Cultural Foundations

As a Catholic liberal arts institution founded by Father Edward Sorin of the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1885, St Edward’s University has a long history of commitment to diversity and social justice, in accord with Catholic social teachings emphasizing respect for human dignity, social equality, protection for the vulnerable, stewardship, and the search for truth, wherever that search might lead. These commitments, articulated in the St. Edward’s Mission Statement, are most directly addressed in the Cultural Foundations sequence of classes, dedicated to helping students develop a balanced understanding of and appreciation for their own and other cultures.

The 18-hour requirement in Cultural Foundations includes classes drawing on multiple disciplines in the social sciences and humanities, such as sociology and social work, history, economics, political science, and cultural studies. CULF 1320, The American Experience, begins the sequence by introducing students to the experiences of marginalized groups in US history, and their struggles for full inclusion in US society from before the American Revolution to the present day. This history provides context for the next class in the sequence, CULF 2321, American Dilemmas, in which students investigate social problems and inequalities involving these same groups in US society today. This class also prepares students for The Capstone Course by having students perform independent research on a contemporary social problem, and consider controversial policy approaches to solving it from the standpoint of both arguments and values.

COURSES

CULF 1318 - Literature and the Human Experience
Students read, discuss, and write about an ethnically and/or culturally diverse selection of fiction, poetry, drama, and belles letters. They learn the characteristics of these major literary genres and become familiar with some of the cultural conventions that both shape and are shaped by works of literature. Students are expected to participate in class discussions, as well as write several short papers.
Course Coordinator: Dr. Chris Flynn - christof@stedwards.edu

CULF 1319 – Understanding and Appreciating the Arts
This course introduces students to a wide range of artistic expression, including the visual, performing, and cinematic arts. Through experiencing a variety of readings, lectures, and discussions, and by attending plays, exhibits, and films, students are exposed to the breadth and depth of the arts, from aesthetic principles and arts vocabulary to the role of criticism. This course explores the relationship of various art forms to each other, placing them in an historical and cultural context. Students also study one art form in depth, focusing on the immediate creative experience, while developing critical criteria for viewing and appreciating all art.
Course Coordinator: Michael Masseymichaelm@stedwards.edu

CULF 1320 – The American Experience
The American Experience has varied with the gender, race, ethnicity and social class of the person. The purpose of this course is to examine this diversity in experience throughout the country's history, examining the struggles, achievements, and perspectives of marginalized groups in US history. Individual and group experiences will be placed within the social, economic, and political context of various eras. The course will also examine the role in these histories of the ideals and values of traditional US civic culture, such as liberty, equality, and human rights. The overall goal of this course is to develop historical understanding of the problems and strengths inherent in our pluralistic society.
Course Coordinator: Dr. Laura Hernandez-Ehrisman laurae@stedwards.edu

CULF 2321 – American Dilemmas
This course presents the principles and methods of economics, sociology, and political science to analyze current social problems. It is complementary to “The American Experience” in that it continues the theme of social pluralism and consideration of social and political ideals as it explores the problems and issues our society faces in the present. Class discussions and assignments are structured to encourage students to address the meaning of individual and public responsibility as well as to define the common good. The importance of conflicting values in defining social problems and their solutions is included.
Course Coordinator: Dr. Laura Hernandez-Ehrisman laurae@stedwards.edu

CULF 3330 – History and Evolution of Global Processes
This course focuses on the history of global economics, global politics and cultural processes from the 16th to the 21st centuries. It explores the evolution of their interrelationships in an increasingly interdependent world. Students must demonstrate an understanding of these issues in order to successfully complete the course. Students will have on- and/or off-campus curricular and co-curricular experiences that contribute to global understanding. Prerequisite: Junior standing.
Course Coordinator: Dr. Christie Wilson - christiw@stedwards.edu

CULF 3331 – Contemporary World Issues
The course includes an overview of crucial global issues. Each section will focus on critical issues affecting at least one non-western region (the Near East, the Far East, Africa or Latin America). Students analyze issues in cultural context and use the disciplines of history, political science, sociology and economics for an in-depth analysis.
Course Coordinator: Dr. Mity Myhr - mitylenm@stedwards.edu
 

Click here for sample syllabi from previous semesters.