April 9, 2002

The Decline and Fall of the Western Civ Sequence

While the MAROON recognizes that this reshaping is necessary, in that the Common Core must change to remain viable, the reduction and possible discontinuation of Western Civ is lamentable. The Western Civ program has developed a unique curriculum for students of the sequence, as well as championing the idea of "civilization" studies as a distinct field of the social sciences, and over the years, has reinforced the importance of the Civ requirement within the Core.ÉÉThe whole conception of what a Civ sequence is has grown somewhat nebulous, drifting from the original idea of a concise historical survey meant to maximize the value of one year of civilization study, towards a set of much broader offerings, varying from anthropology to historiography. But under the direction of the venerated and unceasingly dedicated Weintraubs, the Western Civ sequence has remained more focused on the original notion of a comprehensive historical survey.

The MAROON believes that the Western Civ sequence should continue to be offered. While amendments in the Core and simply in the civilization which the sequence aims to understand may dictate changes, the ideas of what the Western Civ sequence taught and represented should be available to every student who enrolls at this institution. If the University chooses not to retain the Western Civ sequence, they would nonetheless do well to remember the academic spirit in which it was created, developed and maintained. The Western Civ program, perhaps more than any other currently offered class, embodies the hallowed scholastic tradition of the classic Chicago common education.