What does it really mean to be proud? There is an inherent aversion to the arrogance of a Donald Trump or the conceit and willful ignorance of King Lear, but what about the brave confidence of someone like Harriet Tubman as depicted by Aaron Douglas?  And what does it really mean to be humble? We may admire modesty and an unassuming nature, but we also feel distaste toward those whom C.S. Lewis describes as “greasy, smarmy persons, who are always telling us that, of course, they are nobody.” What is the best understanding of these qualities, and what might artists and thinkers reveal about them? And how might those insights contribute to our knowledge of a “good life?”  In this interdisciplinary seminar, we will explore these fundamental questions, culling insights from literature, art, film, and music and combining them with concepts from philosophers, social scientists, psychologists, scientists, and religious thinkers. We will test ideas against our own experiences and collaborative thinking. Goals for this course include developing a critical understanding of different perspectives on pride and humility, examining how such attributes may or may not contribute to a “good life,” honing key analysis, research, and presentation skills, and sharing one’s insights with others and the widest audience possible. This course is writing intensive. Open to students in the third or fourth year of study.



Course Types

Core Interdisciplinary Seminar

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