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Archive for Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Western Civ

September 5, 2012

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To the editor:

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is discussing eliminating the requirement of the “reading heavy” Western Civilization course. There is a statement that the course is not going away but that there will be “other options” for the bachelor of arts degree.

As I recall, the discussions and the works were sometimes long and, from a 20-year-old point of view, not really relevant to the world of 1964. Why did I need to read “The Communist Manifesto”? What did long-dead philosophers have to do with the gritty world of the 20th century with its “new” ideas and problems. Forty years makes a lot of difference in perspective.

It is 2012. And we still have arguments flying around as “new” and innovative. And, unless we are required to, the majority of us do not discuss the historical and philosophical underpinnings of Western culture. I hear people talking about defending Western civilization from people who have no clue as to what they are defending and what are the consequences.

This discussion should be open and the fact that the curriculum is “reading heavy” should not be considered a drawback.

Comments

gbulldog 2 years ago

A person who does not read, it easier to control. Why do you think dictators and tribal leaders burn books? Keep the masses ignorant, promise them everything, but deliver nothing. And tell them it will get better in the future. And don't forget to blame other for your troubles! Not a unique happening in history.

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Topple 2 years ago

I read plenty...finish two articles in Guns & Ammo this morning.

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George_Braziller 2 years ago

I took Western Civ in the early '80s. The curriculum seemed random and disjointed. We'd be given weird reading assignments like pages 18-54 and then have a test on it. There was rarely any discussion about what we had read or a re-cap of the important points we were supposed to have gotten from it. Maybe I just had bad TAs.

It was also incredibly boring. The reading was boring, the classes were boring, and the teachers were boring. "The Decameron" was the only thing I found interesting. The assignment was just a few chapters but I read the entire book because it had some life to it.

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Abdu Omar 2 years ago

I took western civ from the man who wrote the text book and all he did in class was read it to us. Talk about boring. Nothing was mentioned about Eastern Civilization. What happened in the middle east, central asia and China during what we call the dark ages in Europe? Plenty and we are suffering today because we know nothing about it.

For example: Did you know the Arabs discovered algebra (yeah its their fault), astronomy, and medical techniques. The mongols came in the 10 C and burned all the books in Bagdad, the learning capitol of the world at that time. What did they destroy? With the knowledge of astronomy, the arabs learned the art of navigation and of using the waterways, the seas, to distribute goods to the starving people of Europe who were in the dark ages. The renaissance happened because of the crusade, the "Christian Warriors", brought back silk, spices, and culture (to name a few things) from the people they tried to destroy.

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Abdu Omar 2 years ago

In the 60's we had two classes entitled Western Civ. They spanned the beginning of the greek era to the American Civil War and then the next class spanned from the Civil War to WW II. They left it there!!!! Much has happened from 1945 to 1964 when I took those classes but we learned nothing about it.

It is my opinion that the class should not be taken out of the curriculum. It should be taught by people who know how to expose students to history and culture but don't ignore Eastern Culture and history.

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