IDST-010 Ignatius Seminar
Fall for 2017-2018
Drawing on the educational insights of Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, these courses seek to cultivate the Ignatian ideal of cura personalis: care for each person's individuality and care for his or her integral wholeness. Like other Renaissance educators, Jesuits sought to educate the whole person--mind, body and spirit--a tradition alive at Georgetown College today. The Ignatius Seminars focus not only on conveying information and intellectual content, but also on building a home for wisdom and enriching all dimensions of our students' lives.

Designed for the intellectually curious student interested in an integrative and personal approach to learning, the small class setting of these first-year seminars enables students to get to know their professors and each other well. In this atmosphere, the faculty can recognize the strengths and educational needs of each student, creating a teaching and mentoring environment. Each professor's expression of his or her particular scholarly pursuit provides students with a tangible example of the interplay of mind and spirit, of disciplined work and intellectual excitement, of academic rigor and creative play.

The Ignatius Seminars initiate opportunities early in your time at Georgetown to cultivate basic skills that faculty identify as important: reading a text with thought and insight, speaking clearly and persuasively in an academic discussion, and writing a structured and sustained argument. This is a chance to experience Georgetown College and university learning at its best.
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None

Course syllabi
The following syllabi may help you learn more about this course (login required):
Fall '17: Pireddu, N (description)
Additional syllabi may be available in prior academic years.

Sections:

IDST-010-01 Ignatius Seminar: Borders: Self, Nation, and Beyond
Fall for 2017-2018
Each of us in particular circumstances has probably had difficulty conforming to rigid categories and has felt the need to trespass demarcating boundaries to give space to the multiplicity of elements that compose us. As the French poet Arthur Rimbaud claimed, “I is someone else.”

In our seminar, we will explore the relationships between sameness and alterity through the image of the border. Borders can be bulwarks and sites of conflict, but also bridges reconciling contrasting constituents of the self, or connecting people, nations and cultures, allowing us to appreciate the complexity within and around ourselves.

The works of leading authors from different areas of the world—such as Mario Vargas Llosa, Amitav Ghosh, Primo Levi, Jamaica Kincaid, Jules Verne, Milan Kundera and Ben Jelloun, among others—will help us appreciate the role of borders in the construction of individual and collective identity, and in our approach to “the other.” Through borders we will discuss crucial topics such as gender and race, moral values, exile and migration, internationalism and globalization. What leads to the creation of borders and why do we need them? What has changed in the conceptualization of borders across space and time? Why and how do we cross dividing lines—be they geographical, ethnic, linguistic boundaries, national frontiers, the confines
of subjectivity, or ideological and ethical limits?

In our interconnected age, borders may generate clashes of traditions, practices, and beliefs, as much as foster negotiations and exchanges between “us” and “them.” Our seminar will make us reflect upon the challenges and rewards of cultural dialogue, focusing not only on the desire to break down borders but also on the complex relationship between individual freedom and intolerance, and, ultimately, on the responsibility to draw new frontiers against ideological extremism.

We will cross disciplinary boundaries in class by working with multiple literary genres, the visual arts, cinema, history, anthropology and sociology. And we will also traverse the borders of our classroom by enriching our syllabus with field trips to DC museums, and, why not, with get-togethers in front of good food—Italian...and, of course, beyond!
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
IDST-010-02 Ignatius Seminar: Traveling in Search of Self and Other
Fall for 2017-2018
This seminar will explore the writing of the Self and the Other represented (and perhaps created) in travel literature. We will concentrate on the negotiations between an observer and the observed, analyzing the process through which the travelers attempt to describe, interpret and represent places and peoples distant and different from their own. Although there is an inherently personal dimension of travel writing, there are cultural and political dimensions as well. We will see how travel narratives negotiate cultural boundaries while at the same time establishing such boundaries. Stephen Greenblatt notes that “if culture functions as a structure of limits, it also functions as the regulator and guarantor of movement. Indeed, the limits are virtually meaningless without movement; it is only through improvisation, experiment, and exchange that cultural boundaries can be established.” We will analyze how travel writing produces “the world”: how it has invented ‘others’ in order to craft a certain image of the self. We will also travel ourselves. Visits are planned to the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, the National Archives, and an international restaurant in DC.

