Western Traditions

Western Traditions (3 hours required)

These courses explore the defining ideas, cultural perspectives, and patterns of thought that have evolved in Europe throughout its history as well as in the Americas after 1500.  The courses highlight important characteristics of Western societies and situate these developments within a broad and meaningful context.  Students are encouraged to grapple with the original thinkers of the West through the study of primary texts (such as literary works, historical documents, theoretical essays, and works of art and music).  Therefore, students will meaningfully engage with key elements of the Western Tradition and understand its manifold influences on our modern cultures today. 

Learning Objectives

(Courses must incorporate at least three of the following learner objectives - #1 and #2 are required.)

1.  Critically examine the thought processes that have evolved in Western Culture

2.  Analyze primary works within the framework the course provides

3.  Place one or more of the historical, artistic, or intellectual traditions of the West in its cultural context

4.  Describe how the material under study has influenced the development of Western culture

5.  Connect the historical roots of phenomena with later aspects of the tradition

New Learning Objective (Fall 2014)

Students will be able to explain the foundations of at least two Western ideas, events, or artistic movements through reference to primary works.

Accomplishing the Objectives

Instructors should clearly identify how the course will accomplish the above objectives.  Possibilities include:

  • Participating in class discussion and debate
  • Engaging in teamwork and other collaborative exercises
  • Writing analytical or evaluative papers, perhaps incorporating original research
  • Making oral presentations
  • Creating an artistic product or a performance
  • Participating in fieldwork