The Development of Western Civilization is at the core of the Honors curriculum—a four-course interdisciplinary study of history, literature, philosophy, theology, art and music from ancient Mesopotamia to the 21st century. All Honors Western Civilization courses are team-taught by faculty drawn from various departments. Each faculty team develops its own particular syllabus (and thus topics and readings vary from semester to semester), but the following lists of topics provide a sampling of the content and range of the four courses.
Honors DWC I: Mesopotamia and Egypt, Epic of Gilgamesh, Hebrew Bible, Homer, Sappho, Persian Empire, Greek Art and Architecture, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Herodotus, Thucydides, Epicurus, Stoicism, Alexander the Great, Hellenistic Art, Mystery Religions, Roman Republic and Empire, Julius Caesar, Augustus, Catullus, Virgil, Ovid, Petronius, Roman Art and Architecture, New Testament, Plotinus, Constantine the Great, Christological Controversies, St. Augustine, Monasticism, Decline of the Roman Empire
Honors DWC II: Rise of Islam, Koran, Avicenna, Averroes, Byzantium, Maimonides, Charlemagne, Song of Roland, Crusades, Anselm, Marie de France, Hildegard of Bingen, Andreas Capellanus, Thomas Aquinas, Catherine of Siena, Medieval Art and Music, Dante, Boccaccio, Chaucer, Petrarch, Renaissance Florence, Machiavelli, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael, Marguerite of Navarre, Teresa of Avila, Erasmus, Henry VIII, Thomas More, Luther, Calvin, Council of Trent, Montaigne, Shakespeare, Galileo, Cervantes, Hobbes, Locke, Milton, Baroque Art
Honors DWC III: Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment, Descartes, Newton, Absolutism and Louis XIV, Pascal, Voltaire, Rousseau, Aphra Behn, Swift, Ben Franklin, Neoclassical Art and Music, Agricultural Revolution, Africa and the Atlantic Slave Trade, Olaudah Equiano, French Revolution, Napoleon, Mary Wollstonecraft, Romanticism, Goethe, Wordsworth, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Jane Austen, Flaubert, Dickens, Industrial Revolution, Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Turgenev, Dostoevsky, Karl Marx, Darwin, Emily Dickinson, Newman
Honors DWC IV: Modern Capitalism, Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, Tolstoy, Conrad, Vatican I, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Kafka, World War I, Vera Brittain, T. S. Eliot, Yeats, Freud, Karl Barth, Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Cubism, Einstein, World War II, Elie Wiesel, Bonhoeffer, Camus, Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Solzhenitsyn, Jacque Maritain, Vatican II, Africa and Decolonization, Chinua Achebe, Jazz, Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King, Vietnam War, Borges, Garcia Marquez, Toni Morrison, Cynthia Ozick, Pope John Paul II, Contemporary Islam, Naguib Mahfouz, Postmodernism
Honors Colloquia: All Honors students take at least one capstone colloquium in the junior or senior year. Topics vary each semester, and new topics are offered regularly. In recent years the following colloquium courses have been offered: Dante, Islamic Art and Architecture, The Buddha and the Christ, Greek and Roman Mythology, Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, T. S. Eliot, Tolkien, Science and Religion, Coming of Age in Fiction and Film, Flannery O’Connor, Beauty and Violence, Gender and Race in America, Christianity and Islam, The Christian Intellectual Tradition, Kuhn’s Philosophy of Science, Literature of Spiritual Crisis