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Grant number: AQ-248245-16

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Fordham University (Bronx, NY 10458-9993)
Sarit Kattan Gribetz (Project Director: September 2015 to present)

NEH Enduring Questions Course on Time and Its Value

The development and teaching of a new upper-division capstone course for undergraduates on the value of time.

For millennia, people have asked “Is Life Too Short?” and disagreed about the value of time and how to use it wisely. This course invites students on a journey from the invention of astronomical hours in ancient Babylonia to debates about globalization and empire surrounding the implementation of Greenwich Mean Time. Students will first investigate the concept of time and how different societies have used chronologies (time in the longue durée), calendars (annual time), and clocks (daily time) to divide and structure time, to learn that time as we know it is not time as it has always and everywhere been known. Then, we will turn to 3 case studies in which the question “How ought time be spent?” was central: debates in Roman and Jewish antiquity about work, leisure, and the Sabbath; competing attitudes about the use of hourly time in medieval Christian and Buddhist monastic settings; and reflections about new technologies of time and diversion in Marclay’s 24-hour film, “The Clock.”

Project fields:
Comparative Religion

Enduring Questions: Pilot Course Grants

Education Programs

Total amounts:
$20,000 (approved)
$20,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2016 – 5/31/2019