With courses from mythology to archaeology, ancient history to heritage studies, the Antiquity track brings together students from all walks of university life. Whether you want to be a museum curator, field archaeologist, classical scholar or art conservator, Antiquity is extremely well positioned to get you there. We closely collaborate with other fields at UCR, from art to anthropology to chemistry, and with external partners like the Walcherse Archaeological Services, and museums, classics departments and excavations in the Netherlands and abroad. Antiquity at UCR will not only get you grounded in the past, it will fast-track you into your future.
Courses in this Track
- 100-level: Classical Mythology
- 100-level: Introduction to Archaeology
- 200-level: Classical Literature
- 200-level: Ancient History
- 300-level: Greek Art & Archaeology
- 300-level: The Global Artefact
100-level: Classical Mythology
Are the Greek gods just? Do they have to be? Can murder be justified under certain circumstances? In ancient myth, characters like Prometheus, Achilles, Antigone and Medea wondered about these questions, and they questions echo in the great works of art and literature produced in antiquity and after. This course explores ancient Greek myth, with its roots in Egypt and the Middle East, and its influence on Rome and other Mediterranean cultures until the end of antiquity and beyond.
100-level: Introduction to Archaeology
The oldest settlement we know, Çatalhöyük, dates from 10.000 BC. Later in antiquity came the first great centres like Alexandria, Rome, Jerusalem, Meroe and Istanbul. This course explores how people’s lives changed by living in these early cities, from the Neolithic to Medieval times, from Greece, to Kush, to Sogdia. How did their interaction with landscapes change? What role did craft and other forms of material culture have on the social and cognitive make-up of communities? Through these questions, this course will change the way you look at objects as bearers of information.
200-level: Classical Literature
In classical antiquity, literary authors have dealt with masculinity and femininity, have had their heroes worship women; but also violate them. Yet the image of women in ancient texts is not per se negative. Penelope matches Odysseus in strength and wit; Antigone breaks the law, but stands her ground. But do these heroines reflect social reality?
Power is reflected to us through audiences, from ancient theater crowds, to patrons of poetry. Using social backgrounds, as well as discourse analysis, we explore the web of gender and power in ancient literature that reaches out to our day.
200-level: Ancient History
What makes us into us, and others into others? Like us, ancient societies struggled with definitions of their identities, in institutional groups like city states, leagues, and empires; but also in the contrasts between free citizens and slaves, newcomers and autochthonous inhabitants, men and women, the pure and the polluted, young and old, the civilized and the barbarian.
This course traces these dividing lines of ethnicity, birth, age, class, wealth, gender, religion, and civic status through the Greco-Roman world from the Bronze Age to late-antique interaction with Africa and the Far East.
300-level: Greek Art & Archaeology
Greece was among several places in the world where in the 5th century, an exceptional flourish of culture, technology and science occurred. This course each time explores different aspects of this great leap. Recent years have led us through art, religion and citizenship; medicine and miasma; emotions and madness; and women’s religion from a cognitive perspective. The emphasis is always on theories and methods; and on letting the archaeological material inform our grasp of antiquity – traditionally based on texts. A field trip and a student conference at the NIA in Athens conclude the course.
300-level: The Global Artefact
This course explores the history of heritage from the first public collections to 21st-century UNESCO conventions. It asks questions like: where did museums come from? Do they protect our common heritage, or do they violate cultural human rights? Can museums contribute to more balanced societies? Do people mind heritage being lost? Do we even need museums and heritage?
After a grounding in various museum research methods, students will put possible answers into practice. The course ends with a changing final assignment, e.g. a conference, a museum exhibition or a heritage craft project.
Art History introduces students to a wide range of visual art from the Middle Ages up to the present day. It provides the visual skills to look at and understand artistic production from different cultures throughout time. Students discover the historical, religious, and cultural contexts that shaped and changed artworks as they were made, used and appraised. Whether a student is interested in medieval altarpieces, baroque sculpture or modern performance art, Art History seeks to understand the roles that art played in the past and continues to play in our image-saturated world.
