CIE 100: Fall, 2013

The Common Intellectual Experience is a two-semester course for all first year students that brings academic inquiry to bear on the central questions of a liberal education: How should we live our lives? What does it mean to be human? What is the universe and how do we fit into it?  Students engage in conversation about a common set of works drawn from diverse historical contexts, cultures and beliefs including their own, selected to prompt thoughtful examination of the central questions of the course.  Through this conversation the course accomplishes its goals: to cultivate the self-knowledge necessary to live a considered, independent, and responsible life; and to establish an intellectual community enjoyed by students and faculty alike.

The course fosters the essential skills of critical reading, careful interpretation, effective discussion, clear writing, and the use of evidence to construct a compelling argument. Enrollment in CIE classes is limited to 16 students to provide an atmosphere conducive to intellectual challenge and discovery. The engagement of all students and faculty from all disciplines, the shared syllabus, and the occasional gathering of the entire class for common events allows students to confront as a community the enduring issues of our existence.


The usual penalty for plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty is failure in the course. I also report academic dishonesty to the Dean’s Office. A second offense at any time in your college career may result in dismissal from the College. This policy applies to all cases of academic dishonesty, from lifting a paper from a friend to lifting a sentence from Wikipedia, and from directly copying to paraphrasing without naming your source. If you have any doubt about what plagiarism is please consult me or the freshman handbook. My papers should not require you to consult sources outside of the class readings. I urge you strongly not to consult such sources as the point of the course is not to become familiar with what other people have to say about the texts but to grapple with them ourselves. But if you must consult such sources, you need to cite them.


Summer Reading:
Epic of Gilgamesh and
"The Allegory of the Cave"(excerpt from Plato’s Republic)

CIE I Fall Reading:
The Epic of Gilgamesh (Translator: N. K. Sandars) Penguin
Sappho (Translator: Mary Barnard) University of California Press
Plato: Four Texts on Socrates (Translators: West and West) Cornell Paperbacks
Job (Translator: Raymond P. Scheindlin) Norton
The Bhagavad Gita (Translator: Laurie Patton) Penguin
Abelard & Heloise: The Letters and Other Writing (Translator: William Levitan) Hackett
Galileo: Discoveries and Opinions of Galileo (Translator: Stillman Drake) Anchor Books
Descartes: A Discourse on the Method (Translator: Ian Maclean) Oxford
In addition, a CIE Reader will be distributed in class, and a Power Point collection of Renaissance art will be sent via email or posted on Blackboard.


Writing (60%)
Paper 1 – 10% (600-900 words)
Paper 2 – 15% (1200-1500 words)
Paper 3 – 15% (1200-1500 words)
Paper 4 – 20% (1500-1800 words)
Discussion (40%):
In-class participation – 30%
Informal writing (pre-class / in-class) – 10%


Week 0
(Aug. 23)
Opening class session, plus begin discussion of The Epic of Gilgamesh and “The Allegory of the Cave”
8/24 CIE Common Event: The Matrix

Week 1-2
(Aug. 26-30)
(Sept. 02-06)
Gilgamesh continued; “The Allegory of the Cave” and Sappho (1-2, 4-5, 8-9, 12-15, 17, 20-21, 37-83, 87-88, 97-100)
[Paper 1, First Draft, due Thursday/Friday Sept. 05/06]

Weeks 3-4
(Sept. 9-13)
(Sept. 16-17)

Plato: Euthyphro [in Four Texts on Socrates, pp. 41–61]
Weeks 4-5
(Sept. 18-20)
(Sept. 23-27)
Mencius [CIE Reader] 
Weeks 6
(Sept. 30- Oct. 04)
Job COMMON EVENT  "Job Finds God in New Jersey," by Dan Sergeant and Jon Volkmer (date and location t.b.d.)

Week 7
(Oct. 07-11)
The Bhagavad-Gita 
COMMON EVENT: Yoga — individual sessions daily, 10/7 through 10/11, 4:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. (students will be assigned sessions by floor

Fall Break
(Oct. 14-15)

Week 8
(Oct. 16-18)

The Bhagavad Gita (continued)
Weeks 9-10
(Oct. 21-25)
(Oct. 28-29)
Abelard & Heloise
The Calamities (pp.1–20 mid-page (end at “My wounds”) Letters 1–4 (pp. 49–104)

Weeks 10-11
(Oct 30-Nov 1)
(Nov. 4-5) 

Renaissance Art
PowerPoint of Renaissance Art [Blackboard] 
CIE Common Event:  "Images of Africans in Renaissance Art," by Maghan Keita and Timothy McCall (11/4)  [Paper 3, First Draft, due Thursday/ Friday Nov. 7/8]

Weeks 11-12
(Nov. 6 -8)
(Nov. 11-12)

Montaigne: “Of Cannibals” [CIE Reader] The Jesuit Relations (excerpt) [CIE Reader]
Weeks 12-13
(Nov. 13-15)
(Nov. 18-19)

Galileo “The Starry Messenger (pp. 2158) Excerpts from “Letters on Sunspots” (pp. 87119) Excerpts from The Assayer” (pp. 237241, 256258, 269280)
Weeks 13-14
(Nov. 20-22)
(Nov. 25-26)
Descartes, A Discourse on the Method
Thanksgiving (Nov. 27-29)

Weeks 14-15
(Dec. 02-06) 
Descartes: A Discourse on the Method
[Paper 4 First Draft due Thursday/Friday Dec. 05/06]


CIE Common Events Schedule (attendance required)

Week 1 The Matrix
Lenfest Theater


Fri, Aug. 24
Week 6  Job Finds God in New Jersey, by Dan Sergeant and Jon Volkmer 

Lenfest Theater


Date TBD


Week 7 Yoga Sessions
Location: TBA


Individual sessions Nov. 7 through Nov. 11, 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., locations t.b.a.  
Week 11 "Images of Africans in Renaissance Art", by Maghan Keita and Tim McCall

Lenfest Theater


Mon., Nov. 4, 4:30 and 7 p.m. 
Week 14 "The Trials of Galileo," by Tim Hardy
Lenfest Theater
Mon., Nov. 25, 4:30 and 7 p.m.