North Central College - Naperville, IL

History of Ideas

Imagine full class debates over the relative merits of the paganism and Christianity in Beowulf, or the implications and appropriateness of the punishments in Dante's Inferno. What would you have to say?

The History of Ideas is an interdisciplinary minor that invites faculty from many different areas, such as philosophy and religious studies, history, English, modern and classical languages, even psychology, to teach courses that engage our students in discussion of the major ideas and intellectual problems from antiquity to modernity, through the close study of primary texts. Favorite among History of Ideas students are Homer's Odyssey, Dante's Inferno and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

The History of Ideas program offers the challenge (and the satisfaction!) of trying to understand these texts within the context of traditions such as religion, philosophy, literature and the social sciences as well as considering topics such as art, gender or race.

Although these are honors courses, anyone can enroll in them and complete the minor. Think seminar-type courses sound a little dry? Not in History of Ideas! These courses are designed to encourage lively discussion of intellectually engaging issues.