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Fall 2019 Contemporary Civilization Mini-Core: Why Education?

Students studying in Butler library

Why Education? | Susan Pedersen, the Gouverneur Morris Professor of History

As citizens, parents and former students, we have an individual and collective stake in higher education, but what is education for? Should it teach skills, offer specialized knowledge and/or provide refreshment and wisdom? Does it mitigate social distinctions and hierarchies, or legitimize them? And what about politics? Does it confer certain privileges or duties on those who benefit from it?

Political philosophers, ancient as well as modern, thought hard about just these questions. Now, when “expertise” is under attack and the value of humanistic learning is in question, it seems worthwhile to look to some famous statements about what education—and the educated—can and should do.

Session 1 | Wednesday, October 2
Plato’s Republic

Session 2 | Wednesday, October 16
Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Women and John Stuart Mill’s Considerations on Representative Government

Session 3 | Wednesday, October 30
W.E.B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk and Virginia Woolf, Three Guineas



Wednesday, October 2
Wednesday, October 16
Wednesday, October 30

6:30 - 8:30 p.m.


Tickets: $160 for three evenings
($100 for Young Alumni in class years 2010-2019)


To be confirmed upon registration


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Registration opens about five weeks prior to the start of class. Have questions about the course or registration?

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