Western Civilization

This component of general education is designed to provide students with an understanding of the traditions, values, and institutions underlying Western civilization.  For the purposes of differentiating this category from the “Non-Western” category, “Western” means emphasis on Western Europe.  A course satisfying this category must present a coherent analysis of three of the major dimensions of civilization in Western Europe: arts, economics, intellectual activities, politics, religion, social organization, and technology and must cover the chronological scope of one of the following:

  1. Ancient Greeks and Romans to the 16th Century (including some background about the ancient Middle East, Hebrews and Persians, early Islam and Byzantium)
  2. 16th Century to the present (with emphasis on Western Europe, but with some attention to colonization and post-colonial issues) 
  3. Combination of significant portions (at least 500 years ) of the two periods A and B

Outcomes include:

  • identify significant individuals, movements, ideal, values, institutions, and forces in the development of Western Civilization, with particular emphasis on “legacy” factors in contemporary life 
  • understand the broad themes and issues that span multiple dimensions of civilization
  • gain a sense of both the uniqueness of the past and continuity between past and present
  • analyze and interpret historical significance and change
  • practice methods of integrating various dimensions of civilization
  • demonstrate a shared, non-technical vocabulary that enables educated people to communicate with one another