Funded by NYU’s Arts and Sciences Curriculum Development Faculty Challenge grant (2014-2015), these series of workshops brings together faculty from two different global sites (New York City and London), and from different disciplinary approaches (History, biology,  philosophy, literature, and theatre) to investigate the role of art in the process of learning/education. The workshops are conceptualized specifically to explore the relevance of the Great Texts curriculum for the discussion of contemporary culture, to serve as curriculum resource for the Core requirements of Liberal Studies and Global Liberal Studies in NYC, London, Paris, and Florence. They would also be made available to faculty teaching other core programs at NYU and outside institutions such as the Association of Core Texts and Courses (ACTC).

The workshops facilitate an experiential approach to the teaching of the great texts in the core humanities curriculum at Liberal Studies. Currently, a set of six Cultural and Social Foundations examines the evolution of philosophy and the arts from prehistory to the modern and contemporary period. Our objective is to reconceive of the core courses as a way to engage the students in a creative and interdisciplinary exploration of contemporary culture, an exploration that is grounded in the great books tradition. Our conceptual starting point could be summed up with the Vicchian hypothesis that we can only know what we have made.

A handful of model classes, comprising readings, study questions, whole-class and group activities, as well as assignments can be adapted and modified by faculty teaching the Liberal Arts.

Mahnaz Yousefzadeh

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