The Collegiate Center is the general education curriculum at Hendrix and begins in the first year with The Engaged Citizen (TEC) and Explorations: Liberal Arts for Life.
The Engaged Citizen (TEC) is a one-semester interdisciplinary course for all first-year Hendrix students. Pairs of faculty from across the institution explore a topic from different disciplinary approaches to provoke discussion and reflection on what it means to be involved in our communities, whether locally or globally.
TEC courses help students learn to comprehend and appreciate complex issues relevant to being engaged citizens, to make connections between the evidence and methods from two distinct disciplines in order to formulate arguments about engaged citizenship, and to express those arguments clearly in writing and discussion. TEC also prepares students to engage in and reflect on experiential learning that connects directly to the classroom experience, preparing the students for vibrant Odyssey experiences later in their Hendrix careers.
Listen to John Coltrane. Watch a Hendrix Players production. Spend an afternoon at Crystal Bridges Museum or discovering your Fat Soul! You'll see. Contemporary art touches, provokes, consoles and evokes the human spirit. It leads people into waters, both still and turbulent, well known to the world's religions: awe, wonder, bewilderment, serenity, ecstasy, solitude. These waters need not be coupled with formal belief in order to be powerful. Art and Spirit explores the intersection of art and spiritual experience by studying The Hudson River School, Martha Graham, Arlene Goldberg and creating your own digital story.
2015-2016 course option
The Great Depression of the 1930's was a watershed event in American history. In the stress of responding to this unprecedented economic crisis, the American government became more active in managing the economy. How much the government should intervene in a free-market economy, how comprehensive a "social safety net" should be, the danger of unintended consequences, the proper level of taxation, etc., have been the subject of much debate, a debate that has grown during the Great Recession of 2008-present. We will examine the economic and political dimensions of this debate with a focus on political philosophy and economic policy.
Galileo Galilei is a classic example of a person who lived an engaged life. Known today for his astronomical discoveries and his struggles with the Catholic Church, Galileo also made important contributions to experimental physics, natural philosophy, the interpretation of Holy Scripture, and the philosophy of science. In this class, we will see why Galileo is often called "the father of modern science." We will explore Galileo's scientific contributions and recreate many of Galileo's original experiments. We will investigate his rejection of the Aristotelian world-view and the far-reaching implications of his mathematization of nature.
While identity can help us understand ourselves, it can also set the stage for judgment and misunderstanding about other people. This course explores how specific groups have negotiated their quests for belonging in recent decades and focuses specifically on identities associated with race, immigration, gender, and sexual orientation. Appreciating the importance of identity and belonging will help students become engaged citizens who are better prepared to understand themselves and others in a variety of social contexts. This course will involve discussion of what it means to belong, how groups have attempted to belong, and how these attempts have been received.
Across the Americas, indigenous people are often citizens of both sovereign indigenous communities and nation-states. This course will explore the history and current experiences of these populations as a means to think more deeply about citizenship and sovereignty in the Western Hemisphere. Through a focus on key contemporary topics, such as indigenous political activity, media representations, land and territorial rights, casino gambling, and military service, students will examine the challenges and opportunities associated with indigenous citizenship in North America and Latin America today and will consider the impact of these on their own experiences of being engaged citizens.
By pursuing a liberal arts education you are taking part in a 2,400 year old tradition. What exactly is this "liberal arts tradition"? Why is it important? What are the unique advantages of liberal arts studies? How has the system evolved over the millennia? This class tackles these difficult questions as we trace the history and structure of the liberal arts from antiquity to present. We will explore the unique ties to citizenship and how civic involvement is an integral part of the tradition. As a final project you will research and design your vision for a modern liberal arts college.
Suicidal monks? Christian assassins? Patriots? Traitors? Using examples from recent Tibetan and Korean history, this course examines the relationship between identity (how we identify ourselves and are identified by others) and various forms of political and social action. It encourages students to consider what it means to be part of religious, national, ethnic, and other types of communities, how such communities form and change over time, and what actions are appropriate and justifiable in their names.
Why have sex? What is the difference between sex and gender? Is homosexuality a choice? Should we be critical about what we read concerning sex and gender? In this course, we will address these questions with different approaches to human sexuality and gender relations. We will consider feminist theory that offers explanations for the development of gender as a social construct and also learn about the impact of sex on the evolution of human nature. Lastly, we will investigate how science and the media approach topics of sex and gender, and examine contemporary issues, including Hendrix Shirttails and same-sex marriage.
In this course we will read a variety of utopian texts, including philosophical works, social theory, novels, short stories, and children's literature. We will explore how different utopian configurations address issues related to sex, sexuality, gender, reproduction, family, and desire. We will also examine other ways in which the organization of a society reflects assumptions about human nature and shapes an understanding of self. Throughout the course we will consider how the discourses of philosophy and literature contribute to the articulation of utopian thought, and in a final project students will experiment with and reflect on their own utopian writing.
At the end of the eighteenth century, the enslaved men and women of French-ruled Saint Dominique accomplished an extraordinary feat by claiming the right of citizenship in the French Empire. In 1804, they did something even more astonishing by founding their own, sovereign republic - Haiti. This course starts with the unfolding of the Haitian Revolution as a struggle over rights - who should have them and why - and traces how the revolution acquired meaning for people outside of Haiti, especially people living in the United States. We end by considering how the revolution continues to shape images of Haiti and Haitians.
We will use science fiction novels, short stories, and television episodes to explore issues affecting humanity-and even what it means to be human. How does the advancement of technology affect who we are? How can we determine what is and is not plausible scientific advancement? How does a writer whose characters are pointy-eared aliens use space battles and lasers to tell a story about racism? What literary and cinematographic techniques do authors use to write Sci-fi? The course will combine the scientific and literary analysis for students to critically think about and engage with issues in the modern world.
Literary, visual, and musical works will challenge students to analyze subversion of state power and accepted community norms. The arts create space for resistance for individual citizens excluded from community and have helped to serve as catalysts for broader resistance movements against oppressive power. Authors, artists, musicians, cartoonists, comedians, and public intellectuals from across history and time have used the arts for subversion and resistance to power when other forms of expression were not possible. Students themselves will put together a short audio-visual digital piece of work that complies their own creation of a collection or montage of artistic and musical representations of subversion and resistance.
Using anthropological and creative writing practices, this course seeks to deepen and complicate our understanding of contemporary landscapes and communities. Engaging with writings, class visitors, and local places, we will explore the role of place in the face of global processes like migration, electronic communication, and internet communities. We will consider issues of citizenship, exclusion, and those "out of place." We will investigate how place is one of many factors that builds cultural and individual identity, and we will explore how writing methods and genres can change the way the writer and the reader experience and understand place.
Explorations is a one-semester required course for all students enrolled in The Engaged Citizen in their first semester at Hendrix. The course is designed to foster an ongoing engagement with the liberal arts experience, to help new students transition to the Hendrix community, and to enhance students' potential for success at Hendrix.
Explorations topics include higher education and the liberal arts, the aims and expectations of Hendrix, engaged learning, academic and career explorations, and self-inquiry and personal development. The seminar also focuses on refining student knowledge, perspectives and skills requisite to successful academic work and integration into the Hendrix community.