Oct 01, 2022  
2015-2016 Academic Catalog 

Core Curriculum in Interdisciplinary Humanities

Core I: Histories of the Present: Violence

Core I takes up this task through an examination of the ways in which violence has been conceptualized and represented historically. The problems and issues we explore (for example, the relationship between political organization and state violence, or the role of literature in pointing to limits that define and enable dominant ways of thinking) involve values and categories such as law and justice, humanitarian intervention, gender and sexual difference, "race", universalism, cultural affiliation, and individualism.

These ideas play a central role in shaping our present world and figure prominently in apparently intractable debates about the world—whether we define that world in indigenous, local, national, or global terms. More often than not, these debates cannot be resolved through recourse to correct or incorrect understandings of what we assume to be "self-evident." What Core I seeks to provide, in relation to such debates, is the vantage point of critical distance: the opportunity to think about and critique self-reflexively the consequences of the very things we take for granted.

The approach is two-fold: historical and textual. History is invoked as a capacity for critical self-understanding. The origins of what we take to be self-evident categories are explored but so too are other ways of thinking about violence in its social, political, and cultural dimensions that were marginalized or subject to institutional forgetting. The second approach of the course is textual. To the extent that key categories and practices are a matter for contestation, they require a focus on interpretation: to understand how values and categories posed as true and natural were constructed in debates and urgent political contests.

Core II: Histories of the Present

Core II continues—with sharper focus and through an array of course offerings—the interdisciplinary investigations begun in Core I. That is, we develop our examination of the ways in which our contemporary self-understandings (political, moral, economic, aesthetic, etc.) emerge from and express commitments and categories that are often regarded as given—so "natural" and "obvious" as to prevent us from thinking clearly about their complexities and ambiguities. Core II courses are taught by a faculty member with interdisciplinary research interests and may be team-taught by faculty whose complementary research interests make for fresh interdisciplinary dialogue. Consult the Scripps Portal for CORE II offerings for the current semester. Core II offerings vary each year and may include:

The Arts and Literature of Zen Buddhism  

Becoming Someone Else in American Culture  

Constructions of (Dis)Ability  


Decolonize: First Nations Musics and Literatures  

Desire and Decadence: Interdisciplinary Contexts in Fin-de-Siecle Europe  

Eat the Rich! Capitalism and Work  

Ecological Justice  

Feminisms and Anti/Nonviolence  

Lights, Camera, Murder! Crimes and Trials in France and the U.S  

Misrepresenting Women  

The Nature of “Nature.”  

Old New Media   

The Question of the Animal, Ancient and Contemporary  

Riotous Americans: Los Angeles and the Poetics of Unrest  

The Self and the Origins of the State in the Western World  

Shakespeare and Selfhood  

Terms of Modernity  

Tragedy and National Narratives  

Travel, Encounter, and the History of Religion  

Urban Nights: Gender, Work, and Experiences  

What is Avant-Garde?  

Why Punish?  

Core III: Histories of the Present

Core III courses are small seminars designed to foster innovation and collaboration among students and faculty. The seminars involve considerable student participation and afford the opportunity to do more individualized, self-directed scholarship in association with a single faculty member working in the area of expertise from an interdisciplinary perspective. The work of the seminars culminates in a self-designed project exploring a particular topic through the lens of "histories of the present." Exceptional student work will be disseminated to the wider College community. Depending on instructor and subject matter, the Core III seminars involve research, internships with fieldwork, exhibits, performances, conferences, and multimedia projects. Consult the Scripps Portal for Core III offerings for the current semester.  Core III course offerings vary each year and may include:

Animal Rights and Speciesism  

The Artist Book as an Agent of Social Change  

Biblical Fictions and the Religious Imagination  

Blues Jazzlines: Past and Present Tense  

Challenges from the global south - "America"  

Collective Songwriting: Theory and Knowledge Production  

Creating and Recreating Genji  

Cyberculture and the Posthuman Age  

The Detective in the City  

Discord and Dialog  

Ecological Justice  

Education and Inequality  

Encountering the Middle East: Representations of Race, Gender, and Violence  

Fame & Happiness: French Women as Case Study  

Foreign Language and Culture Teaching Clinic  

History and Memory  

The Life Story  

Mathematics in Our Culture  

The Mechanical Eye: Photography from Science to Art  

Mobilizing Art: Creating Activist Performances  

Realism and Anti-Realism  

Regarding the Pain of Others: Ethics and Documentary Representation  

Sites of Seduction: Aesthetic Contexts of the French Garden and its Others  

Snapshots, Portraits, Instagram  

Southern California and Hollywood Film: Human Dreams, Human Difference and Human Desire  

The Twentieth-Century Music Schism  

United: Women’s Work and Collective Action  

What is Happiness?  

Women, Girls, and Mathematical Superstitions  

Virgins and Goddesses