2008-09 Catalog

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Planning Unit

Culture, Text and Language

Culture, Text and Language programs invite students to engage in academic study of what it means it be human and to participate in social life. Its faculty prize rigorous reflective inquiry and integrative understanding. Through study of cultures, students explore the webs of meaning that individuals and groups use to make sense of their experience and the world. Through study of texts, they learn to interpret the embodiments of these meanings in forms ranging from enduring works to popular media and the artful practices of everyday life. Through study of languages, they become proficient in the means of communication in different societies and discover the beauty and power of words.

The Culture, Text and Language planning unit coordinates some social science and virtually all the humanities curriculum and at Evergreen. Our disciplines include literature, history, women’s studies, philosophy, religion, classics, art history, linguistics, anthropology, sociology, psychology, politics, communications, folklore, creative writing, French, Spanish, Russian and Japanese.

Many of our programs are organized as area studies, which we define as the interdisciplinary study of topics framed by geography, language, culture and history. We endeavor to make sure that students have access to a curriculum that is rich in the study of diverse cultures and languages, so they have ample opportunity to learn about shared legacies and across significant differences, including differences of race, class, gender and sexuality. We are committed to offering programs regularly in these areas: American studies, classics, French language and the Francophone world (France, Quebec, the Francophone Caribbean, Francophone Africa), Japanese language and Japan, Middle East studies, Russian language and Eastern Europe, and Spanish language and the Hispanic world (Latin America, Spain, the United States).

Many Culture, Text and Language programs bring together two or more disciplines to examine critical questions about the human condition, and many also include community-based activities that put ideas into practice. Thus, students gain an interconnected view of the humanities and interpretive social sciences. Faculty act as advisors and mentors in their subjects of expertise, supporting students to do advanced work, internships, studies abroad and senior theses.

The affiliated faculty members of Culture, Text and Language strongly encourage students with a special focus on the humanities and interpretive social sciences to undertake a senior thesis or senior project during their final year as a capstone to their learning at Evergreen. By working closely with one or more faculty members as part of a larger program or through an individual contract, prepared seniors will have the opportunity to pursue advanced study while producing an original thesis or project in their areas of interest. To prepare for this senior work, interested students should begin to discuss their plans with potential faculty sponsors during their junior year.

The faculty of Culture, Text and Language invite students to work with them to create living links between their past and their present, in order to become, in the words of Charles McCann, Evergreen’s first president, "undogmatic citizens and uncomplacently confident individuals in a changing world."