IX. Western Civilization
Courses in this section can and should come from many departments and interdisciplinary programs from outside of the History Department.
For approval of a course in the area of Western Civilization, the instructor will provide a comprehensive description of the course, addressing its aims and general requirements, including:
- a brief description of the distinctive features of the history, institutions, economy, society, or culture of Western civilization that the course will address, a statement of the time period it will cover, and an explanation of how the course will lead students to relate the development it traces to that of at least one other region of the world;
- evidence that the course will give students the opportunity to acquire or improve all or most of the following:
- the ability to read and respond to primary sources with understanding ("primary sources" as opposed to textbook summaries);
- the ability to use print and electronic resources to locate and share relevant information;
- the ability to place a particular topic in a comparative perspective, distinguishing similarities and differences via chronological and spatial comparisons, along with an awareness of the global historical context of the given subject matter;
- an understanding of relevant features of our present culture or society in relation to the subject matter of the course;
- a critical or analytical approach to the subject matter, such as might be developed through assigned paper or discussion topics requiring independent thinking, understanding of multiple causation, recognition of bias, or the like;
- an understanding of values and/or assumptions such as might be developed through discussion of their influence on ways of approaching the given subject matter (e.g. the relationship between science and religion or the state and the individual in various societies), with some discussion of the universality or historical/cultural embeddedness or the values in question;
- an ability to integrate knowledge from different sources and develop critical thinking skills through paper or discussion assignments that require resolution of different approaches, differing bodies of evidence, different conclusions, or an integrated approach to different literary or artistic works or genres, or through an interdisciplinary approach to the subject matter of the course
- a brief description of the methods to be used to assess student understanding of the course's subject matter and student attainment of the abilities and understandings listed above, as well as a method for providing for course improvement.