During the semester we will read representative texts from travelers who come from several points in the world and who lived and wrote in different historical periods. The texts to be studied are: Homer’s Odyssey, The Travels of Marco Polo, The Travels of Sir John de Mandeville, The Travels of Ibn Battuta; Columbus’s Letter to Santangel, The Lieutenant Nun: Memoir of a Basque Transvestite in the New World by Catalina de Erauso, Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition 1804-1806, The Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Among Flowers: A Walk in the Himalayas by Jamaica Kincaid, and Travel with Herodotus. Our last text will be a film of space travel.

Starting with ca. 650 BC, when the known world was reduced to the Mediterranean Sea, we will see how it opened throughout the centuries, expanding knowledge and territories until we will arrive at the ultimate frontier to be conquered: outer space.
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
IDST-010-03 Ignatius Seminar: Human Flourishing, East and West
Fall for 2017-2018
Faculty:
When asked for his advice on living a good life, Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel responded, “Think higher. Live deeper.” Taking the world’s spiritual, religious, and philosophical traditions as our guide, this seminar will explore what it means to live deeper—to lead lives that are not only satisfying or happy, but genuinely fulfilling. From the sages and philosophers of the Confucian, Daoist, Buddhist, and Hindu traditions to those of the ancient Greek, Christian, Islamic, and Jewish traditions, we will travel the world through some of the greatest texts ever written in search of what human flourishing meant not only throughout human history, but what it means for us today.

From the role of friends and family in a good life to virtues like gratitude and generosity, a variety of themes and questions will guide us: Why did ancient Daoist philosophers believe that being in nature contributes to our flourishing? Do each of us have a particular vocation or calling, as some Christian thinkers have argued? Why did Confucian sages insist that humans need rituals and music to lead fulfilling lives? Were Hindu and Buddhist philosophers correct that desires impede our flourishing? What about Plato’s contention that in order to flourish we must seek not only the truth, but also goodness and beauty?

We will also examine many lived experiences of human flourishing today, from the ascetic lives of Buddhist monks and Jesuit priests to the simplicity embraced by Amish communities. We will explore Ignatius of Loyola’s contention that the spirit, like the body, needs exercise to flourish by looking to a variety of practices, from meditation and prayer to pilgrimage. We will also examine the impact of challenges such as poverty, grief, and disability, and the reasons why almost every major tradition, East and West, warns us that the pursuit of material wealth can profoundly undermine our flourishing.

Our aim will be to think higher with these great traditions, East and West, as they describe for us what it means to live deeper.
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
IDST-010-04 Ignatius Seminar: Serving the Common Good
Fall for 2017-2018
Faculty:
What can we do to make the world a better place? Philosophers, scientists, theologians, economists, poets, lawyers, and politicians have all struggled to find compelling, effective answers to that question. We make progress, but we have a long way to go.

Do we do our best by working as hard as we can to make as much money as we can and trust the system we work in will provide? Or do we devote our entire lives to selfless charitable work for others? What choices lie between those extremes? Your university years are a critical time for you to think about your responsibilities to others and the opportunities you face. If you use them well, you can learn the discipline associated with reflection, interior freedom, and discernment. This seminar can be your place to start.

We will concentrate on learning and thinking about organizations directly intended to serve the common good: not-for-profit and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Volunteers devote time, donors provide funds, and governments give grants to capture this special spirit and its capacities. The range of problems and intended scope of impact are vast and tap untold generosity and good will. Achievements and aspirations are stunning and are growing rapidly.

But these complex organizations are also big business. The not-for-profit sector in the United States exceeds $2.5 trillion; in India alone there are more than two million NGOs. Leaders in this field need to be as smart, pragmatic, resourceful, and tough-minded about what works as anybody in the for-profit sector.

The old models of “charity” are changing. What is the common good? How much impact do organizations have? What are best practices? Why have a huge sector of the economy called “not” and “non?” What is the role of philanthropy? What are the human and political
complexities inherent in mission-driven organizations? How do you assess the value proposition in this area? What is your role in serving the common good?