Courses in this Track
- 100-level: Introduction to Art History
- 200-level: 17th-Century Dutch Painting
- 200-level: Italian Renaissance Art
- 300-level: Interpreting Modern Art
- 300-level: Rome and the Classical Tradition
- 300-level: Topics in Art History
100-level: Introduction to Art History
This course introduces students to the field of art history. It focuses on a number of important paintings, each representative of a specific period or movement in the history of Western art. Thus a chronological survey is offered ranging from the later Middle Ages until the present day. The course discusses individual works of art and their makers in depth, and pays attention to the art institutions and markets, as well as to critics and historiographers that somehow contributed to these masterpieces and their reputation. Field trips to important art collections are part of the course.
200-level: 17th-Century Dutch Painting
Dutch art from the seventeenth century has secured a place for itself among the highlights of Western culture. It is to be found in museums all over the world, and many museums specialised in painting in general have a department devoted to the Dutch Golden Age. Along with a survey of the most important art of the period, the course offers an overview of the most important controversies that have determined the discussion on its essence. Field trips to important art collections are part of the course.
200-level: Italian Renaissance Art
This course is dedicated to the paintings, sculptures, and architecture created in Italy during the Italian Renaissance. Along with a survey of the most important works of art of the period, the course will introduce students to the most important topics and debates in the field of Renaissance art.
300-level: Interpreting Modern Art
The course will offer a survey of the most important movements in modern art. It broaches international developments by focusing in particular on works from major artists (e.g. Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, Piet Mondrian, and Gerhard Richter). Art work and theoretical ideas, as well as social phenomena that can be considered important influences on the ideas and works of artists, will be taken into account.
300-level: Rome and the Classical Tradition
This course explores the art and culture of classical Rome as well as its legacy and continued influence in medieval and modern times. An overview of the major developments in the art of Roman antiquity is offered and the key monuments of the period are introduced. The course also explores their enduring contemporary relevance. How did men and women of later times see, understand, and interpret the rich heritage of Roman culture? What did sculptures like the Laocoön Group or buildings like the Pantheon mean to them and what did they do with these monuments?
300-level: Topics in Art History
The topic of this course is the history of art history. The course will focus on key figures and key texts that have shaped art history as an academic discipline.Topics that will be discussed include: art as history, art history and aesthetics, meaning and interpretation, authorship and identity, and art history in the globalized world.
What is the difference between cinema and film? Drama and film can evoke strong emotions, but why do people pay for the experience? The interdisciplinary study of drama, film, and media is particularly suited to the Liberal Arts setting. Class discussions, guest lectures, and occasional research trips seek to inspire students to engage with the omnipresent and countless forms of media that surround us. This track covers concepts, theories, and analytical tools in the study of drama and audiovisual media. Completion of the track opens doors to excellent graduate programs around the world, and UCR graduates have gone on to become internationally-recognized filmmakers and scholars of cinema.
Courses in this Track (subject to change)
- 100-level: Introduction to Film, Theatre, and Media
- 200-level: Media Studies
- 200-level: Media and the Environment
- 300-level: Journalism
- 300-level: The Documentary
100-level: Introduction to Film, Theatre, and Media
In this course, basic concepts, theories, and analytical tools are introduced, discussed, and applied. Students are introduced to a glossary of cinema and examine film as a cultural product. The course covers dramaturgical principles and the functions of media in society. Students can choose to write an essay or do an applied project. The course thus prepares students for continued study in the field.
200-level: Media Studies
Stories told in film and graphic narratives, online series, blogs, and through music and dance, teach us about the past and present. We explore dis/empowerment by juxtaposing Hollywood’s projections of Indian stereotypes with independent indigenous films. We study internet platforms and streaming series to uncover constructions of the dis/abled “other,” the ‘oppositional gaze,’ (Hooks), and race and class privilege. Visiting activists, artists and scholars educate, inspire and lead civic engagement.
