(for 2013–2014 academic year)
Director M.A. Calo
Students who wish to focus their studies in disciplinary or interdisciplinary areas not encompassed by a single department in the arts and humanities may pursue a topical major in the division. In order to qualify for this major, a student must provide the division director with a proposed program of study and a rationale for this program during the spring term of the sophomore year. No proposal for a topical major will receive approval after the second month of the student’s fifth term. Customarily, the major is available for students who wish to devote special attention to studies such as comparative literature or some combination of creative arts, such as music and fine arts, or drama, literature, and stage design. Students majoring in this topical area will, in the last term, write a substantial integrating paper as an independent study; one course credit is given for this senior project.
Students interested in such a major program are strongly urged to discuss their proposed plans of study with appropriate academic advisers and with the division director well in advance of the deadline specified above.
The Division of Arts and Humanities also offers individual courses. One of these courses can be used to fulfill one half of the Human Thought and Expression area of inquiry/humanities distribution requirement.
329 Episodes of Unreality in Literature
Each of the literary works chosen for this course depicts a world of everyday reality in which situations and developments correspond to the experiences and surroundings most of us unhesitatingly regard as “real” or “actual.” But these works also contain episodes in which the ordinary everyday world of the book is changed into a world of unreality, fantasy, or dramatically heightened imagination; however, extraordinary incidents such as the Virgin Mary appearing in a suburban back garden, people flying, animals talking, etc., presumably do not belong in our everyday lives. So why did the author include them as though they were no different from the rest of the work? What does the author expect to achieve by doing so, and what does he or she actually succeed in achieving? Are we enriched by the fantasy, the “untrue,” the make believe of this approach?
330 The Western Esoteric Tradition
A survey of religious and philosophical movements which distinguish themselves from the mainstream, “exoteric” traditions. These include Hermeticism and Gnosticism; the “occult sciences” of alchemy, astrology, and magic; and the more recent currents of Christian theosophy, Rosicrucianism, esoteric Freemasonry, and the occult revivals of the 19th century. The course reads basic texts and scholarly studies of these traditions, and considers the different approaches and methodologies that give access to them.
291, 391, 491 Independent Study