Other (Non-GUR) Courses
Course List (LBRL)
301 Historical Methods in the Humanities (5)
302 Methods of Interdisciplinary Study (5)
303 Methods in the Study of Religion (5)
375 Buddhism (5)
400 Readings in Humanities (2)
421-424 Senior seminars (5) on specific inquiries within the following broadly defined topics; consult instructors for details of particular courses. Prerequisites are LBRL 302 and senior standing, or equivalent evidence that the student is prepared to teach and learn in a seminar setting, and to do independent research in the humanities.
421 Approaches to Cultural History
422 Literary Traditions in Western Culture
423 Self, Culture and Society
424 Social Change in Cross-Cultural Context
430 The Humanities and the Contemporary Workplace (3)
478 Renewal and Reform in the Islamic World since the 18th Century (5)
498 Readings for Research in Humanities (2)
499 Research in Humanities (3)
Liberal Studies Course Descriptions
HISTORICAL METHODS IN THE HUMANITIES
5 credits; Class size: 30
Prerequisites: Junior status or permission of instructor; one course from LBRL 121, 122, 123 or HIST 111, 112, 113.
This is a course which helps students learn to do research in the kinds of history most relevant to a study of the humanities. The primary objective of this course is to undertake a series of increasingly complex exercises in historical research. The first is to ‘read’ a variety of different kinds of sources for cultural history, with careful attention to their own nature and purposes. Kinds of sources which are used in the course may include political arguments, memoirs, autobiographies, and imaginative literary texts; but they also can include things that are ‘texts’ only in an analogical sense, for example, paintings, photographs, films and buildings and other artifacts. The second purpose is to learn how to investigate the rhetorical purposes that have shaped the creation and reception of all such texts and text-like things. The third objective is to learn to formulate questions that relate specific authors, texts and audiences to their wider social and cultural contexts. The fourth and final objective is to practice historical skills by investigating local history using archival resources in Bellingham. Class discussion and some lecture. Active class participation is expected and required. Evaluation is by class participation, class presentations, short papers or essay exams, and one longer paper.
METHODS OF INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDY
5 credits; Class size: 20
Prerequisites: Completion of LBRL 121, 122, simultaneous registration in LBRL 123, a ‘B’ average in all previous Liberal Studies classes, and permission of the instructor. Taught only in spring quarter. Required for all Humanities majors.
Advanced comparative cultural study, which is one of the defining objectives of the Department of Liberal Studies, requires an ability to work in multiple disciplines, to combine disciplines, and ultimately, to think beyond the borders of the established disciplines that structure our university. That is why this seminar is required of third-year humanities majors in the department. It provides an intensive exercise in interdisciplinary method through the analysis and interpretation of a single complex text. The text is either the Comedy of Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) or the Don Quixote of Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616). The seminar is designed to establish a repeating pattern, in which we work progressively from the text to context (other relevant ancient, medieval or early modern sources) to scholarship (critical studies of Dante or Cervantes). All students are required to make class room presentations on the assigned text and contextual sources. These presentations become the basis for papers, focused again on text and context. Further research on a presentation topic will lead to an annotated bibliography and a research paper using scholarship (studies) as well as text and context. Revision in response to the instructor's comments is required for research papers.
METHODS IN THE STUDY OF RELIGION
5 credits; Class size: 35
Prerequisites: One course from LBRL 231, LBRL 271, LBRL 272, LBRL 278, or permission of instructor.
An examination of the academic study of religion as a problem in the interaction of theory, method, and the history of culture. The course considers approaches to understanding and explaining religion taken from the Enlightenment to the present. The goal is to give students both an overview of methods applied in the study of religion and a survey of the history of the discipline. Students should learn both the content of the theories studied and something about the cultural contexts in which these models were developed. Evaluation is by essay exams and a term paper.
5 credits; Class size: 30
Prerequisites: One course from LBRL 231, 271, 272, 275, 277; HIST 370.
