MaconCatalog : College of Liberal Arts and Sciences : ACADEMIC DEPARTMENTS : GREAT BOOKS PROGRAM (GBK)
 
GREAT BOOKS PROGRAM (GBK)
Charlotte S. Thomas, Director/Professor of Philosophy
 
The Great Books curriculum is one of two general education programs in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The seven courses emphasize thoughtful inquiry, are discussion-based, and are reading and writing intensive. Through the engagement of primary literary, political, religious, philosophical, and scientific texts in the Western tradition, students can enhance their skills in disciplined thinking and writing, deepen their moral and ethical reflectiveness, and develop their understanding of how the seminal ideas of the past have formed our present world and selves. The Great Books thus provide both a ground and a goal for the specialized disciplines in which students major. The faculty of the College believe that careful study of the primary texts of Western thought and belief in small study groups guided by committed and rigorous instructors from varying academic disciplines is a valid means to a good general education.
Students choosing the Great Books Program for their general education requirements must take seven courses: GBK 101, 202, 203, 304, 305, 306, and 407. All courses require substantial written work and may require attendance at additional lectures and events. Repeated failure to prepare for classes will result in a failing grade and dismissal from the curriculum.
GBK 101 satisfies the INT 101 requirement. This allows a student to sample the Great Books curriculum before choosing between the two programs in general education. Any Great Books course may be taken for elective credit, if space is available. Engineering students may use courses from the Great Books Program to satisfy general education requirements and should coordinate specific course choices with their engineering advisor and the Director of Great Books.
GBK 101 may be repeated only during the sophomore year.
Inquiries about the Great Books Program should be addressed to the Director of Great Books.
GBK 101. Understanding Self and Others: Among Gods and Heroes (4 hours)
Through a shared first-year experience, students will examine representations of and reflections on the self in order to develop as individuals in relationship to others. As the introductory course in the Great Books Program, selfhood will be explored through the prism of foundational works of the ancient Greeks including works by Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Thucydides, and Plato. Writing instruction and written work for this course will further develop students’ understanding of writing as a means of discovering and expressing ideas across domains of knowledge. As a Writing Instruction course, substantial attention, in terms of both instruction and course work, will be given toward developing the practical skill of writing as specified in the WRITING INSTRUCTION section of the catalog. GBK 101 fulfills the requirement of INT 101 for students in the Great Books Program. (Every year, fall semester)
GBK 202. Classical Cultures (4 hours)
Prerequisite: a grade of C or better in GBK 101.
Through readings from such authors as Plato, Euclid, Aristotle, and Virgil students will reflect upon and discuss some of the most seminal ideas of Western culture and examine ways in which Greco-Roman thought has shaped the Western world. Writing instruction and written work for this course will further develop students’ understanding of writing as a means of discovering and expressing ideas across domains of knowledge. As a Writing Instruction course, substantial attention, in terms of both instruction and course work, will be given to developing the practical skill of writing as specified in the WRITING INSTRUCTION section of the catalog. (Every year, spring semester)
GBK 203. The Hebrew and Christian Traditions (3 hours)
Prerequisite: GBK 202 or approval of the program director.
Readings in several books of the Old and New Testaments as well as selections from Augustine and Aquinas. (Every year)
GBK 295. Special Topics: (Subtitle) (1-3 hours)
Prerequisite: GBK 101 or approval of the program director.
A study of texts, themes, or authors not covered in the regular offerings. This course may not be used to replace any of the seven required courses in the Great Books Program. May be repeated with a different topic. (Occasionally)
GBK 304. Order and Ingenuity (3 hours)
Prerequisite: GBK 203 or approval of the program director.
Readings from such authors as Dante, Chaucer, Machiavelli, Cervantes, Galileo, and Montaigne. (Every year)
GBK 305. The Modern Worldview (3 hours)
Prerequisite: GBK 304 or approval of the program director.
Readings from such authors as Shakespeare, Bacon, Descartes, Pascal, Hobbes, Newton, Locke, Hume, and Milton. (Every year)
GBK 306. Reason and Revolution (3 hours)
Prerequisite: GBK 304 or approval of the program director.
Readings from such authors as Rousseau, Goethe, Smith, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, Wollstonecraft, Kant, Tocqueville, Marx, Engels, Emerson, and Darwin. (Every year)
GBK 407. The Age of Ambivalence (3 hours)
Prerequisite: GBK 305 or 306 or approval of the program director.
Readings from such authors as Dostoevsky, Yeats, Mendel, Freud, Weber, and Nietzsche. (Every year)
GBK 495. Special Topics: (Subtitle) (1-3 hours)
Prerequisite: GBK 304 or approval of the program director.
A study of texts, themes, or authors not covered in the regular offerings or an intensive study of a major work. This course may not be used to replace any of the seven required courses in the Great Books Program. May be repeated with a different topic. (Occasionally)