This course will be unique in its critical analysis of the not-for-profit industry and fair assessment of the ways the public and commercial sectors also contribute to the common good. There is space where shared skills and harmony would optimize social goals. Readings are selected from history, theology, business, science, and policy. Case studies and conversations with leaders in the field will illustrate how values translate to action, discernment of options and opportunities, and ethical decision-making.
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
IDST-010-05 Ignatius Seminar:Past/Present: Contemporary Plays with Stakes in the Past
Fall for 2017-2018
Faculty:
This seminar investigates (great) plays that creatively constellate past and present in order to activate psychic, social, and theatrical stakes. Shaped by diverse cultural perspectives, our primary source materials will include solo performances, ghost plays, musicals, and history plays, with themes ranging from revenge to love, justice to identity. We will consider two classical plays (one by Shakespeare, one an Asian classic) where the past intercedes in the present as examples of this deep dramatic tradition. Then we will flash-forward to an array of major recent plays from Britain, the Americas, Australia, and South Africa, including Tom Stoppard’s Arcardia, Marcus Gardley’s And Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi, Caryl Churchill’s Cloud Nine, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton, Sarah Ruhl’s The Clean House, and Natalie Mayorga Goodnow’s Mud Offerings, as well as works by Tony Kushner, Christine Evans, Timberlake Wertenbaker, Naomi Wallace, Nilo Cruz, and (Georgetown Alum and Cherokee Playwright/Lawyer) Mary Nagle. We will read the plays as texts for performance that ignite theatrical imaginaries as well as distinct cultural and critical perspectives.

We will draw on interdisciplinary methods, informed by essays by scholars as well as by artists, engaging questions such as: How and why are multiple time periods activated in this play? What ethical, cultural, critical, creative, and/or human insights are stirred by staging more than one time period—sometimes simultaneously? How does the medium of theater and/or performance deepen or complicate the play’s distinctive stakes? How do these plays differently cast our role(s) as audience? In what context was this work first written and staged—and how might
new contexts shift its perspective, even its politics?

In this interdisciplinary seminar, students will be called upon to engage close readings, imagination, research, and each other. Together we will share meals, host a playwright, and see at least two performances, including one in the Davis Performing Arts Center whose 2017-2018 season theme connects to ours. All students will write critical papers and experiment with creative work as a way to deepen and diversify our understanding of the past and present, plays—and ourselves.
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
IDST-010-06 Ignatius Seminar:Psychology and Shakespeare
Fall for 2017-2018
This course will take you on a journey across the disciplinary boundaries of psychological science and literary studies. The objective is to educate and encourage you to critically explore insights gained about human behavior through varieties of ‘experimental methods’ in both psychological science and in selected Shakespeare plays (Hamlet, Henry IV – Part I, As You Like It, King Lear). These plays entertain and move us through characters like Falstaff, the social interaction depicted in the graveyard scene in Hamlet, a mixture of comedy and deep analysis of the meaning of life in As You Like It, and unexpected shifts in human fortune as in King Lear. But these plays also present forms of ‘experimentation’, leading to great insights into different aspects of human thought and action.

We begin with a brief historical review of psychological science and the traditional causal accounts of behavior. This leads to an appreciation of the differences between causal and normative accounts, and why traditional psychological science abandoned and needs to once again incorporate normative explanations. Topics in the first part of the course will include the relationship between psychology and literature, causal and normative accounts of human behavior, storylines and narrative conventions in psychology and literature, and the psychology laboratory as drama.

Topics in part two include the self and free will, perspective taking and human development, gender roles and behavioral plasticity, and the psychology of power. Each of these topics will be explored through insights gained from both psychological research and selected Shakespeare plays. By critically looking across from psychology to Shakespeare, and from Shakespeare to psychology, students will reflect back on different forms of experimentation as a means to better understand human actions and experiences.
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
IDST-010-07 Ignatius Seminar:You and GU: A Cultural Encounter
Fall for 2017-2018
Why is it that American college students increasingly consider themselves happy, decisive, unique, and destined for success, on one hand, and suffer from stress and depression, on the other? Why do they volunteer their time more and maintain long-term friendships less? Why do they think of themselves as highly independent despite their limited experience with practical independence skills? In what ways do college environments respond to and shape these tendencies? How does Georgetown's cultural context shape us, and how is it, in turn, shaped by us? In this course, we will consider your transition to Georgetown and your encounters with the wider DC community as an acculturative process. You will reflect on your past experiences with your own cultural context(s), collect and discuss data, watch documentaries, and read works of fiction, nonfiction, and research to examine historical shifts and cross-cultural differences in the models of young adulthood. We will focus on topics such as changes in the cultural models of autonomy, uniqueness, choice, and happiness, as well as shifting models of relationships. Materials will draw on the fields of psychology, sociology, and anthropology.

