At Shimer College we pride ourselves on being “A Different Liberal Arts College,” promising open and honest communication and transparency within our classroom walls. Using the great books curriculum methodology—which entails assigning only primary source readings—we foster a unique experience for our small group of students. With intimate class sizes that emphasize learning and discussion, there is enthusiasm in the air at Shimer.
If you’re interested in exploring a liberal arts education at a small great books college, discover some of our own students’ favorite readings, which you may also have the opportunity to read during your classes at Shimer.
On Aggression: An Essential Component of Liberal Arts College Courses
Several Shimer students including Aubin Spice, Michael Doherty, Marielle Heidebrink, and Patrick Long declared Konrad Lorenz’s On Aggression to be one of their favorite pieces of work, with Shimer student Patrick Long even stating “It’s amazing how someone can compile an argument like this.” On Aggression discusses the theory around aggression and the behavioral patterns of humans and animals. As a student at Shimer, you will read this book among many other fantastic readings during the Natural Sciences 2 class: Evolution, Genetics, Animal Behavior. This book will contribute to your overall understanding of animal behavior, which is a key learning outcome of the class.
Fear and Trembling: A Must-Read in Liberal Arts College Courses
Shimer student Ari Robbins shared a book that really stood out to him during his liberal arts college courses. Fear and Trembling by Søren Kierkegaard was one of Robbins’ favorites. As part of the curriculum of Shimer’s Humanities 3 course: Philosophy and Theology, this book discusses the story in the Bible, Genesis 22:1-18, of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice Isaac.
Many students choose to attend our small liberal arts college because the curriculum is based on great books. At Shimer, we encourage our students to share their thoughts about the readings through student-driven dialogue, where they can ask questions, offer interpretations, and even disagree with one another. When students were asked what they like best about Shimer College, Ari Robbins said "I’m never allowed to be intellectually or thoughtfully lazy, my comments are questioned and critiqued or explored by the people around me. I also love the fact that my voice is a crucial part of this community.”
A Vindictive Of The Rights of Women: Literary Lessons About Feminism in Liberal Arts Programs
When former student Allie Peluso was asked about her favorite readings, she said “That’s a tough one, everything!” One reading in particular Allie mentioned enjoying was A Vindictive of the Rights of Women: With Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects. This title offers a unique perspective on feminism, being one of the earlier works in feminist philosophy written in 1792. When asked what she loves about the school itself Allie said “Shimer does a great job of attracting people who are genuinely intellectually curious”.
At Shimer, the quality of the readings is never compromised and we choose the literature carefully in order to nurture conversation. When you enroll in Shimer’s liberal arts programs you are empowered to be curious about what you are learning.
Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts: An Important Reading in Liberal Arts College Courses
Shimer student Eugene Lim excitedly shared that the author of one of his favorite readings is Karl Marx. During your studies you will read Marx’s Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts for the Social Sciences 1 course: Society, Culture, and Personality. The book is a collection of notes written between April and August of 1844. These notes discuss Marx’s analysis of economics. Interestingly enough, the notes did not go on to be released until 1927 after Marx’s death. Eugene loved the reading, saying “It’s thrilling; you almost get drunk off of it!”
Along with Eugene, Howard Ruan is a big fan of readings assigned in the Social Science classes, stating “I would have to put everything in the Social Science 2 course, because I was not a fan of politics before I got to Shimer, but the way Shimer governs itself, having to take that course really opened my mind to learning about politics.”
When you begin your liberal arts studies at Shimer, you will develop a broad understanding of many disciplines—from humanities to social and natural sciences to abnormal psychology and beyond. Through reading, debate, and the exchange of ideas, you may even uncover interests you did not know you had!
Are you interested in reading any of the great works mentioned above?
Contact Shimer to learn how small liberal arts colleges can help you expand your knowledge through great books!