Loyola University Maryland

Messina

Self and Other Course Pairing

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Justice and Community: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times (PL201)

Is there really anything left to learn from thinkers of the ancient world?  It seems we know so much more today, even though we are clearly mired in the same problems in our individual lives, our relationships to others and our political societies. Scientific knowledge, though desperately important in the positive transformation of our human world, is still not yet wisdom. What is wisdom then? It seems to be a form of understanding that precedes scientific understanding, and that has long been forgotten or neglected-- at least in the political realm.
The prime focus of this course is the thinking of ancient Greece, considered to be the foundation of the Western philosophical tradition. But we will also read literature from the Eastern tradition, as well as contemporary literary works and current events articles.  Throughout the semester we will focus on questions that concern the relationship between the individual and her community, seeking to gain insight from ancient texts.  Large questions about justice, responsibility, obligation and freedom will orient our thinking as we explore the works of wise people long since dead: the sages of the ancient world. We will consistently aim both to enjoy the literature of the ancient world on its own merits, and to explore, analyze, and make those texts relevant to today’s social, political and epistemological and metaphysical concerns.

Faculty Biography

Catriona Hanley has made Baltimore her base for close to fifteen years, though frequent years and semesters abroad within that time have kept her always returning fresh to this endlessly surprising town. Between travels in her student days, she took degrees from McGill University in Montreal as well as the Université de Montrèal, and was granted the Ph.D. at Loyola University Chicago. She specializes in the history of philosophy, with special interest in Greek and 20th-century Continental philosophy (Aristotle and Heidegger are particular favorites). Strange as it may seem, there is little she likes more than discussing metaphysics and epistemology. Recent interest has led her to studies in the philosophy of peace, and philosophy of culture. As of this writing she is in Italy, but promises to come home in time for the fall semester.

Understanding Literature (EN 101)

Recent research on the value of literature asserts that reading fiction is instrumental in nurturing empathy. That is, reading not only makes you smarter, it also makes you nicer. By examining a variety of conventional literary forms (poetry, short fiction, graphic novel, tradition novel, film), we'll explore this assertion about the ability of literature to foster our imaginative and empathetic engagement with those who are different (religiously, socially, racially, sexually) from ourselves.

Faculty Biography

Kathy Forni is a professor in the English Department. Her specialty is medieval literature, especially Chaucer and Arthurian legend. She is currently writing a book on Beowulf in contemporary popular culture. Students say that she is helpful and fair--but to beware of her frequent pop quizzes.

Mentor Biography

Pat Cassidy joined the Messina staff as a Program Coordinator in the summer of 2015. Pat is also a yoga teacher at the Fitness and Aquatics Center and is currently working towards his Masters of Arts degree in Spiritual and Pastoral Care here at Loyola. Previous to his work at Loyola, Pat worked at the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Baltimore, MD from 2010-2015 where he managed and facilitated volunteer formation and programming in Belize and Tanzania. A Former Jesuit Volunteer himself, Pat served in Punta Gorda, Belize from 2008-2010 directing local student retreats in Mayan Villages and coordinating service immersion trips from the United States. In his spare time, Pat can be found biking around Baltimore, exploring new restaurants, and practicing yoga.

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