Buddhism is one of the world’s great universal religions, having found adherents far beyond its original home in South Asia. The course begins with a broad overview of the core beliefs and practices of Buddhism. It then takes up the evolution from Theravada Buddhism to Mahayana, the Buddhism of the ‘Great Vehicle’, and the idea that every human being is on the path to becoming a Buddha. We will read three primary texts, the Dhamapada, a Theravada text, and Inquiry of Ugra, and the Lotus Sutra, texts which reveal different stages in the development of Mahayana. Finally we will trace the further evolution of Buddhism in China and Japan by examining the role of artifacts, holy relics, rosary beads and ‘dry gardens’. Participation in in-class and Blackboard discussions is essential to the teaching of this course. Evaluation is by participation, two exams, and three student presentations and papers.
READINGS IN HUMANITIES
Prerequisites: Permission of instructor.
In special circumstances an advanced student may request to pursue independent readings with the guidance of an instructor in a topic of mutual interest. A reading list and other requirements should be agreed upon in advance.
5 credits; Class size: 15
Prerequisites: LBRL 302 and permission of the instructor. In special cases LBRL 302 may be waived based upon equivalent preparation in other departments. All satisfy requirements for upper division writing proficiency courses, and require well prepared individual student presentations.
>>Liberal Studies 421
APPROACHES TO CULTURAL HISTORY
Cultural history is considered in these seminars as a specific discipline, one interdisciplinary by nature. Readings may include Burckhardt, Lovejoy, Huizinga, and Gombrich, great figures in the field.
>>Liberal Studies 422
LITERARY TRADITIONS IN WESTERN CULTURE
How Western culture developed through rereading its major literary monuments. Students read major works of literature, and then consider how authors of later eras used these texts in their own cultural contexts and for their own purposes; for example, the Sophists and Plato on Homer, Dante on Homer and Vergil, Biblical material in Milton.
>>Liberal Studies 423
SELF, CULTURE AND SOCIETY
Comparison and analysis of social forms and orders across cultures. Conceptions of the individual and his/her place in society and the universe as perceived in both Western and non-Western cultures. The emphasis is on methodologies of comparison and analysis, given different kinds of original sources from different cultures.
>>Liberal Studies 424
SOCIAL CHANGE IN CROSS-CULTURAL CONTEXT
Examination of the changes brought about by European expansion in the non-Western world. Case studies from Africa, Asia and the Americas, as individuals come to reconsider their traditions in the light of European contact and colonial rule. Emphasis is on using primary sources from Asian, African or American cultures, including indigenous histories, and using appropriate ideas and methods of analysis.
THE HUMANITIES AND THE CONTEMPORARY WORKPLACE
3 credits; Seminar
Prerequisites: Permission of instructor.
Connects liberal-arts curriculum to workplace issues. Uses the ideas and methods of the humanities to explore the meaning of work for society and the individual. Introduces students to professional work environments through placement in local non-profit agencies. Carries service-learning credit.
RENEWAL AND REFORM IN THE ISLAMIC WORLD SINCE THE 18TH CENTURY
5 credits; Class size: 20
Prerequisites: One course from LBRL 231, 271, 278, 332, 378, HIST 287, 406.
An exploration of the ideological foundations and historical contexts of reform movements in the Middle East, Asia and Africa from the 18th century up to the various contemporary Salafi movements commonly recognized as ‘fundamentalist’. Islamic responses to imperialism, colonialism, and ‘modernization’ through the analysis of texts written by major Muslim modernist and revivalist thinkers, such as al-Afghani, Sayyid Ahmad Khan, Abduh, Mawdudi, Qutb, Khomeini and others. Evaluation is by two short papers and one longer research paper (12-15 pages) which students also present to the class.
READINGS FOR RESEARCH IN THE HUMANITIES
Prerequisites: Enrollment is limited to Humanities majors. Senior status, successful completion of, or concurrent enrollment in a Senior Seminar (LBRL 421-424), and permission of instructor.
Reading for the senior paper on a topic developed by the student in consultation with a faculty advisor; writing a research proposal and bibliography. Weekly meetings with the faculty advisor are required.
RESEARCH IN THE HUMANITIES
Prerequisites: Enrollment is limited to Humanities majors. Senior status, successful completion of a Senior Seminar (Liberal Studies 421-424), Liberal Studies 498.
Research and writing for the senior paper on a topic developed by the student in consultation with a faculty advisor in LBRL 498. Weekly meetings with the faculty advisor are required.