All Carthage students must successfully complete two seminar courses called Western Heritage. These seminars represent the foundation of the Carthage experience: a journey of rigorous thinking, questioning and imagining that ultimately leads to self-discovery and self-expression.

Did you know?

Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition.

Western Heritage I and II are core courses, typically taken during the fall and spring semesters of a student’s freshman year. The goal of Western Heritage is to introduce students to a true liberal arts education. In classes of 21 students or fewer, freshmen read, discuss, and write about key texts from the Greek and Roman worlds through the Renaissance and into our modern era.

The yearlong sequence uses a chronological approach and is taught collaboratively by faculty from academic departments and programs across disciplines.

Intellectual Journey

The West marks an intellectual tradition of active dialogue among literary, scientific, philosophical, political, and spiritual thinkers, ancient and modern, who have seen themselves as part of a shared intellectual tradition. Western Heritage seminars ask students to participate in this ongoing scholarly journey. In each seminar, students are called upon to discuss intensely, write engagingly, and articulate clearly their thoughts through critical essays and conversations in dialogue with one another and with the texts of the course.

Outstanding Works of Literature

The texts selected for study in Western Heritage are outstanding works of literature, social and political philosophy, economic thought, science, film and music. In Western Heritage I, students read texts such as Plato’s The Republic, Virgil’s Aeneid, and Homer’s Odyssey, as well as The Bible and works by Aristotle, Augustine, and Aeschylus. In Western Heritage II, students read texts such as Dante’s Inferno, Montaigne’s Essays, Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and W.E.B. Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folk, as well as authors such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Thomas Jefferson, Karl Marx and Derek Walcott.

Solid Foundation

The Western Heritage program at Carthage provides students with a level of competency that will aid them in all of their classes at Carthage, and in their future careers. Students develop critical reading, writing, cultural literacy and oral communication skills.

Related Links

An interview with Professor Annette Duncan: What’s Western Heritage really like?