CC 255: Interpretation: Self, Culture, Society (Social-Science Requirement)
Section A: TR 8:30-9:45 a.m. – Professor Jakelic
Section B: TR 1:30-2:45 p.m. – Professor Jakelic
Continuing the important questions addressed in the First-Year Program — what it means to be human — this course examines the ways that human beings are deeply social creatures that both make and are made by their communities. The class points to the questions of good life and good society— questions that people share regardless of their cultural background and context— but also looks at various ways in which specific cultures answer those questions. The course will draw its theoretical emphases from major figures in the human sciences including Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Max Weber, Clifford Geertz, and Michel Foucault. The social thinkers that we study in this course each posit theories and methods for examining the relationship between individuals and their society. We start with the assumption that we are not isolated individuals; our opportunities and even our very identities are shaped by a social environment that we help create. Thus, we shape our society and in turn our society shapes us. We end the course by being social theorists ourselves, applying the tools of social analysis that we have honed all semester to contemporary issues of importance in the 21st century— this year, new media and technology. Thus, this class helps students learn how to move from the kinds of big ideas we discuss in our CC classes to critical analysis of the contemporary social events they read about in the news; it is a process of translation for engagement in the contemporary world.
In addition to weekly discussion, and small preparatory assignments, major assignments will include short (5 page) papers and one longer (10 page) paper.