200-level: Media and the Environment
This course examines ways contemporary environmental concerns unfold in forms of visual culture. We discuss the animal, the Anthropocene, anthropomorphism, biocentrism, deep time, deep ecology, contested ideas of “nature,” as well as indigenous and postcolonial digital media. Students can write an academic paper or explore environmental understanding through media art practices such as the moving image, photography, or installations.
This course brings together diverse skills to the production of media content. We focus on the craft of journalism, and students will also work on the first canon of Rhetoric, Invention, by studying “news values” and newsgathering techniques. In a series of assignments, you will have to find and extract information and write effective non-fiction stories for different media and – simulating journalistic practice – this will be done to tight deadlines. Students will conduct interviews, write agency copy and features and produce multi-media content.
300-level: The Documentary
In this course, students will be introduced to the development of the documentary form. Students will A) produce a theoretical paper dealing with a problem and 2) deal with the problem in a short documentary film, video, or piece of media. The aims of the course are to foster an understanding of documentary as a diverse form, with a range of styles and genres, to root this diversity in its various historical and social contexts, and to introduce you to analytical tools appropriate for study of documentaries.
History at UCR explores topics from World History and Social History to Histories of Gender. Class discussions, lectures, and research trips to regional heritage institutions or places such as the International Institute for Social History in Amsterdam or the Red Star Line Museum in Antwerp educate and inspire. Sources studied cover the lives of both ‘ordinary’ and ‘famous’ people in the Netherlands and across the globe. Historical knowledge grants entry into Dutch or international graduate programs in History or International Relations, to Peace, Media and Gender Studies. Former students are employed in government, non-profit and private sectors.
Courses in this Track
- 100-level: World History
- 100-level: Early Modern History
- 100-level: Introduction to Gender Studies
- 100-level: Modern History
- 200-level: History of Empires
- 200-level: Western Way of War
- 300-level: History of Capitalism
- 300-level: History of Knowledge and Information
- 300-level: Topics in Cultural History
100-level: World History
This course explores the history of the world by focusing on non-European regions. World history (the study of the history of interactions of and between complex societies) and global history (the study of the process of globalization) are central to our understanding of the past. The class will investigate how the rise of so called complex (urban and imperial) societies has always intertwined with processes of exchange across long distances before and after the integration of the Americas and Oceania into the modern-world-system from 1500 on.
100-level: Early Modern History
This course gives a chronological overview of the early modern period (1500-1815) in world history. It covers the transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance, and from the early modern period to the modern age. In this course we will attempt to develop a critical perspective on widely disseminated notions about modernization in which medieval and early modern society are described as ‘stages’ in the development to modernity. In order to test this perspective we will look at specific themes in the early modern age, so that students will gain insight in the characteristics of this period.
Special attention will be given to the Dutch Republic in the seventeenth century. Within a small and unstable territory, this nation managed to become the economic center of Europe, and to some extent even of the contemporary world. The course covers the interactions between economic, social, political and religious factors in the history of the Dutch Republic and other European nations.
100-level: Introduction to Gender Studies
This interdisciplinary course, taught by Cultural Anthropologist Herman Tak and Social Historian Nancy Mykoff, introduces students to the study of gender. In the first half of the term, Dr. Tak traces the evolution of gender studies in the social sciences by drawing from seminal theoretical works. He charts gender across cultures. In the second half, Dr. Mykoff looks at the gendering of daily life in the recent past through the present within an American context. She focuses on masculinity through the lens of popular culture i.e., videos ‘gone viral.’
100-level: Modern History
This course gives a chronological overview of history from 1815 till today. The nineteenth century saw the rise of industrial societies and of the new political ideals of popular sovereignty (e.g. Marxism, socialism) and national self-determination. These forces continued to operate in the twentieth century, which was characterized by tremendous upheavals like the Russian Revolution, the two World Wars and the demise of communism in Eastern Europe. The course offers a survey of the main economic, political and cultural developments from 1815 to the present.
