Fall 2012 and Winter 2013 quarters
- Stephen Beck philosophy , Susan Preciso English literature
- Fields of Study
- history, literature and philosophy
- Preparatory for studies or careers in
- history, literature, and philosophy.
In this two-quarter program, we will examine the nature and place of work in human life and culture. Studying literature, philosophy, and history in the Western tradition, we will develop an understanding of work that goes well beyond the concept of work as a way to pay the bills. We will consider important questions: Why is work important in a complete human life? What roles can it play both for an individual and for the whole social system? What meaning does, or can, work have in a person's life and in a society? What ways of working should a person strive to practice? Who does what work? To better understand and critique challenging material, we will spend time improving skills in close reading, critical reasoning, writing clearly and well, and in research methods. We will examine the ways in which approaching an idea through different disciplinary lenses allows us to deepen our understanding of it—often complicating the picture in generative ways.
During fall quarter, we begin our study of ideas about the place of work in the human condition. We will begin reading Hannah Arendt’s The Human Condition and central ancient texts, including passages from the Bible, Hesiod, Aristotle, and the Stoics. We will continue our study by considering medieval ideas about work, as seen in art, philosophy, and literature, through passages from The Rule of St. Benedict as well as histories of feudal life and thought. The quarter will conclude with examination of the move into the modern world, focusing on the Protestant Reformation and the rise of capitalism. We will analyze selections from John Locke and Adam Smith, and we will read Robinson Crusoe , putting this work into its complicated historical and cultural context.
Winter quarter’s work will begin with the 19th century and the great changes that came with the Industrial Revolution and take us into the 20th century. Our reading will include Karl Marx, Henry David Thoreau's Walden , Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South , and Daniel Rodgers’ The Work Ethic in Industrial America . We will examine the ways in which the new industrial economy changed where people lived, the work they did, and the ways in which some challenged the capitalist model. We will conclude the program by examining more recent ideas about the values and challenges of work and working. We will conclude our study of Arendt's The Human Condition , and students will learn directly from people about the work they do, by interviewing them and taking their oral histories, seeing the ways in which people answer the questions with which we began: Why is work important in a complete human life? What roles can it play both for an individual and for the whole social system? What ways of working should a person strive to practice? Who does what work? They will document work and working through writing and other media they find useful and effective.
- Online Learning
- Enhanced Online Learning
- Greener Store
- Required Fees
- $110 for an overnight field trip in fall.
- Offered During
- Day and Evening
|November 13th, 2012||Winter quarter enrollment conditions updated.|
|July 18th, 2012||This program is now offered to students in all class levels (Freshmen-Seniors).|
|May 24th, 2012||Fees updated.|
|May 16th, 2012||Fees updated.|
|April 24th, 2012||This program is now offered to Freshmen only, for 16 credits.|
|March 9th, 2012||Description slightly modified; spring schedule changed to Tue/Thu|