Western Civilization

Western Civilization
Choose one of the topics below and write a 5 – 7 page essay (your own work), making sure you answer all of the parts of the question. Your introduction should include a thesis statement clearly stating what you intend to examine in your essay. Your analysis needs to contain specific references to your primary sources using short quotations and page references (at the end of your essay you should add a “Works Cited” section that give the bibliographical information of these primary sources). You will need to end your essay with a concluding paragraph. This is not a research paper, so you do not need to find secondary sources. If you are unfamiliar with writing papers of this length, you may want to consult the “Humanities & Western Civilization Student Writing Guide” found at the HWC website under “Resources.” (And please feel free to consult with me).

You will need to submit your final paper through SafeAssign on Blackboard. The due date is: May 8, 2014 by 5pm (last day of classes).

1. Imagine that the next set of candidates to run for President of the USA and their teams of advisors are searching for principles of good leadership. Using two of our texts/authors, develop two different views on what makes up good leadership and the principles and qualities needed in a candidate to be a good leader. You must take these ideas (principles and qualities) from the primary sources themselves and use them in your paper by quoting from them and referencing them. You may use any two texts from the first semester.

2. This year’s PritzkerArchitecture Prize went to Shirgeru Ban (Japan) “best known for making temporary housing for natural disaster victims out of transient materials like plastic beer crates” to quote the NYTimes article about the award. Imagine Shirgeru Ban is a student in our class: which two texts or authors would be inspirational for the development of his work and why? You must find passages from your primary texts to back up you argument and cite them.
Read the articles I’ve cited below to give you a good idea of Mr. Ban’s work and talent before choosing your two texts and author. (NYT’s articles gives a written account of his work and life with a couple of photos. The NPR site gives you a dozen photos of his work.

New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/25/arts/design/pritzker-architecture-prize-goes-to-shigeru-ban.html?emc=eta1&_r=0

National Public Radio: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/art/pritzker-prize-winner-shigeru-ban-designs-houses-out-of-paper/#.UzS7Ylx0uEQ.email

3. Compare and contrast three different “belief systems” we have examined this semester: What do they share in common (if anything)? How do they seem incompatible (if so)? You will want to look at them from a variety of perspectives: a moral guide or code; as a reflection of the world (taken in a very large sense, from the cosmos to nature to human society, and so forth); as an understanding of what constitutes the supernatural (deity or deities). You do not have to cover all of these different perspectives but you need to look at least two or three. Good texts for this essay would be the three “sacred” scriptures: Hebrew Bible, Christian Scriptures, excerpts of Aquinas’ Summa, the one excerpt from the Qur’an (“The Cow”), and any of the Greek texts featuring the gods: Antigone or Plato’s short, excerpted discussion of the soul’s immortality (taken from his dialogue the Phaedo, which was featured in the “Death of Socrates” text you read), and finally those letters within Seneca that discuss the idea of the supernatural or spiritual dimension of human experience.