Did you know?
Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition.
Intellectual Foundations I and II are core courses, typically taken during the fall and spring semesters of a student’s freshman year. The goal of Intellectual Foundations is to introduce students to a true liberal arts education. In classes of 21 students or fewer, freshmen read, discuss, and write about key texts from the Greek and Roman worlds through the Renaissance and into our modern era.
The yearlong sequence uses a chronological approach and is taught collaboratively by faculty from academic departments and programs across disciplines.
The intellectual tradition of the West is characterized by active dialogue among literary, scientific, philosophical, political, and spiritual thinkers, ancient and modern. These thinkers saw themselves as the heirs of intellectual riches, but at the same time, they were contesting, modifying, and even replacing what they inherited. Intellectual Foundations seminars ask students to participate in this ongoing journey of the mind. In each seminar, students are called upon to discuss intensely, write engagingly, and articulate clearly their thoughts through critical essays and conversations in dialogue with one another and with the texts of the course.
Outstanding Works of Literature
The texts selected for study in Intellectual Foundations are outstanding works of literature, social and political philosophy, economic thought, science, film, and music. In Intellectual Foundations I, students read texts such as W.E.B. Du Bois’s “The Souls of Black Folk,” Plato’s “Republic,” Ovid’s “Metamorphoses,” and Homer’s “Odyssey,” as well as “The Bible” and works by Aristotle, Augustine, and Aeschylus.
In Intellectual Foundations II, students read texts such as Dante’s “Inferno,” Montaigne’s “Essays,” and Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” as well as authors such as Descartes, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Jane Austen, and Toni Morrison.
The Intellectual Foundations program at Carthage provides students with a level of competency that will aid them in all of their classes at Carthage, and in their future careers. Students develop critical reading, writing, cultural literacy, and oral communication skills.