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Purpose: To collectively revisit the theoretical basis, educational purpose, and interdisciplinary and global potential for “core curricula” at the level of higher education to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

The underlying motivation of the original Core at Columbia had been the preservation of civilization in the wake of WWIquestioning the nature of civilization, identifying those ideas that had most influenced its survival and progress, and fostering an appreciation for human endeavors, concerns, and achievements in such fields as political philosophy, literature, and the arts.  Today it would seem the challenge is more to understand the nature and future of interdependencethe interdependence of civilizations, of the sciences and the humanities, of universal values and individual voices, etc.  This Seminar invites the participation of faculty and administrators, as well as concerned educators from beyond Columbia, to 1) help frame the kinds of questions that most demand humanitys collective concern in this new age of interdependence; 2) to identify those classicsincluding seminal advances in contemporary sciences where advisablefrom throughout the worlds traditions that will help bring those concerns into sharpest focus; and 3) to rethink from a fresh perspective the institutional structures and resources by which this new generation of interdisciplinary core courses may be most effectively implemented.

Professor Rachel E. Chung


Meeting dates and locations are subject to change. Please confirm details with the seminar rapporteur.

Meeting Schedule

02/19/2020 Location TBA
8:00 PM
Symposium & Classics for an Emerging World

03/06/2020 Location TBA
5:30 PM
Sophocles' Philoctetes
Gareth Williams, Columbia University

03/27/2020 Location TBA
6:00 PM
Mencius and His Psychology of Pedagogy
Rachel Chung, Columbia University

04/03/2020 Location TBA
6:00 PM
Shahnameh as a Political Text