Instructor: LeVan Professor of Ethics /Professor Daniel R. Gilbert
This course is an in-depth study of the experience of living as a thoughtful citizen in a particular four-year time period in a particular place, the United States in the mid-1950s, far away from each student's own lifetime and familiar surroundings. We will study this period in terms of institutions such as school segregation and suburbia, and from the standpoint of scientific, social science, and humanities lines of inquiry that converge on such complex issues of that era as polio vaccination, interstate highways, and space exploration. Emphasis will be placed on the institutions and the questions of justice through which citizens must wend their way in this far away time and far away place. Students will seek answers to the question above through philosophical inquiry (what kind of life of considered action), ethical inquiry (considered action in the continuing company of other free-thinking human beings), justice inquiry (contributing to the communities to which I belong), historical inquiry (my inheritance from those who have gone before me in this place), and literary inquiry (be inspired to imagine sustaining).