In turn, we will examine Georgetown as a cultural context with its Jesuit values, and the ways in which they are reflected in the practices, institutions, cultural products, and daily encounters that are fostered by our community. We will examine Georgetown’s cultural models of work ethics and fun, emotions and relationships. We will also consider the ways in which Georgetown incorporates class, religion, race, and ethnicity into its identity. Finally, we will examine Georgetown’s place in the local Washington community.

Bridging these themes, we will discuss the ways in which people respond to cultural transitions, such as transitions to college. We will use an acculturative framework to talk about the diverse ways in which we respond to encounters with the novel cultural models of the self, emotions and relationships, with special emphasis on intergroup contact, negotiating biculturalism, and cultural deviance, as well as acculturative stress and coping.
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
IDST-010-08 Ignatius Seminar: Disability, Culture, and Question of Care
Fall for 2017-2018
Faculty:
One in five Americans live with some form of disability; people with disabilities are the world’s largest minority. Each of us has been touched, within one generation, by the disability experience. And if we live long enough, we will all, one day, experience some form of disability. This course introduces students to Disability Studies, an interdisciplinary field premised on two powerful ideas: that disability is a fundamental aspect of all human experience and that disability has produced a range of identities and communities that merit exploration in themselves and shed light on normative conceptions of body, mind, social relations, and what makes a good life.

Together, we will explore the role that disability plays in our lives and our culture through the particular lens of care. Many questions will prompt our reading, thinking, and encounters with artists, activists, educators, and disability community members: What does cura personalis mean in our everyday experience? How do we care for one another from childhood through aging? How are our relationships of care charged with the power dynamics of class and gender? Does the work of care conflict with or engender creativity in literature and art? And how might understanding ourselves through our dependency on others reframe such core American values as independence and rational individualism?

These questions will shape our study of the ways disability gets constructed in discourses ranging from law and policy, to film, plays, novels, memoirs, and poetry. We’ll focus on Deaf culture, autistic memoir, representations of disability in modernist art and literature, young adult
literature and contemporary popular culture. We’ll read liberal political theory and feminist theories of care, explore concepts such as norm, stigma, and embodiment, and study the global “trade in women” that fuels the caring economy. Throughout the course, we will have visits from, and travel to meet people doing groundbreaking work in disability arts and culture; we’ll visit Gallaudet, the world’s foremost Deaf university; we’ll have dinner at L’Arche, an inter-denominational Christian community brings people with and without intellectual disabilities to live together; and we’ll look creatively at questions of access and inclusion at Georgetown.
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
IDST-010-09 Ignatius Seminar: Engaging Civic Imagination
Fall for 2017-2018
Faculty:
How do we imagine society? Can we, individually and collectively, define what our society is? What norms, values, rules, traditions, memories, and assumptions do we think characterize it? How do we compare our society to others, past and present? What yardsticks do we use? Where do the "yardsticks" come from? Such civic imagination questions—about societies and of them—have been pondered for millennia and have ongoing influence.

The authors of the United States Constitution, for example, were steeped in the writings of those who "imagined" their much earlier societies. Confucian Analects influence the civic imagination of many countries today. Religious and spiritual leaders from centuries past have envisioned societies whose ideas continue to have impact.

Significantly, within this rich history, we find familiar tensions, e.g., between the powerful and the weak; between individual striving and group wellbeing. Further, no society has existed in a vacuum—conflagrations, migrations, technological advancements, trade patterns, explorations: all operate as forces. We shall keep these perennial tensions and changing contexts in mind.

The seminar moves from becoming acquainted with how societies have imagined themselves to learning how to assess the impact of those "imaginings" at their origins and over time: how do we judge the assumptions as well as the consequences of "imaginations" on a society?

Finally, how do our critiques influence how—or even whether—we engage in society, a question that underlies the next part of the course? The animating idea is that to engage we must
recognize what it is that we are participating in, and what should be changed and why. We also must determine whether we have responsibilities to the society we have inherited and inhabit and what these imply. And we will ask ourselves how we realize that this re-imagining work is an individual and collective challenge.
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
IDST-010-10 Ignatius Seminar: Contributing to (in)Justice
Fall for 2017-2018
Faculty:
How do we—as individuals, as members of communities, as participants in societies and in the institutions they have established and the structures they enable—contribute to Justice, but also, wittingly or not, how we contribute to Injustice?

We will explore what Justice (and hence Injustice) means, and implies—to individuals and groups and institutions, engaging with an array of readings, movies, and other materials, along with each other in classroom discussion, amplified with writing assignments that challenge our thinking. Ultimately we will learn how to sharpen our definitions of Justice/Injustice and the implications of this insight for our own lives and for those whom we are affiliated with in our world.

