Core I Information Fall 2017

Welcome letter : Director of the Core Curriculum

Core Curriculum in Interdisciplinary Humanities

Scripps College has a long and distinguished tradition in teaching in the humanities. New students must fulfill their general education requirement in the Humanities by taking the Core Curriculum in Interdisciplinary Humanities (Core). The Core is a closely integrated sequence of three courses designed to encourage increasingly sophisticated and focused interdisciplinary investigation of a broad range of historical and contemporary issues.

The theme of the Core Program as a whole is “Histories of the Present.” With this inquiry Core faculty and students explore the ways in which our contemporary self-understandings have emerged. We interrogate concepts and categories that seem so “natural” and “obvious” that they prevent us from thinking clearly about their complexities and ambiguities, and hinder us from seeing our world in other ways.

During the first semester, all first-year students take Core I which has a lecture/discussion format. Team-taught by faculty members drawn from each of the College’s academic divisions (arts, letters, natural sciences, and social sciences), Core I is unified by a single syllabus and a particular focus that is approached from multiple perspectives. In the second semester of the first year, students choose from a range of Core II courses, each of which is taught by an individual professor or team-taught by two professors. Core II courses are devoted to more intensive study of some of the methods, issues, and problems introduced in Core I. In the first semester of the sophomore year, students continue their interdisciplinary work in Core III, in which they choose from a large number of options which focus on more specialized topics and in which students develop independent research and projects; each Core III course is taught by an individual professor.

Core I: Histories of the Present: Community (Fall 2017)

Starting with the question “What is a community?” we look at both large imagined communities such as modern nation-states and religious groups and smaller, more intimate groups that we regularly label as a “community.” We ask: How are communities formed and transformed? What role does historical memory and forgetting play in the creation of community? How are communities at once inclusive and exclusionary? What role do performance and memory play in the formation and transformation of communities? And when are communities beneficial and when are they potentially harmful?

In this course, we examine the ways in which communities are created and transformed through political acts, religious practices, military intervention, cultural performances, social networks, and bonding. In conjunction with this, we critique the ways in which practices of overt and implicit exclusion along the lines of birth, class, race, gender, sexuality, ability, and religious beliefs limit the possibility of belonging. We explore the ways in which individuals and communities define and represent themselves in accordance with and in resistance to the dominant powers that often determine a community’s boundaries. We also explore how communities work in resistance to transform their own and others’ political, economic, and social condition.

Core I – Fall 2017 Required Books

“Histories of the Present: Community”

If you choose to order your Core I textbooks from Huntley Bookstore of The Claremont Colleges, you may do so online at or purchase them at the store when you arrive to campus in the fall. You may also purchase these books online or through other vendors; please refer to the ISBN numbers to ensure that you are purchasing the correct edition. Please keep in mind if ordering over the summer that you may be able to find inexpensive used copies online, and you will have time to wait for them to be shipped to you; however, during the semester you may not have enough time to wait for such shipments. If there are any circumstances which make it a challenge to obtain copies of the book, or if an alternative format for any reading is needed, please contact the Core Program office at or (909) 621-8326.

Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities, revised edition
Publisher: Verso, revised edition, 2006; ISBN: 978-1-84467-086-4

Didier Eribon, Returning to Reims
Publisher: Semiotext(e), 2013; ISBN: 978-1-58435-123-8

Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God
Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2006; ISBN: 978-0-06-112006-0

Jamaica Kincaid, A Small Place
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2000; ISBN: 978-0-374-52707-5

Rigoberta Menchú, I Rigoberta Menchú, An Indian Woman in Guatemala
Publisher: Verso, 2nd edition, 2010; ISBN: 978-1-84467-418-3

Susan Nussbaum, Good Kings, Bad Kings
Publisher: Algonquin Books, 2013; ISBN: 978-1-61620-325-2

Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own
Publisher: Harcourt, 1989; ISBN: 978-0-15-678733-8

Content Warning: Please be aware that Good Kings, Bad Kings and I, Rigoberta Menchú contain material related to sexual violence and physical violence that can be upsetting or triggering to some. Please take care of yourself and know that there are resources available both on- and off-campus to provide support to you or a friend who may be in need.

On-campus, confidential resource – EmPOWER Center
Call Ms. Rima Shah 9am-5pm, M-F at 909.607.2689 to schedule an appointment.

Off-campus, confidential resource – Project Sister Hotline
A trained advocate is available 24/7 at 909.626.4357 or 626.966.4155.