English

Great Books Interdisciplinary Minor


Advisor | General Information | Summary of Requirements for the Minor
Description of Curriculum | The Formation Of Historical Awareness | Course Lists

Images courtesy of Dr. Michael Neth
[click on thumbnails for view of a larger image]

Facsimile of Engraving of Earl of Hertfords Celebration Honoring Queen Elizabeths Visit

Facsimile of Engraving of Earl of Hertford's Celebration Honoring Queen Elizabeth's Visit

Cover of Stefan Georges Dante (1st edition, 1909)


Cover of Stefan George's Dante (1st edition, 1909)

Engraving of The Sacrifice of Iphigenia, from J.M. Goods translation of Lucretiuss The Nature of Things (1805)

Engraving of The Sacrifice of Iphigenia, from J.M. Good's translation of Lucretius's The Nature of Things (1805)

Engraving of Orpheus Entering Hades, from Joseph Spences Polymetis (1774 edition)

Engraving of Orpheus Entering Hades, from Joseph Spence's Polymetis (1774 edition)

Facsimile from the Anglo-Saxon Vercelli MS (circa 990 CE)

Facsimile from the Anglo-Saxon Vercelli MS (circa 990 CE)

Title page of first English translation of Epicuruss Philosophical Fragments (1656)

Title page of first English translation of Epicurus's Philosophical Fragments (1656)

Title page of Clarendons History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars of England (2nd edition, 1707)

Title page of Clarendon's History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars of England (2nd edition, 1707)

Title page of Lord Byrons Manfred (1st edition, 1817)

Title page of Lord Byron's Manfred (1st edition, 1817)

Title page of J.M. Goods Translation of Lucretiuss The Nature of Things (1805)

Title page of J.M. Good's Translation of Lucretius's The Nature of Things (1805)

Title page of Colin Maclaurins Treatise on Isaac Newtons Discoveries (2nd edition, 1750)

Title page of Colin Maclaurin's Treatise on Isaac Newton's Discoveries (2nd edition, 1750)

Title page of 1824 English Translation of Voltaires A Philosophical Dictionary

Title page of 1824 English Translation of Voltaire's A Philosophical Dictionary

Title page of Samuel Taylor Coleridges Sibylline Leaves (1st edition, 1817)

Title page of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Sibylline Leaves (1st edition, 1817)

Title page of German (Lutheran) New Testament (1704)

Title page of German (Lutheran) New Testament (1704)

Engraved Frontispiece to German (Lutheran) New Testament (1704)

Engraved Frontispiece to German (Lutheran) New Testament (1704)

Title page of 1811 English Translation of Constantin Volneys Ruins of Empires

Title page of 1811 English Translation of Constantin Volney's Ruins of Empires

 Frontispiece Portrait of Voltaire from 1824 English Translation of A Philosophical Dictionary

Frontispiece Portrait of Voltaire from 1824 English Translation of A Philosophical Dictionary

Current Great Books Minor Brochure (Acrobat Reader required): Front | Overview | Advising | Requirements 1, 2

Faculty Advisor:
Dr. MichaeI J. Neth, Professor of English
Office: PH 347
Office telephone (with voice mail): 615-898-5836
E-mail: mneth@mtsu.edu

General Information:

Approved by the Tennessee Board of Regents in March of 1999, the Great Books Interdisciplinary minor at MTSU is designed to give students in a variety of major subjects the option of broadening their undergraduate education by studying the most important and influential texts ever written in a number of different disciplines, allowing them to supplement their own major field of study. The aim is to equip students with a clear idea of how some of the most important books ever written shaped, altered, and influenced the formation of human civilization. Books to be studied may be drawn from any cultural, political, social, philosophical, or artistic perspective. The only requirement is that they be recognized in their discipline as being among the works that have defined that field of study.

Courses which receive the Great Books designation are courses whose instructors have agreed to teach in its entirety at least one pathbreaking, defining text in the discipline in question. In Great Books courses, students will study, discuss, and write about one or more seminal books (novels, plays, scientific works, historical works, philosophical works, etc.) that have been central to shaping and influencing their discipline. Students who successfully complete the requirements for the minor will receive a designation on their transcript noting that they have graduated with a minor in Great Books.

For example, in this program an English major might enroll in a course in sociology enabling him or her to study the works of Robert Merton, Max Weber, or other great figures in sociology. Similarly, a student in medieval history could enroll in an English course focusing on the Great Books of the Middle Ages. The Great Books minor is designed to give students an education that is broad as well as deep, ranging over diverse disciplines at the same time that it enables the student to focus on the major field of his or her choice.

Interested students should contact Dr. Michael Neth at the phone number or e-mail address listed above. The following information lists the formal requirements that must be fulfilled in order to graduate with a degree minor designation in Great Books.

1. Summary of Requirements for the Minor
Component Required Hours
a. Required courses 3 hours.
b. Guided electives None.
c. General electives 15 hours.
d. Other None.
e. Total Hours 18

All individual departmental prerequisites apply to Great Books minor courses. No course may be taken for both major and minor credit.

Students who decide to enroll in the Great Books minor should plan ahead: the minor's required course, PHIL 4600, is offered once every three to four semesters, so students should be prepared to take it in whichever semester it is offered.

2. Description of curriculum

The Great Books interdisciplinary minor is designed to provide students with a conceptual and historical foundation to help them understand the evolution of ideas within the various disciplines constituting higher learning, and to aid them in appreciating how interconnections between the various fields of knowledge are inextricably embedded in specific historical circumstance. For this reason, each student enrolling in the program will be required to complete, during his or her junior or senior year, one three-hour course focused upon the meaning and value of historical thought. in order to understand the present, we must first know how we arrived where we are. Comprehending the nature of historical knowledge will enable students to establish a political, social, and cultural context for their lives.
The Formation of Historical Awareness

Philosophy 4600: Philosophy of History

The course traces the nature of historical knowledge and the problems of historical inquiry. Topics covered include the meaning and value of history, the reality of the past, and historical determinism versus human freedom.

For this Interdisciplinary Minor, a student must compile a minimum of eighteen (18) hours, with no more than six (6) hours drawn from courses in any one department, unless he or she surpasses the required eighteen hours necessary for that minor. A student may take no more than three (3) hours credit toward a minor in the same department or discipline in which he or she is taking a major. No course may be counted for both major and minor credit. Students must fulfill all departmental prerequisites for any course within an interdisciplinary minor.

Following is a list of the departments across campus (not only in the College of Liberal Arts) that have agreed to sponsor courses in the proposed minor, and a listing of probable and possible courses. Whether a course will qualify as a Great Books course during a given semester is contingent upon whether it is taught according to the guidelines for Great Books courses set forth at the beginning of this document. Individual faculty members will determine whether they wish to teach these courses as Great Books courses in any particular semester. Courses designated as Great Books courses will be flagged in each semester's Schedule of Courses booklet.