200-level: History of Empires
This course is about great powers, superpowers and even hyperpowers. ‘Empire’ is a powerful and dangerous word. It has a rich and ambiguous history and strong polemical connotations now and in the past. The typical empire is usually presented as oppressive and ruthless, although some of the modern empires are democracies that focus upon the improvements of its society.
This course deals with some of the most important empires in World History. Next to this some of the most important theories on empires will be treated. How is the rise and fall of empires explained? What are the sources of empire and how are great power politics conducted?
200-level: Western Way of War
This course gives a chronological overview of the history of Warfare in the Western World from antiquity to the present day. All aspects of war on land, sea, and in the air are covered: weapons and technology; strategy and defense; discipline and intelligence; mercenaries and standing armies; cavalry and infantry; chivalry and Blitzkrieg; guerrilla assault and nuclear arsenals. The history of the West has centred around ferocious competition for mastery, in which the ruthless, innovative, and the decisive displaced the complacent, the imitative, and the irresolute.
300-level: History of Capitalism
This 300-level history course takes an historical perspective on economic life. Since the late 19th century, economists have acquired a quasi-monopoly on the study of the economy. However, historians have also built a long tradition in the study of economic structures and economic development. Taking its beginning in the 1300’s, this course explores how older ‘world economies’ increasingly integrated into a capitalist global economy. We will look closely into the commercial and consumer revolutions, as well as the Industrial Revolution, and how these forces shaped the globalizing economies of today. In the first half of the course, students will be introduced to the methods of economic history (and how they differ from the methods of the economists) and to the historical debates about the rise of a capitalist, industrial and globalized economic system. In the second half of the course students write a research paper exploring an aspect of economic history or the history of economic thought in more detail.
300-level: History of Knowledge and Information
This 300-level history course takes an historical perspective on claims that the 21st century is an age of knowledge and information (big data). Students will first investigate how the Scientific, Industrial, Communication and Information Revolutions transformed millennia old ways of life. Modern societies became deeply integrated in ever-expanding (global) webs of expertise, science, and technology. The first half of the course introduces students to the ways in which powerful forms of acting in the world were stimulated by the circulation of information and the accumulation of knowledge in global networks. In the second half of the course, students write a research paper on a topic of their own choice, focusing on the role of knowledge and information in the past (far away or more recent).
300-level: Topics in Social History
This research seminar explores national identity by studying social history (stories of peoples’ lives), and popular culture (film, art and music), within an American context. It begins in the late 19th century with the ‘Indian wars’ and ends in the 21st with the rise of Trumpism. The focus is on race. We look beyond the nation’s borders to explore the ways that “foreign” nations interpret American icons and iconic stories. The central premise is that popular culture reflects and shapes life. It also empowers. Student research supports the claim.
Do the Inuit really have 100 (or 400, or 1000!) words for ‘snow’? Where did language come from? Do animals have language? Why do English speakers say ‘like’ so much (and why do some people feel so strongly about it)? How do words get in the dictionary? What’s a corpus? Is text messaging ruining grammar? As a student of Linguistics you can expect to find answers to these and many other intriguing questions about language while gaining expertise in linguistic theory and practice and developing your skills in research and critical thinking.
Courses in this Track
- 100-level: Introduction to English Linguistics
- 200-level: Great Linguists
- 200-level: Corpus Linguistics
- 300-level: Topics in Linguistics
- 300-level: Language and Society
100-level: Introduction to English Linguistics
English is an important global lingua franca, spoken by an estimated 1.5 billion people as a first, second or foreign language and used by three times as many non-native speakers as native speakers. Introduction to English Linguistics prepares students to advance in their study of general linguistics whilst deepening their understanding of the structure and function(s) of English.
200-level: Great Linguists
This course provides a survey of Western linguistics from antiquity to the twentieth century. Students will learn about the history and development of linguistics and consider how different scholars throughout the ages have responded to some of its major concerns.
