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Details of Western civilisation degree published

The controversial Western Civilisation degree, currently homed at the University of Wollongong, has released its syllabus. It covers ancient Greece, Rome, the Middle Ages and Early Renaissance, and the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries through to today, via the lenses of history, art, literature, philosophy, architecture, religion, science and politics.

From Aristotle, to Darwin, to Kafka, the degree promises to “engage students in an intellectual conversation with some of the greatest thinkers down the ages, whilst also entering “into respectful dialogue with non-Western perspectives” when it begins next year.

Course outline developer, Senior Professor Daniel Hutto, said he and his team borrowed from syllabi from Columbia College, St John’s College, St Olaf College, Zaytuna College and Yale-NUS College to craft the Ramsay one. He also consulted with a range of academics, both locally and internationally.

Much of the controversy surrounding the degree – apart from claims of Western supremacy – relate to Ramsay personnel seeking to control its operation and content. UOW has now publicly attempted to assuage this fear, by releasing its MOU with the Centre. Among other things, it details that all degree staff – academic and administrative – will be appointed by UOW.

Executive Dean of UOW’s Faculty of Law, Humanities and Arts, Professor Theo Farrell, sought to reiterate this policy.

“Visits [by Ramsay executives] will be for observation and social functions – not for any formal teaching evaluation – so they will not impede UOW’s academic independence,” he said.

The MOU does not dictate exclusivity. This may, however, be the end result: at least USYD and ANU have decided not to partner with the Centre.

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One comment

  1. Speaking as a philosopher (with interests in philosophy coming from all points of the compass), I am very pleased to see the significant amount of philosophy (love of wisdom) in this course. I think the world needs more love of wisdom!

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