Core Curriculum


0901-100-07, Fall 1998

TR - 9:00-10:40 A.M. - Business 112

Dr. Henry F. Ahner (Ext. 4127, Sci. 123A)

TEXTS: Are listed in the beginning of The Modern Condition I book of readings and all are available in the bookstore. Also: American Heritage Dictionary.

GOALS: To examine some great issues and questions plus a sampling of answers given to them that both illuminate the questions and the problematics of the Modern Condition. To view challenges of our time and to cultivate the capacity for critical analysis using a variety of perspectives. To examine together major social, cultural and scientific transformations of the 20th century.

INSTRUCTIONS: Read the material for each class, before class, so we can discuss it together. You are asked to think boldly about the work assigned, to reach your own conclusions based upon what you have read and we have discussed. Expect to have your conclusions challenged. Do challenge the ideas and concepts of others. Bring the text to each class.


1. Read the assigned passage as follows:

a. Pre-read for vocabulary, i.e.: Scan for words you do not know. Underline them. Look them up in your American Heritage Dictionary and mark the definition in the margin of your book. PLAN on dazzling your classmates and professor by using these words in class discussions.

b. Read the passage for understanding. As you read, WRITE BRIEF paraphrasing fragments of the ideas, the material, your reactions to them and any ideas you have regarding them IN YOUR READING NOTEBOOK.

2. Write two paragraphs on each reading. The first should summarize the main ideas, themes, questions, and/or answers in the piece. The second should relate the piece to others that we have considered (compare/contrast). Hand this in before the start of each class.

(If you wish, e-mail to

3. Be prepared, in class, to ask a question, make a comment, or answer a question. Participate!


* = Separate book. (Not in Reader).

R - 9/ 3 - Introduction, course overview, "memes" (Contagious ideas - Could you be, should you be innoculated?)

Human Development, Self and Sexuality

T - 9/ 8 - Bld 109 - Cluster event: Freud
R - 9/10 - *Kafka
T - 9/15 - *Kafka and *Freud
R - 9/17 - Gilman + *Freud
T - 9/22 - Holiday - No class
R - 9/24 - Bld 109 - Cluster event: Heroes Adventure
T - 9/29 - Hughes
R - 10/ 1 - Elliot and Walcott Unit

Scientific Thinking and Human Origins

T - 10/ 6 - Galileo
R - 10/ 8 - Darwin
T - 10/13 - BLD 109 - Cluster Event: Bibliographic instruction
R - 10/15 - Gould
T - 10/20 - Einstein
R - 10/22 - Heisenberg
T - 10/27 - BLD 109 - Cluster Event: Voyage of Charles Darwin
R - 10/29 - Review and Catch-up - Last Day to Withdraw from a Course
T - 11/ 3 - Midterm

A Crisis in Belief

R - 11/ 5 - Dostoevsky
T - 11/10 - BLD 109 - Cluster Event - Connections & Powers of 10
R - 11/12 - Nietzsche and Wiesel
T - 11/17 - Weil and *Beckett

Art & Expression

R - 11/19 - Emerson and Wilde
T - 11/24 - BLD 109 - Cluster Event: Waiting for Godot
R - 11/26 - Thanksgiving - No Class
T - 12/ 1 - Schapiro
R - 12/ 3 - Trinh
T - 12/ 8 - BLD 109 - Cluster Event: Finnegan's Wake
R - 12/10 - Sontag
T - 12/15 - Catchup and Review
R - 12/17 - FINAL EXAM - As scheduled by Registrar as 10:30a.m.-12:30 p.m.

First Paper - Discuss a cultural event that you attended in relation to the units in the syllabus and link it explicitly to at least four readings. (Due 11/12/98 or earlier.)

Second Paper - Summary of and reaction to a Performing Arts presentation in Olmstead theatre. Due: One week after last performance. Papers should link the performance to semester concerns and also to at least four readings.

Rewriting Papers - Students who would like to improve their paper grades may rewrite and resubmit, PROVIDED the revised papers are submitted before the final exam. (Resubmit all versions together.)

GRADING: Your grade will be based equally on homework (late homework can, at best earn a C), participation, mid-term exam, final exam, and two papers. Excessive absences or lateness will lower your grade. Based upon your score on the library Workbook Quiz, you will have between 0 and +2.5 points added to your average.

(Letter grades: B- = 79, 80, 81, B = 82-86, B+ = 87, 88, A = 92-96, C = 72-76, D = 62-66, F = 58 & lower, etc.)

Students who miss the final for valid reasons must contact Academic Services and get an Incomplete Grade Contract for us to complete and sign.


1. Attendance will be taken. You are permitted two unexcused absences but are responsible for everything you miss. Two latenesses = 1 Absence. Academic dishonesty = F-.

2. All work must be legible or it will not be counted. YOU ARE STRONGLY ENCOURAGED TO USE A WORD PROCESSOR. The Computer Center will be giving Word Processing Seminars. (Free. See them or me for details.) Students who know how to use the computers may use the ones that the University provides, if they wish.

3. If you have some extra time, read ahead and prepare the standing homework assignment in advance. This will provide you with free time to enjoy or to respond to emergencies in your other classes.

4. My office is in Science 123A. Feel welcome to come in and discuss class work, scheduling, advising, any other problems, etc., during my office hours or at other times by appointment. (Call Ext. 4127, talk to me before or after class, or speak to my secretary, Mrs. Kreppein, in Science 123).

5. Some classes may feature discussion, others lectures, or group projects, surprise quizzes, presentations from your fellow students', debates - expect the unexpected. By doing the standing homework assignments before each class, you will be ready for anything.

Return to my homepage