200-level: Corpus Linguistics
Corpus Linguistics is a hands-on course that equips students with the basic concepts and skills needed to work with publicly-available (online) text corpora, and introduces them to the principles and challenges involved in DIY corpus design.
300-level: Topics in Linguistics
Topics in Linguistics is an advanced course in linguistics with a changing topic. It is designed to strengthen students’ research skills and prepare them for MA-level work in linguistics.
300-level: Language and Society
Language and Society is an advanced course which focuses on the sub-discipline of linguistics known as ‘sociolinguistics.’ The course aims to explore the many and varied forms of mutual influence and interaction between language and society in different contexts.
Starting from the epic of Gilgamesh up to post-modernity, we read texts that speak to what it means to be human, mortal, female, male, child, responsible, free, a member of family or other community, civilized or barbarian. How do we narrate documents of life in the age of confession? How do we read literature the way humanists, feminists, Marxists, psychoanalysts, or representatives of cultural minorities do? How do we look at film inspired by literature and analyze it as a narrative visual text, a collaborative artistic product, and a voice in cultural debates? The Literature track explores these and many other topics that inform vivid conversations with other Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Courses in this Track
- 100-level: Great Literary Works
- 100-level: Introduction to Literary Studies
- 200-level: Life and Travel Writing
- 300-level: Perspectives on Literary Meaning
- 300-level: Film & Text
100-level: Great Literary Works
The course is a chronological overview of literature ranging from the earliest monuments (the epic of Gilgamesh) to post-modernity. Within this framework you will read texts that represent what it means to be human, mortal, female, male, or child, a member of family or other community, civilized or barbarian.
You will be invited to analyse literary representations of home, labour, leisure, duty, love, leadership, religion, and memory, and correlate them with diverse genres: heroic epic, philosophical tale, fairy tale, short story, autobiography, essay and novella.
100-level: Introduction to Literary Studies
The course explores some basic issues of literary analysis starting from the questions: what is literature, and why do we read and study it, and how we define literary value?
It is based on the classic division into three broad genres (fiction, poetry and drama), followed by contemporary non-fiction and rudiments of film narration.
You will learn basic critical terms, tools and techniques, improve your analytical skills and enhance your pleasure of reading literature.
200-level: Life and Travel Writing
The course is about various forms of life narrative: memoir, autobiography, diary, personal essay, travel narrative.
You will learn how to read and analyse them, and be sensitive to other autobiographical modes (blog, oral history), thus gaining skills important for us living in the late modern culture of autobiography.
You will be invited to prove your comprehension of theoretical aspects of life narrative research analysing your own subjective experience and writing structured short personal narratives.
300-level: Perspectives on Literary Meaning
Literature is a socially important aesthetic practice and learning to read it from multiple perspectives is a fine intellectual challenge. This is what our course is about: it prepares you for reading in the global and diverse world, from multiple points of view, and with an awareness of societal consequences of taking a stance on cultural meaning. How do you approach a text as a humanist, feminist, Marxist, psychoanalyst, or a representative of a cultural minority? What accounts for literary meaning and what is the relation of literature to other forms of cultural production?
300-level: Film & Text
There are plentiful examples of famous films based on literary texts, from the already hackneyed Pride and Prejudice, through Bridget Jones’ Diary, The Lord of the Rings, to Frankenstein, Dracula, and Hamlet.
Keeping this in mind, we will discuss various ways in which a literary source is translated on screen but where a relation between it and film turns out to be one of equal partners. In line with it, and against the misconception of fidelity studies, we will trace various links between literary and film narration and diverse intertextual dimensions of film adaptation.
Music Performing at UCR offers students the unique opportunity of receiving a BA that allows to continue with music studies at a university or a conservatory. Candidates have to do an audition because a sound entrance level is required. To achieve the integration of history, theory, and performance of music, UCR offers courses in all these fields, and collaborates with several Dutch conservatories. Students also join the Roosevelt College Choir and receive training in solfège / sight reading. Music Performing includes a wide range of possibilities, including instruments, singing, and composition, taught in all semesters: the sky is the limit.
