A Christian College of the Liberal Arts & Sciences

Contemporary Contexts: the Search for Meaning in a Fragmented World

16 hours (1 in fall, 8 in spring, 3 in Mayterm and 4 in following fall)

Program Coordinators and teaching faculty: David M. Huth, Theodore J. Murphy, Stephen A. Woolsey, Paul D. Young

This course of study focuses on the loss of unifying narratives in contemporary Western culture and on various possible responses to this situation.  Students take a one-hour proseminar in the fall and an integrative eight-hour course in the spring, team-taught by faculty in art, communication theory, literature, and psychology, followed by a Mayterm trip to London.  The program concludes with a four-hour capstone course in the fall of the sophomore year.  Meets the entire IS Community requirement as well as the Writing Competency and IS requirements in Culture: Literature and Culture: Art.

Course Descriptions

INTS 161 Foundations of Contemporary Contexts Honors (P/U)


Introduction to the topics and methods of the Contemporary Contexts honors program. Analytical and critical reading and writing, coordinated with seminar-style discussion and other group activities. Liberal Arts.

INTS 166 Fragmentation and Order in the Postmodern City


Course conducted in London. A multi-facetted exploration of Western culture’s fragmentation in the modern and postmodern eras, as illustrated and documented in this city’s galleries, museums, and architecture. Regular visits to London’s richly-varied cultural resources and historical sites will supplement background lectures and seminar-style discussions of primary texts. Liberal Arts.

INTS 167 Imagining Wholeness: Psychology and Literature


Examines descriptions of the fragmentation of modern and postmodern life in psychology and literature, along with prescriptions for restoring wholeness, order, and meaning. Connections to art, religion, and drama include a visit to New York City. Lectures combine with seminar discussion and small-group tutorials. IS: Culture (Literature) and Community (Psychology). Liberal Arts.

INTS 165 The Shifting Center


Studies the perpetual change at the heart of fragmentation in postmodern life, the loss of a single organizing narrative, and the range of human response. Focuses on the often conflicted arenas of contemporary culture: mass media, the arts, and public discourse surrounding politics, science, religion, and other embattled institutions. Lectures and readings interact with cultural texts and creative collaborations to explore the tumultuous landscape presented by these late days of modernity. IS: Culture (Art) and Community (Communication). Liberal Arts.

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