Courses

Research directors of the Agora Institute offer courses in the Templeton Honors College and through their academic departments.  Courses are open to students of the Honors College and Eastern University.  Course descriptions for some of the classes offered in the 2014-2015 academic year are below.  

Modernity and the Good Society with Jeffrey Dill

The purpose of this course is to provide students with background and understanding of distinctly modern theories of society with a particular focus from the nineteenth century to the present. The course will explore the evolution and development of “modernity” less as an idea or epoch and more as a set of institutional transformations and practices. In the last two hundred years, changes in our understanding of the major spheres of human activity—political, economic, cultural, and religious—have revolutionized how human beings experience the world and their place in it. Our main framework of inquiry will be the empirical and theoretical methods of classical sociology, which take a macro-historical approach to making sense of modern times. 

The Family with Jeffrey Dill

This course covers the historical background and cultural comparisons of families, premarital and marital behavior, and family disorganization and reorganization.  The American family has undergone significant changes in the past half­century. Perhaps most significantly, people are marrying at older ages, premarital cohabitation has become the norm, nonmarital childbearing is increasingly common, and divorce rates rose significantly and have now plateaued at a relatively high level. In this course, we will discuss these changes—and others—from a sociological perspective. In so doing, we will explore how societal and cultural shifts have shaped and continue to shape family life, and how family life is patterned by important characteristics and institutions such as gender, race, social class, and religion. We will consider the implications of family life not only for individuals, but also for society as a whole. In addition, we will examine day­to­day family experiences and interactions, including issues such as work­family balance and parenting. We will conclude the course by discussing some current controversial issues involving the family.

 

Political Theory with Steven McGuire

This course offers an examination of the main political thinkers in the Western tradition through a selection of the great books.

 

Justice in a Pluralistic Society with Steve McGuire

This interdisciplinary course uses both biblical and philosophical frameworks to examine the complexities of social justice in a pluralistic society. The focus is on the United States, with connections to the global community. Principles of social justice are used to explore issues of race, gender and class. Emphasis is placed on the student understanding her/his own identity and life situation, including what values, attitudes and knowledge have shaped her/his own worldview.Attention is given to students developing skills in interacting with people from diverse groups and in bringing about social justice in the larger society. 

 

Political Ideologies with Steve McGuire

In this class students study important texts in the historical development of liberalism, conservatism and socialism, discuss the difference between philosophy and ideology, and study Islamism and the contemporary terrorism it breeds.

Early Middle Ages with Gary Jenkins

Beginning with the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, this course treats the origins of the new western European civilization through its troubled birth among various invaders, Germanic, Nordic, Magyar, and Saracen, and the synthesis that emerged between the old and new orders as tempered by the Christian Church, through the 10th century.

 

The Age of the Reformation with Gary Jenkins

The focus of this class is the political, economic, cultural and religious developments in the age of the Reformation in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries against the background of the later Middle Ages and the Renaissance.