Courses in this Track
- Preparatory level: Preparatory Performing
- Preparatory level: Preparatory Performing
- 100-level: Elementary Performing I
- 100-level: Elementary Performing II
- 200-level: Intermediate Performing I
- 200-level: Intermediate Performing II
- 300-level: Advanced Performing I
- 300-level: Advanced Performing II
- Choir course
All ‘Performance: Music’ courses are practical courses in an individual setting.
Musicology at UCR’s Arts & Humanities Department includes five intensive courses in music history and music theory. Major Western composers and their works as well as developments of the major genres and theories are studied; problems of interpretation and historical context are discussed, and connections with numerous other fields – e.g. Rhetoric, Art History, Psychology, Theology – are explored. Sound knowledge of music theory, from the very basics to specialisms, e.g. tablature notation, is also obtained. Musicology students are trained and encouraged to do research, and well prepared to continue with an MA in music studies at top universities.
Courses in this Track
- 100-level: History of Western Music
- 100-level: Introduction to Music Theory
- 200-level: Intermediate Music Theory
- 200-level: Music in Context
- 300-level: Case Studies in Music
Philosophy asks the most basic questions about the ways we think and act – about, amongst other things, the nature of knowledge, consciousness, our responsibilities towards others, and the structure of space and time. A discipline with an incredibly rich history, philosophy is an increasingly global field of study at the forefront of contemporary debates concerning the nature and prospects of artificial intelligence, bioethics, the concepts of race and gender, and challenges to the notion of truth. Courses in the track provide a solid basis for advanced studies in philosophy and the humanities, and are also aimed at cultivating analytic and critical thinking skills which are valued in diverse professional fields.
Courses in this Track
- 100-level: Introduction to Western Philosophy
- 200-level: Ethics
- 200-level: Philosophy of Mind
- 300-level: Philosophy of Emotion
- 300-level: Free Will, Time, and the Self
100-level: Introduction to Western Philosophy
This course introduces central themes from the Western philosophical tradition, spanning 2,500 years of history from the ancient Greeks to cutting-edge work from our own time. We will become familiar with the issues discussed by philosophers, inquire into their significance and their relation to thought in other disciplines, such as psychology, law, physics, computer science, and political science. Most importantly, we will acquaint ourselves with theoretical methods and tools that have been used by philosophers throughout the ages to support their conclusions and ideas.
Our actions and decisions are structured by the ways we think about values, about what the good is. This course explores theories of moral reasoning, building upon historical and contemporary sources. In the first part of the course, we will examine the main theories in ethics – virtue ethics, deontology, utilitarianism – as well as questions pertaining to moral knowledge, motivation, responsibility, and the relation of happiness and pleasure to ethics. The second part of the course focuses on practical ethics, touching upon topics such as animal rights, privacy, future generations, war, punishment, euthanasia, disability, racial and gender equality.
200-level: Philosophy of Mind
In this course, we will focus both on important work from the history of the philosophy of mind and on contributions from recent scholarship. We will begin by taking a close look at Descartes’ dualism and its legacy, exploring dominant approaches to the mind during the past century, and examining the debate concerning the nature of consciousness. Additional topics to be discussed include the possibility of intelligent and conscious machines, animal minds, the identity of persons over time, transformative experiences, and the impact of novel technologies on the ways we experience the world.
300-level: Philosophy of Emotion
Emotions are a basic aspect of human experience, but they have been, throughout the history of philosophy, contrasted with and sidelined by the pursuit of rationality. This course provides the opportunity to engage with key questions in the study of emotions from a philosophical perspective. Topics we explore in the course include the nature of emotions, the role of emotions in ethics, the rationality of emotions, emotions in art. We consider sources from the history of philosophy, as well as contemporary research on the emotions from philosophy and additional disciplines.
