2013-14 Catalog

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Culture, Text and Language

Culture, Text and Language (CTL) programs invite students to engage in rigorous critical inquiry about the human experience. Our curriculum covers many disciplinary perspectives and geographical areas, with a strong focus on reflective inquiry and integrative understanding. Through the study of cultures, students explore the webs of meaning that individuals and groups use to make sense of the world. Through the study of texts, they learn to interpret the products of culture in forms ranging from enduring works to popular media and the artful practices of everyday life. Through the study of languages, they become proficient in the means of communication used by different societies and nation states.

The Culture, Text and Language planning unit coordinates some social science  (sociology, psychology and politics) and virtually all the humanities programs at Evergreen. Our disciplines include literature, history, women’s studies, philosophy and critical theory, religious studies, classical studies, art history, post-colonial studies, linguistics, cultural anthropology, cultural studies, gender studies, race and ethnic studies, communications, folklore, and creative and critical writing.

Many of our programs are organized as area studies, which we define as the interdisciplinary study of topics framed by geography, language, culture and history. We provide a curriculum that is rich in the study of diverse cultures and languages so that students can learn about shared legacies and across significant differences, including differences of race, class, gender and sexuality. Our geographic areas of inquiry include America, the ancient Mediterranean, East Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and Spain, Russia, and Western Europe and the Francophone/Anglophone regions, including Africa and the Caribbean. We regularly offer programs involving the integrated study of Japanese, French, Russian and Spanish, and are working to expand our curricular offerings in classical languages and Arabic.

Many Culture, Text and Language programs bring together two or more disciplines to pose crucial questions about the human condition; many also include community-based activities that put ideas into practice. Thus, students gain an interconnected view of the humanities and interpretive social sciences. Faculty members act as advisors and mentors in their subjects of expertise, supporting students in advanced work, internships, studies abroad and senior theses.

Students with a special focus on the humanities and interpretive social sciences are strongly encouraged to undertake a senior thesis or senior project during their final year as a capstone to their learning at Evergreen. By working closely with one or more faculty members as part of a larger program or through an individual contract, prepared seniors have the opportunity to pursue advanced study while producing an original thesis or project in their areas of interest. To prepare for this senior work, interested students should begin to discuss their plans with potential faculty sponsors during their junior year.

The faculty of Culture, Text and Language invite students to work with them to create living links between their past and their present in order to become, in the words of Evergreen’s first president Charles McCann, “...undogmatic citizens and uncomplacently confident individuals in a changing world.”