Explore the philosophy, religious thought, political ideas, and historical events that have shaped societies and their interactions around the world. In Social Foundations, a three-course sequence of SF I, SF II, and SF III, you examine the enduring questions of humanity in the context in which they first originated, trace them through history, and consider why they persist.
Studying Influential Ideas
As you read original texts, you will engage in the living traditions of thought that shape discourse even today. Study the foundational figures of major world traditions -- Confucius, Plato, Aquinas, and Muhammad. Contend with the revolutionary voices of Hobbes, Machiavelli, Galileo, Marx, Freud, Guevara, and Mao. Analyze the arguments of Gandhi, de Beauvoir, Foucault, and Sontag. Engage with influential works and ideas in person at the historical sites and contemporary institutions around you.
In the Social Foundations sequence you survey eras from ancient to modern times. Every class is small and challenges you to explore seminal ideas and events through active discussion with your classmates. Instructors guide your analysis from a global perspective to relate essential ideas across geographical and temporal boundaries, bringing past and present into creative dialogue.