300-level: Free Will, Time, and the Self
What does it mean to be free? How significant is the impact of luck on our decisions and choices? Does affirming the existence of free will involve asserting that the future is genuinely ‘open’? These and related questions resonate throughout the history of philosophy, and are addressed in fascinating new ways in recent thought. In this course, we explore the nature and scope of free will and inquire into relations of the debate on free will to questions concerning the reality and experience of time, and the nature of the self. The term will be divided into three modules, as we examine these issues and their connections.
The positive influence of meditation on stress; the worldwide popularity of yoga; the terror attacks of Al Qaeda and Islamic State; the influence of Christian evangelicalism on U.S. politics: whether in a positive or a negative light, the major world religions are rarely out of the public eye. Yet few of us have taken the time to truly study them. In the Religion track students are able to do just that, learning about the core ideas and practices of all the major world religions and expanding their understanding of how connected these are to everything from Politics to Philosophy.
Courses in this Track
- 100-level: World Religions
- 200-level: Wisdom of the East
- 300-level: Religion: Ethics and Philosophy
100-level: World Religions
The religious traditions of the world represent a category of life most of us take for granted. We are used to being bombarded with news fragments about events related to the major world religions, and tend to assume that we understand what we read or hear. Yet few of us have taken the time to truly study the religious traditions that have an impact on the events of our time. In this course, the student will be introduced to five of the most influential ‘living’ religious traditions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism.
200-level: Wisdom of the East
In this comprehensive introduction we will survey the history, core ideas and practices of Hinduism, Buddhism and Daoism. Because all of the traditions discussed in this course are highly philosophical in nature, the course will appeal strongly to students interested in philosophy (particularly ethics, metaphysics and the philosophy of mind). Students interested in psychology will also find many dominant themes in the course of great interest, as particularly Buddhism has a refined outlook on psychological issues.
300-level: Religion: Ethics and Philosophy
In this course several important philosophical questions regarding religion will take center stage. A major area of focus will be the internal debates within the major world religions regarding ethical questions. Controversial topics like war, terrorism and gender inequality will be addressed, as well as benign contributions such as peace projects, inter-faith dialogue and enhanced personal well-being. We’ll also look at religion in general, and try to make sense of what makes religions turn violent sometimes. Are religions a force for evil, a force for good, or a bit of both?
Trump’s tweets, Obama’s speeches, Eleanor Roosevelt’s introduction of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to the United Nations, Nelson Mandela’s final words from the dock and Greta Thunberg’s warning that our house is on fire. Both internet and history books are full of examples of the relevance of the art of Rhetoric, as are our daily lives. Knowledge of how and why Rhetoric works is essential to form a standpoint, find supporting arguments, write papers, give presentations, conduct textual analyses and critically compare communication theories.
Courses in this Track
- 100-level: Introduction to Rhetoric and Argumentation
- 200-level: Stylistics
- 200-level: Comparative Rhetoric
- 300-level: Persuasion in Social Discourse
- 300-level: Creative Writing: A Stylistic Approach
100-level: Introduction to Rhetoric and Argumentation
This course gives students the rhetorical and argumentative tools to write well, think clearly speak eloquently and thus function as a productive critical citizen in a democratic society. In this course students will learn the fundamental, theoretical and historical principles of classical rhetoric, including invention, arrangement, stylization, memory, delivery, as well as logos, ethos and pathos. They will also write and perform a variety of rhetorical tasks and learn about sound and fallacious reasoning. The course builds towards an individual public speaking performance.
Stylistics is the study of style in (literary) texts and is useful to any student who wishes to strengthen their skills in close/critical reading. Stylistics involves identifying and analyzing writers’ linguistic choices and reflecting on the achieved interpretive effects. Stylistics has been heavily influenced by movements in 20th and 21st century linguistics, with analyses focusing on all levels of language from the phonetic (e.g. sound patterning) to the discoursal (e.g. politeness strategies and power relations in dialog), to the cognitive (e.g. construal and Text World Theory).
