IDS 261-W: Western Civilization and Culture MWF
For Tuesday – Thursday Schedule, click here
For Monday – Wednesday Schedule, click here
This course is structured around a consideration of fundamental cultural questions that speak to present Western culture and have animated Western civilization from its beginning. Students will read and interpret original texts and other cultural artifacts that address these questions. Students will make connections between the liberal arts and science disciplines, as well as between the various aspects of culture in the major stages of Western civilization. This semester will focus on economic, social, and political questions.
(1) Students will come to a fuller appreciation of what it means to live in a civilization and culture, primarily through a study of Western civilization and culture.
(2) Students will read and interpret primary sources, that is, original texts and other cultural artifacts.
(3) Students will demonstrate the effective use of the tools (e.g., cause and effect, sense of chronology, multiple causation, continuity and change) needed to understand and evaluate the components of culture.
(4) Students will make connections between the liberal arts and science disciplines, as well as between the various aspects of culture in the major stages of Western civilization.
(5) Students will apply the lessons learned from investigating earlier cultures as a diagnostic tool for comprehending contemporary cultures.
(6) Students will analyze the relative strengths and weaknesses of the cultural institutions that societies have formed in various civilizations and cultures over time.
(7) Students will explain and provide informed discussion of the ideas and concepts that peoples have fashioned to address the larger questions (e.g., how do we know what we know, how have societies been governed) and to give more complete meaning to their lives.
Staff: Dr. Junius Rodriguez, coordinator; Dr. David Eisenberg; Mr. William Feipel; Dr. Loren Logsdon; Prof. Marty Lynch; and Mr. Jason Zimmerman.
Required Text: Western Civilization and Culture, vol. 1, second edition, Copley Custom Publishing, 2006.
Attendance & Participation:
Since the class is based on discussion, attendance and active participation are crucial. Five points for each unexcused absence will be subtracted from attendance points. Excused absences for school-sponsored events, etc., must be approved prior to the missed class, and unexcused will only be waived for dire and documented occasions.
Participation will be measured against the following standard: if a student attends class with textbook, is prepared, and listens attentively, but says nothing, then he or she can expect no more than a C for the participation points.
Unannounced quizzes will be brief and designed mainly to test reading preparation for both presentation and discussion days. Some will be open book. Students will drop their two lowest quiz grades out of twelve given (this allowance should cover any zeros due to absences).
Writing across the Curriculum
Some of the objectives that we hope to attain in IDS 261W to improve your writing skills are the following:
(1) Effectively summarize, analyze, and synthesize and know the appropriate contexts for any approach.
(2) Evaluate the credibility of various viewpoints and contexts and incorporate them appropriately. This includes identifying possible biases and questionable or critical assumptions.
(3) Have a logic to your organization such as consistently tying evidence to a central thesis or idea and employing effective transitions and varied sentence structures.
To this end, the defining features of all writing courses at
In order to satisfy these defining features and to help you attain the previously listed objectives, the essays that you write for IDS 261W will go through a modified drafting phase. Within the first two weeks of each unit (i.e.: Political, Economic, & Social) you will prepare a preliminary essay response on the designated unit question. Your instructor will read, mark, and comment upon these preliminary essays and return them to you by the end of the third week of the unit. At that point, you will receive the formal essay question for the unit. The formal essay question will be one that allows you to incorporate elements of your preliminary draft into a larger essay framework.
Formal Essay Papers
Each student is required to submit three essay papers, about three to four pages (750 to 1,000 words) and worth 100 points each. Topics will focus on unit questions and will require students to analyze or synthesize several of the readings from each of the units. Papers are due approximately three days after we finish each unit.
Political: Wednesday, Oct. 7
Economic: Monday, Nov. 9
Social: Friday, Dec. 11
Penalty for late papers will be ten (10) points per day subtracted from your total.
Papers must be submitted in both paper and electronic forms (the latter will be stored in a database and examined for irregularities). If you are not familiar with the College's policy on plagiarism, please see the section entitled “Plagiarism” in the Eureka College 2015-16 Student Handbook (to be found online, under “Academic Integrity”) Our policy in this course is to fail any student for the course who plagiarizes a paper. If you have any questions, please consult your instructor.
Special Needs: Any
(3 @ 50)
(3 @ 100)
Wed - August 26 Introduction to the Course
The Political Unit
Fri - August 28 Introduction: Is the U.S. the best government? Or what is the best form of government?
Mon - August 31 Presentation # 1
Wed - September 2 Plato, Republic
Fri - September 4 Aristotle, Politics
Wed - September 9 Pope Gelasius I and Augustine, City of God
Fri - September 11 Machiavelli, The Prince
Mon - September 14 Presentation # 2
Mon - September 21 Rousseau, Social Contract
Wed - September 23 Presentation # 3
Fri - September 25 Thoreau, "Civil Disobedience"
Mon - September 28 Marx, Communist Manifesto
Wed – September 30 Port Huron Manifesto and Black Panther Platform
The Economic Unit
Fri – October 2 Introduction: Should the person who takes out my appendix live better than the person who takes out my trash? Or what is economic justice?
Mon - October 5 Plato, Republic; Plato, Laws; Aristotle, Politics
Mon - October 12 Presentation # 1
Wed - October 14 Locke, Second Treatise on Government
Fri - October 16 Rousseau, Discourse on the Origins of Inequality
Mon - October 19 Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations
Wed - October 21 Malthus, An Essay on the Principle of Population
Fri - October 23 Presentation # 2
Wed - October 28 Marx, Das Capital
Fri - October 30 Steinbeck, Grapes of Wrath
Mon - November 2 Galbraith, The Affluent Society
The Social Unit
Wed - November 4 Introduction: Do I need other people? Or how do the structures of society best realize our social nature?
Fri - November 6 Presentation # 1
Mon - November 9 Sophocles, Antigone
Wed - November 11 Book of Proverbs
Fri - November 13 Swift, A Modest Proposal
Mon - November 16 Rousseau, Discourse on the Origins of Inequality
Fri - November 20 Presentation # 2
Mon - November 23 Thoreau, Walden, and Noyes, Bible Communism
Mon - November 30 Freud, Civilization and its Discontents
Wed - December 2 Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
Fri - December 4 Friedan, The Feminine Mystique
Mon - December 9 Martin
Luther King, Jr., Letter from the
Wed - December 9 E. O. Wilson, On Human Nature