Course Descriptions

Fall 2014

Descriptions are for Fall 2014 courses only. View catalog for a complete list.

MLS 506 Medieval Times [4]
Course celebrates the writings of the major authors of the medieval period. Topics include virgins, vixens, and cuckolds; forms of persecution and prosecution; and the bestselling book in the world.

MLS 556M Conceptions of Justice [2]
What is justice? This question has taxed philosophers and political thinkers for millennia. Aristotle and Plato defined it as treating equals equally, and unequals unequally. The moderns of the 17th century revolutionized the political and philosophical landscape by positing a principle of universal human equality.  Social reformers of the 19th century offered utilitarian justifications for political and economic change. How did all these conceptions of justice vary from each other? What ideals of equality remain a legacy of which epoch, and what can we learn from all these different conceptions of fairness?

MLS 571M Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom!
This intensive course offers an in-depth exploration of William Faulkner’s tour de force novel, Absalom, Absalom! While the text is deeply American, set in the Civil War era and flashing forward and backward more than fifty years on either side, it is more significantly a novel of universal and Biblical complexity. We will examine Faulkner’s unique writing style, his intricate thematic layering, and the novel’s place in American literature and as one of the masterpieces of twentieth-century fiction.

MLS 588 Art of Landscape Design [4]
The health of a society can be discerned by the quality of its landscape, and the manner in which it is designed. The Renaissance Garden is the point of origin for this class, the rebirth of the classical ideal. From this early effort to reunite humanity and nature, the evolution of landscape design will be studied through the Baroque, Enlightenment, Romantic, and Modern periods. The course will culminate with a focus on Florida, with field trips to Bok Tower Garden.

MLS 602 The Human Order [4]
The social and political philosophies of the ancient world reflect the effort to shape the human community according to a universal order in which human beings have a natural place and a natural purpose. In this course, students explore the social and political thought of ancient Greece and Rome in the context of the culture in which that thought arose. The course also examines the cosmology and science of the ancient world, with an emphasis on the attempt to direct the powers of reason to the discovery of a natural order. 

MLS 604 The Origins of Modernity [4]
If ancient social and political thought can be characterized by the attempt to fashion a human order that reflected the order of the universe, modern thought must be characterized by the effort to establish order in the human community without the help of a divine being and without knowledge of a transcendent natural order. This course investigates the various ways in which modern social, aesthetic, and political thinkers endeavor to rest human society on purely secular foundations. 

MLS 606 Masterpieces of Modern Literature [4]
This course explores the ways in which literature has come to question and define values in the modern world. As writers have endeavored to come to grips with the social, political, and spiritual dislocations of modern life, they have pursued themes of meaning, identity, community, and communication in order to examine the complexities and perplexities of the human condition.