggles to resolve them in, specifically, Greek and Roman, Hebrew,
Christian, and Islamic materials from the ancient and medieval periods. notion of civic
responsibility, or the relation of the individual to a community, as it emerges in ancient
cultures and develops through the Middle Ages in Europe and the Middle East. The texts
(or visual and verbal artifacts) range from narrative poetry and drama to philosophical
dialogue, and religious scripture, historiography and biography to cosmogonies and
redemption narratives, as well as sculpture and architecture, painting and illustration.
Special C&E events on campus and excursions off campus will aid our inquiries. Such an
exploration brings to light and to life the changing notion of the individual, as reflected in
verbal and visual portraits, as the individual interacts with others in changing
configurations of a community. We will look at how , as defined and held together by
laws and ideas of justice define and hold together these communities, as well as notions;
ideas of leadership and its limits,; understandings of gender and class, custom and
tradition;, notions of friendship and the Other. Further, we will examine ndpractices of
inclusion and exclusion based on language and religion, kinship or conquest, travel and
commerce, amity and enmity. All of these texts materials project in some way an ideal
community, which we hope to excavate, illuminate and articulate: sometimes as the
object of a quest, a goal for the future; sometimes as a great and mythic past. The theme
will not reduce or limit our understandings of these works, which are all rich and
multilayered, but rather provide us with a common point of reference in drawing
comparisons of each to all. The Common Reading for the Class of 2013 focused on the
first 100 days of President Obama’s administration in relation of to the first 100 days of
President Franklin Roosevelt’s administration during the Great Depression in the 1930s.
LikewiseSimilarly, we will examine in these ancient and medieval works how individuals
respect and reform their communities in different places, ages and cultures, and how
these artifacts reflect both individuals and the ideal of a common culture, a
communitywith an eye toward what they tell us about how we should understand our own
individuality, our place as citizens, and the communities in which we live.