Core Curriculum


0901-101-08, Spring 1999

TR - 9:00-10:40 a.m. - SCI 308 (except as noted below)

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

TEXTS: Are listed in the beginning of The Modern Condition II book of readings. All are available in the bookstore. You are expected to bring your text to each class.

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

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.


1. As you read take notes:

a. BRIEF sentence fragments of ideas IN material, your reactions to them and any ideas you have regarding them.

b. LIST words whose meaning is obscure--then look them up in the dictionary and write out the specific definition THAT applies to the context the work was in. PLAN on dazzling your classmates by using the words in class discussions.

2. From your word list, pick the five words you expect your classmates would have the most trouble with and provide a contextual definition for each.

3. Write a paragraph that relates the piece to others that we have considered (compare/contrast). Your paragraph should contain detailed examples to illustrate and support the points you make. This should be placed on the desk at front of the room before the start of the lecture or e-mailed to

4. In class make a comment, answer a question, or provide a verbal summary of the reading of the day.


* = Separate book. (Not in Reader).

T - 1/26 - Introduction, overview, the Prisoner's Dilemma "game"

Individualism and Community

R - 1/28 - Barber
T - 2/ 2 - Declaration of Independence, Madison, Crevecoeur
R - 2/ 4 - LIB 201 - Liberty & Art, Art & Community, Women in Art, Segments from "1776."
T - 2/ 9 - Burke
R - 2/11 - deTocqueville
T - 2/16 - Mill, Crummell
R - 2/18 - LIB 201 - King & Malcolm X Videos
T - 2/23 - *Baldwin
R - 2/25 - Baldwin, Creef
T - 3/ 2 - deBeauvoir
R - 3/ 4 - LIB 201 - Art & Technology, "Modern Times"
T - 3/ 9 - Bellah
R - 3/11 - Catchup & Review

Technology in the Modern Age

R - 3/18 - LIB 201 - "Blade Runner"
T - 3/23 - Adams, Achebe
R - 3/25 - Ford, Taylor, Drucker
T - 3/30 - Spring Recess
R - 4/ 1 - Spring Recess
T - 4/ 6 - Boorstin, Turkle
R - 4/ 8 - LIB 201 "War Requiem" & Slides (Freud video)

What is to be done?

T - 4/13 - Postman
R - 4/15 - *Freud
T - 4/20 - Marx and Havel
R - 4/22 - LIB 201 - S.L.O.A.
T - 4/27 - *Levi
R - 4/29 - LIB 201 - "Europa, Europa"
T - 5/ 4 - Khomeini, Bstan-'Dzin-Rgya-Mtsho
R - 5/ 6 - Neruda & Review
R - 5/13 - FINAL - AS SCHEDULED BY REGISTRAR. 10:30-12:30 p.m.

First and Second Papers - Attend two cultural events. Discuss each cultural event that you attend in relation to the questions in the syllabus and link it explicitly to at least four readings with detailed examples. Three to five typed pages for each paper.

(First paper due before Spring Recess).

(Second paper due 4/22/98 or earlier).

GRADING: Your grade will be based equally on homework (late homework can, at best earn a C; handwritten on-time homework can, at best earn a B), mid-term exam, final exam, and two papers. Absences in excess of three or lateness will lower your grade. Consistent, active, contributory class participation will raise your grade.

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

Your "Prisoner's Dilemma" score will be added to your average. Averages translate to letter grades as follows: B- = 80-81, B = 82-87, B+ = 88-89, A- = 90-91, C- = 70-71, D- = 60-61, etc.


1. Attendance will be taken. You are permitted two unexcused absences but are responsible for anything you miss. Two latenesses = 1 Absence.

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.

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.

6. The Learning Center (basement Earle Hall) frequently features presentations with suggestions and insights concerning course material as well as study and survival techniques. Take advantage of this resource. Also see them for help with grammar.

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