200-level: Comparative Rhetoric
The focus of this course is on comparative rhetoric. Its goal is to foster an active knowledge of intercultural persuasive communication. A central question is how does human persuasion work in others cultures across space and time: in India, China, Central and South America, Africa and in the Arab world? How is Western persuasion and argumentation different? We also venture beyond the realm of human intercultural rhetoric to explore persuasion in the animal world and also machine/computer persuasion. The course includes a number of creative assignments drawing on craft and design.
300-level: Persuasion in Social Discourse
This advanced level course comprises a number of interdisciplinary perspectives on persuasion from classical rhetoric, communication studies and social psychology. It looks at persuasion techniques in the real world of politics, marketing, law and advertising. It makes students aware of a number of non-conscious persuasive mechanisms at work in society that are designed to make us think and act in certain ways: including framing, priming, and nudging. Students will study the theories and then design and execute their own ethical persuasion campaigns in real-world settings.
300-level: Creative Writing: A Stylistic Approach
This course aims to continue honing writing skills through production of creative texts and application of tools learned in rhetoric, stylistics, and other courses to produce deviant, soundly structured, well-crafted literary texts. This course will therefore focus on construction of poetic texts, fragments, and short prose pieces. Creative writing involves considerable amounts of composition, and students complete numerous exercises, as well as review the work of peers. Classes consist of discussion, reviewing one another’s work, workshopping work in progress, and in-class exercises.
Courses in this Field
- 100-level Dutch
- 200-level Dutch
- 300-level Dutch
- 100-level French
- 200-level French
- 300-level French
This course aims to develop basic skills and strategies necessary to successfully handle uncomplicated oral and written communication in Dutch in a variety of social situations that you may encounter in daily life in the Netherlands. The emphasis in the course will be on speaking in Dutch in day-to-day situations on the one hand and understanding Dutch culture on the other hand. At the end of the course students can orally express and write about themselves in Dutch, who they are, describe their family background, and interact with others in a simple way.
This course aims to improve and develop skills and strategies that enable you to successfully handle typical oral and written tasks of most immediate relevance. The emphasis in the course will be on speaking and writing in Dutch in day-to-day situations and in more complex situations on the one hand and understanding Dutch culture on the other hand.
Dutch culture will be explored with the help of music, literature, film and an excursion. At the end of the course students will write their “life Story” in Dutch related to the themes that have been covered in the book.
This course aims to improve and develop skills and strategies for students to understand complicated oral and written communications in Dutch. This may be required in a variety of social situations, including part-time employment and/or future studying in the Netherlands. Integrating language and culture, students will also analyze newspaper articles and literary texts, and will engage with aspects of (local) Dutch society and culture. The course includes a study trip to a local art dealer to learn about the origins of Dutch book printing and an interview assignment with Middelburg citizens.
This course teaches you skills and strategies to deal with a variety of oral communication and written tasks in a wide range of social situations in French speaking countries. It includes a variety of learning themes, activities aimed at developing vocabulary, grammatical accuracy (e.g. indicative, conditional and subjunctive) and other language issues like the use of formal/informal language. Critical thinking is important as it is related to different cultural and communicative perspectives. Students will watch short videos, write short essays on cultural topics, and discuss presentations.
This course aims to develop your French language skills, oral and written communication beside the knowledge of the French culture. All this happens through the use of more linguistically complex structures (e.g. consolidation of the subjunctive and conditional mode) through reading short articles. A wide range of sources is used as teaching materials: books, videos, television programs, the Internet, magazines and newspapers. We will have a thematic approach to the language, and vocabulary learning is related to the themes. Students will also read a novel.
This course will put the focus on French literature, oral expression and deeper comprehension books. Each semester, a different topic is treated (e.g. La littérature française de l’exil or La femme et l’islamisme). This will give an overview of a specific dimension of the modern French literature related to social and political situations. Students will reflect on different themes linked to the proposed literatures, learn the method of French ‘commentaire de texte’ and ‘dissertation’. Students will watch short videos, write short essays and discuss presentations.