Spring 2014 Course Descriptions
English/Philosophy 3110G Cultural Foundations II
English/Philosophy 3110G Section 001 CRN 31609
Cultural Foundations II 1100-1215 TR
This course introduces students to the cultural foundations of India, China and the Middle East through literary, philosophical and sacred texts that have helped shape and define these civilizations. In the first segment on India, we shall consider the Upanishads to discuss Brahmanism and the development of Hinduism, then continue with an introduction to the epic Mahabharata and follow with a close reading of the Bhagavad Gita. From classical Hinduism, we shall consider the basic doctrines of Buddhism, with a particular emphasis on Zen practice and approaches to Buddhism. The second segment examines Chinese civilization through the study of Confucius and his ideals of self and humanity and through the study of Taoism as reflected in the works of Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu. The final segment focuses on the civilizations of the Middle East by first considering Arab culture and the dawn of Islam through substantial excerpts from The Qur’an. Next, we shall turn to Sufi spiritualism through short readings from Rumi. Course requirements will consist of three essay examinations (20% each, including the final) and two five-to-six page essays (15% each) [90%] as well as participation (10%)—consisting of discussion, quizzes and written responses to reading assignments.