Humanities and Catholic Culture
Dr. Stephen Krason, chair
Prof. James Gaston, director
The Department of Political Science answers the call given by the Church of articulating a true understanding of the integration of faith, reason, and culture. The study of political life and more broadly of social, economic, legal, cultural, scientific, and human life questions, which is done in the Department’s programs, proceeds from a Catholic understanding of the human person, his social relationships, the natural law that governs his conduct and his final end in God.
The aim of the Humanities and Catholic Culture Major is twofold: (1) to give students a solid and broad liberal arts experience built around traditional disciplines in the humanities, and (2) to convey the contributions of Catholicism in the building of Western culture during the major periods of its history. Both aims are accomplished within, and permeated by, the overall vision of the Catholic liberal arts and the history of Western Civilization as proposed by the noted historian Christopher Dawson.
Students gain solid training in philosophy and theology as the basis for their studies, work to develop proficient in writing, take courses in history and literature that study the events and the great writings of the different periods, and gain knowledge of areas related to the humanities such as political philosophy. The natural sciences and foreign languages are also studied as part of the University’s core requirements. Many of the acknowledged “great books” and great thinkers are read, as are learned commentaries on the various periods of cultural development. A number of courses stress, specifically, the impact of religion on culture and Catholicism’s relationship with different cultural currents and developments. Besides being an outstanding educational experience, this major is excellent preparation for further studies in the humanities and nearly any social science discipline, law school, politics, the religious life, and any career that stresses intellectual talents and necessitates the evaluation and integration of factual material in light of divergent viewpoints.
Assessment Learning Goals
At the completion of the Humanities and Catholic Culture Program, the HCC major is able to:
- Reflect upon and articulate the meaning of a Catholic liberal education, and the methods one must employ in order to attain such an education, especially in light of the thought of the noted historian Christopher Dawson, whose thought has inspired in part the HCC program of study.
- Comprehend how culture is the material object of study in such a Catholic liberal education, and that religion is the key to understanding culture in its complex yet unitive dimensions, including the intellectual, social, economic, and environmental elements associated with such a holistic model of culture.
- Explain the basic events and intellectual developments in Western civilization, Roman Catholicism, and the interaction of the two, especially as pertains to the history of the United States.
Humanities and Catholic Culture Course Descriptions