Using The Symposium in the General Education Classroom

Using The Symposium in the General Education Classroom
          -- One non-philosopher’s approach to teaching a classic of philosophy

Date: 14 November 2008 (Friday)
Speaker: Prof. Deborah A. Martinsen (Associate Dean of Alumni Education, Adjunct Associate Professor of Slavic & Former Dean of the Core Curriculum, Columbia University)

How does a professor of Slavic, one who claims to have no expertise in Plato or in philosophy, teach a philosophical work by Plato? What happens when a classic is removed from its home department and taught in a general education class?   How can it be taught? What will students learn?

As a Slavist, Prof. Martinsen brings her training in language and literature to bear on her Core Curriculum classes. In fact, the multi-disciplinary Core Curriculum staff is the pride of Columbia University. Each year, the Core brings together professors from history, classics, comparative literature, political science, philosophy, anthropology, psychology, etc., to teach a set of multi-disciplinary classics.

Columbia’s celebrated Core Curriculum, the result of ninety years of development, is in every way a good model for university general education. The OUGE is honored to host a seminar by Prof. Deborah Martinsen, who has taught in and led the Core program at Columbia for many years. In her new position as Associate Dean of Alumni Education, she is extending Core education to alumni with “Core nostalgia” and to their family and friends suffering from “Core envy.”

Whether you are interested in general education as a whole or simply curious about a Slavist’s approach to The Symposium, we cordially invite you to join us for the seminar.  Prof. Martinsen will lead a discussion on The Symposium as a Core Curriculum class. The Hackett edition of the dialogue will be used. While a few copies will be available for sharing by the audience, you are welcome to bring your own copy of any English translation with line references in the margin.