As we wrestle with these issues over the weeks of the seminar, we will grapple with a range of age-old and yet completely relevant questions for today. For example: Do some groups—people—“deserve” more “Justice” than others—maybe because of historical “injustices?” Why? Why not? Do we think of Justice in terms of punishment—bringing the proverbial bad guys “to justice?” If “Justice” is punishment, why do we need to have “justice proceedings” like those held at the International Criminal Court? Do we consider Justice in terms of Reconciliation? Forgiveness? Do we think of Justice in terms of “bad” things that have happened, in contrast to ensuring that “bad” things don’t happen? How can we be sure whether we are looking at what is happening now in light of Justice/Injustice? And crucially, what does “justice” mean in our own lives? Where does it intersect with ethics, for instance?
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
IDST-010-11 Ignatius Seminar: Living Responsibilities
Offered academic year 2016-2017
Faculty:
“Globalization has its own logic, but not its own ethic,” notes J. Bryan Hehir, Parker Gilbert Montgomery Professor of Religion and Public Life at Harvard’s Kennedy School. In this course we will grapple with that statement, asking ourselves some difficult questions and struggling with the complexities that arise in attempting to answer them.

The popular phrase is that “we live in a globalized world.” Does that imply that we acknowledge the needs of others as legitimate on their own—and as legitimate demands on ourselves? How, in fact, would we identify, understand, and ultimately accept moral responsibilities to one another—even to strangers? What would enable us to embrace a sense of obligation to those around us? Are there limits to our obligations?

We will begin by broadly examining how we, individually and collectively, manage our everyday existence, in particular, our access to the basics of life—water and food. Lying behind that “management” is a host of assumptions about organization, development, improvement, innovation, and growth. We, in so-called developed societies, take for granted access to not only these essentials of life but to an ever increasing array of consumer “goods.” Meanwhile, we are warned that even in our privileged cases, access to both the basics and the “goods” can be jeopardized by disruptions spurred by global warming. Given a potential scarcity of resources, how do we think about our responsibilities—to ourselves, to others? A deeper question is whether this scarcity changes our self-understanding of our responsibilities to others.

At the core of these questions is a fundamental tension between respect for the individual and the demands made on each of us to acknowledge responsibilities to each other. In this seminar we will explore this tension and seek to understand how best to balance our individual freedom with the needs of others.
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
IDST-010-12 Ignatius Seminar: Living Global
Fall for 2017-2018
Faculty:
We live in a world we inherit yet also create. Enabling us to make sense of it is a “horizon of significance” that provides us with concepts, values, practices, and customs that we constantly challenge as we continually reckon with our own, individual place in this global world. In this seminar, we will see how this horizon is becoming a global vision, a venue for exchanging experiences and reflections about how we are both common and separate.

In this seminar we will address what that horizon encompasses and how we, individually and collectively, are to act given such awareness. How are we to live given this broader horizon? How does this impact our responsibilities to one another? Is there an ethic that guides us?

First, we will begin to orient ourselves in “global” terms today by looking at the significance of “global” achievements in the past. There have been multiple attempts to create an interconnectedness of peoples and social orders that achieved highly integrated states. How is our current form of globalization similar and different? How do we understand the very term, “globalization?” today and historically?

Second, we will look at the manifestations of globalization taking place in our world today. We will explore issues that define our contemporary world—climate change, HIV/AIDS, hunger, labor and trade, migration, and growing inequality. We’ll also look at the wonderful connections that the technology of globalization enables. The political demonstrations mobilized through facebook, the music that spans the planet, even the videos of dancing babies and funny pets that go viral instantly—all this is “global,” too: the joy of being together, if only on Youtube. How do we understand the challenges—and pleasures—that emerge in the context of our expanding horizon? In particular, does this expansion create new moral responsibilities? If so, what are they?

So, in the third part of the seminar, we will wrestle with the idea of whether the globalization we are experiencing demands something else—in particular, whether it asks of us a self-understanding that would activate responsibilities to the “others” of whom we have become so intimately aware. What would a self-awareness of our place in this world of others demand of us? Overall, through this seminar we will live with some very important questions and explore the nature of our selves, our place, and the responsibilities that emerge from a widening global horizon and our way of life within that larger view.
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
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