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07/15/2013

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Sam

I've tangled with this at somewhat greater length here: http://shimercollege.blogspot.com/2013/07/when-is-great-books-program-not-great.html . Quite a thought-provoker, this quote.

Sam

^ "makes sense."

Sam

There's certainly a lot of truth to it, and IMO we would benefit from a better understanding of how (and why!) Shimer has moved between the poles of "general education" and "Great Books" over the years. But one of the courses that still bears the clearest traces of its U of C origins is Soc 1 (which was Soc 2 at the U of C). This is certainly a Great Books course as that term is understood at Shimer. But perhaps that simply highlights the differences between the Shimerian understanding of that term and e.g. the Johnnie understanding.

If one starts with an understanding of "Great Books education" as limited to the established canon, Levine's statement that the later U of C program was "not a Great Books program" but merely "included some Great Books along with other texts whose selection was geared to progressive mastery of some basic ideas and methods of the various arts and sciences" ... but to a Shimerian, that description sounds like what we've been calling Great Books education all along.

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