Major Cultures Gets Gentle, Lightly Applied Makeover

Written by

sphinxRemember all that yelling last fall about changing the Major Cultures requirement? About how it was going to change into a seminar using $50 million from the endowment? Well, the requirement has changed for the class of 2012, according to a bulletin from the Core office — but Bwog isn’t actually sure how different it is from the old one. The new “Global Core” seems to involve a new list of classes that can be either focused on one culture or look comparatively at several, but the link to the list is broken, so we’ll have to get back to you with more details.

The blurb on the changes (misspellings and all) is pasted after the jump.  

“The Global Core requirement consists of courses that examine areas not the primary focus of Literature Humanities and Contemporary Civilization and that, like other Core courses, are broadly introductory, interdisciplinary, and temporally or spatially expansive. Courses in the Global Core are organized around a set of prinary texts or artifacts, which may range from texts of literate traditions to media (e.g. film), ritual performances or oral sources, produced in the regions of the world in question. Global Core courses fall into two categories: those that focus on a specific culture or civilization, tracicng its appearance and/or existence across a significant span of time and sometimes across more than one present-day country or region; and those that address several world settings or cultures comparatively (and may include Europe and the West), in terms of a common theme, a set of analytic questions, or interactions between different world regions.”

Tags: ,


  1. Student

    *fap* *fap*

    Wow, this manages to sound weaker and less rigorous than some of the old Major Cultures courses!

  2. i think  

    the hunger strikers were retarded and just made matters worse

  3. Dominique

    Actually, this description and even the new description of "global core" sound much more provoking and useful, especially compared to the old MC description, "The Major Cultures component of the Core explores the globally influential and historically rooted cultures and civilizations of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. No part of the Core Curriculum assumes that boundaries between “West” and “non-West” have ever been clear, impermeable, or unchanging; or even that a distinction so rough and so simple is particularly useful for understanding the world. Nor does the Core assume that one civilization is “ours” and the rest are “others.” Whoever “we” are, we mistake the ancient Greeks if we think them just like us or claim them for our own, and we mistake the ancient Chinese (for example) if we think them alien or can find nothing in them of significance or interest to us. Indeed, the effect of the Core as a whole should be to reveal connections, influences, parallels, and blurry boundaries between cultures as much as to show their partial distinctness. But the Core requirements do recognize that cultures and civilizations in different parts of the world have developed across long periods as partly independent traditions with histories of their own, and that the wide variety of important things that have been thought, said, and written in the world, many of which still help shape human action in our own time, cannot be adequately understood or appreciated if torn from those traditions and histories. The Major Cultures requirement, founded on this recognition, promotes learning and thought about the variety of civilizations and the diversity of traditions that have formed the world and continue to interact in it today."

    And poster #2, besides from that post being repetitive and unfounded, it's just a waste of everyone's time. Regardless of one's personal thoughts on the strike, we are all sick of whiny Bwog comments about the hunger strike. I'm sure you have better things to do with your time than open up a Bwog chain of worthless arguing. I see you have a campus IP, and it's a lovely pearl-gray day, so why not go for a walk? Or curl up in your favorite Butler corner and re-read a favorite book. Summer's too short for all this negativity.

  4. Ron

    Dominique, what are you talking about? If you have a cogent reason for why the new requirements are better or more sophisticated than the old, why don't you give it instead of just quoting the old text?

    Honestly, if this is the best that you've gotten out of your hunger strike, you've thrown away your health (and future longevity, maybe?) for absolutely nothing. Don't delude yourself into thinking anything has changed.

    • Dominique

      My apologies. I thought the differences spoke for themselves, namely the repeated "us" and "them" references in the original Major Cultures description, as well as the overall defesive, "we're not being Western-centric" tone. The newer Global Core also points to a focus on interdisciplinary work and analysis, rather than the limiting "cultures" and "traditions".

      I had the great fortune to have taken African Civ. last year, and as this course is one of the templates that changes are based upon, the changes to come have the chance to be really enriching. Seminar-style classes that promote discussion and debate, a commitment to primary source material, and an insistence on comparative analysis are a welcome change to the "Major Cultures" curriculum.

      • ...  

        Ah, right. Because that old 'us and them' dialogue is only appropriate when it comes from certain groups.

      • personally

        i don't really see the difference in what this actually means for the courses. granted the description sounds a little better, but the courses sounds like major culture plus some of the interdepartmental seminars that have been offered fro a number of years now.

        what exactly is new about this 'african civ' class that makes it a gift to pedagogy and cultural understanding? seminar classes have been used in classes on chinese thought since roughly 1950, so there is nothing new with that alone.

  5. what exactly

    is the difference between these two sets of requirements? The little blurbs of rhetoric used to describe the core to tourists and irrelevant to professors? A different set of classes? Will 2012 be able to fulfill major cultures by, say, taking the colloquium in east Asian major texts? What will happen to the former major cultures classes i.e. will they drop in attendance?

    These changes seem cosmetic (and possibly harmful?)

  6. why

    didn't the hunger strikers just ask CU to rewrite the description?

    And, why couldn't "shorter words" have been one of the demands?

  7. um...

    Bwog, since you're so interested in the class of 2012, make a list of stuff they should bring for their first year...maybe this could become a tradition?

  8. wow

    if this thread had any more empty words, you'd think it was an Obama campaign speech. Why don't you all just shut the fuck up, sparknote whichever course you choose (because god knows you won't even read this shit), and get on with your fucking lives. Oh that's right, you can't, because some of you actually major in this bullshit and yet want to be taken seriously.
    This sums up exactly how I feel on this "issue":

  9. Colloquial  

    Um, Colloquium on Major East Asian texts already allows you to fulfill your Major Cultures requirement. Half of it, that is. You could fulfill the full requirement by taking the MEALAC companion course, and frankly I think even requiring just those two courses would be a perfectly satisfactory reform. That's part of what was ridiculous about the strike - what exactly is the problem with having a bit more choice in the matter, when the list of required courses already includes a lot of great classes like those?

    • yeah but  

      that's how i plan on fulfilling it (taking both), but i'm 2011. can 2012 do the same thing, or will they have to do one of these new courses?

      • unknown

        I don't believe that's been publicly announced yet. Personally, I would be surprised and disappointed if that were the case. The last thing the Core needs is another cookie-cutter class that everyone has to take, especially one that purports to account for an entire range of disciplines in a mere semester. (Frontiers of Science, I'm looking at you).

  10. hey

    i heard that they already have the cc and lit hum box sets on sale at the book store, does anyone know how much the cc one costs?

  11. ...

    your mom is temporally and spatially expansive.

  12. confused

    wait, this is what the hunger strike was about? i thought they were just taking a stand against paper mache octopuses

  13. oh hey sweet

    as someone who has gotten shafted by major cultures and its ability to make me realize that I don't give a damn about Latin American Civilizations but doesn't particularly want to take another 200-person lecture that broadly attempts to graze the surface of an entire continent in a semester...i'm pleased to learn that upperclassmen have the choice of fulfilling either the Major Cultures or the Global Core.
    i'm pretty okay with that.

© 2006-2015 Blue and White Publishing Inc.