Syllabus Introduction and Statement of Goals

This course is intended to provoke you into a posture of enthusiastic curiosity, contemplation and active engagement in the dynamics of our collective, Ideas, Issues and Institutions. It will focus on developing a set of tools with which you might more confidently engage in the issues that form the capricious, amalgamated mass of peoples we described, with the misnomer-by-omission, as American.

My Grandfather was a blacksmith, and in this tradition the first act of apprenticeship is to make for oneself the tools of the trade, the hammer, the pliers etc... Our trade is that of the citizen to which we are all born by right, and interestingly enough, by obligation. What are the tools of the citizen? Broadly, literacy (or apprehension more generally), critical thought (our method of logic) and knowledge (memory and an understanding of personal or collective narratives) are what we use to work through our quotidian lives. But to achieve a useful and permanent skill set by which an individual can construct an internalized understanding of the forces in her/his external world we will need to fine-tune and nourish these basic skills. We will review our documents with close reading, learning textual analysis. We will place ourselves in the position of historical players by acquiring knowledge of their world-view and learn the sympathy of history consequently enhancing our ethical reasoning. We will develop our visual literacy by reviewing images of art and maps, architecture and cartoons. All of these skills not only help us understand the costs of our morning coffee, but help us examine the fact of our desire for that coffee. (In addition to the way in which it arrives in our collective bellies). At root, we will be questioning our place in the world and how we consider that position relative to the inhabitants with which we share our lives.

You are attending college to improve yourself, intellectually, emotionally and technically. This course is designed as an initial stepping stone in your quest to earn those capacities by which you might navigate ever-deepening waters. …and how much deeper they do get!

Core 100 is a course in the liberal arts tradition. It is an introduction to the historical, political, social and economic institutions of the United States and is designed to address three important topics. The first topic is the study of the American Revolution, including the adoption to the Constitution and an examination of some of the critical issues that generated American democracy and its institutions. The second section of the course reviews how the American market economy affects our lives through the distribution and acquisition of wealth through the government policies. This will address the range of issues affected by our accounting and perspective on the world and the environment on which we depend. Civil rights will constitute the final segment of the course wherein we will transition from the earliest civil rights issues including religious and First Nations rights and examine how those precedents informed the tradition of slavery, Gender rights and Liberties for sexual inclination and the current discussion around identity.

Full Syllabus can be found on Blackboard