NEH banner

[light] [dark]

Funded Projects Query Form
8 matches

Keywords: neh enduring questions happiness (ALL of these words -- matching substrings)
Sort order: Award year, descending

Query elapsed time: 10.276 sec

Export results to Excel
Save this query

AQ-248180-16

University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire (Eau Claire, WI 54701-4811)
Matthew P. Meyer (Project Director: September 2015 to November 2019)
Kristin P. Schaupp (Co Project Director: June 2016 to November 2019)
NEH Enduring Questions Course on Happiness

The development and teaching of a new course for first- and second-year college students on the topic of happiness.

“What is happiness?” The question of happiness is not a modern one, but a perennial one. It is not a Western question, but a universal one. This course will use sustained primary source readings from ancient and modern philosophy; religious texts from Christian, Islamic, Buddhist, and Confucian traditions; research from positive psychology; and sociological studies on happiness to explore this question. Being an enduring question, we do not hope to arrive at an answer to the question. But we will demand thoughtful engagement through extensive reading and “scaffold” writing assignments that ask the student to re-think the central question at different points of intellectual development throughout the semester. This new course will explore this question with an intellectually pluralistic account, demanding that students engage with the humanities while being able to apply what they learn to their own lives. We are sure this course will reinvigorate students’ interest in the humanities.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
History of Philosophy

Program:
Enduring Questions: Pilot Course Grants

Division:
Education Programs

Totals:
$28,000 (approved)
$27,958 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2016 – 5/31/2019


AQ-50986-14

Franklin and Marshall College (Lancaster, PA 17603-2827)
Lee Aaron Franklin (Project Director: September 2013 to November 2019)
NEH Enduring Questions Course on the Examined Life

The development of a first-semester interdisciplinary seminar on the examined life.

The development of a first-semester interdisciplinary seminar on the examined life. A four-member faculty team develops a course for first-semester students that explores the question, What is the examined life? The course is organized into three historical units, framed by a prologue and epilogue. In each unit, a relevant example of period art supplements the core readings and a biographical case study encourages students to assess an examined life. With a deliberate focus on close reading, analytical writing, and group discussion, the course immerses students in the very practice they are studying. The prologue invites students to compare Ancient Near Eastern cosmology and Michelangelo's "Genesis" in the Sistine Chapel. In Unit 1, on antiquity, readings of Hesiod, Sophocles, Aristotle, and Polykleitos address themes of happiness, fate, and freedom. A study of Greek and Roman portraiture shows idealized versus realistic conceptions of physical beauty, and Socrates' trial and death provides the biographical lens. Unit 2, on the medieval world, uses Augustine's Confessions as the biographical case study. Students read the Rule of St. Benedict and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales to compare monasticism and pilgrimage, and a study of monastic and pilgrimage architecture elucidates the different traditions. Students also compare the emerging liberal arts of al-Ghazali with the scholasticism of Aquinas. In Unit 3, on the modern era, Shakespeare and Rembrandt illustrate a new interiority and Nietzsche and Freud its later iterations. The social emphases of Austen and Marx are contrasted with the reclusiveness of Dickinson and Thoreau. Landscape painting shows nature as a place of solace and terror, and Darwin's letters supply a biographical view. Finally, in the Epilogue, students consider the contemporary world by comparing the ubiquitousness of self-representation ("selfies" and social media) with Foucault's portrayal of individuals in institutional settings. The faculty meet weekly to integrate the perspectives of their four disciplines (philosophy, religious studies, art history, and anthropology) into the final syllabus. They also develop a series of colloquia with guest speakers, films, and faculty debates as a means to bring the intellectual community of the course to the rest of the campus. They envision the course as a model for the new "Connections" curriculum, and work with faculty to develop additional courses in this vein.

Project fields:
Interdisciplinary Studies, General

Program:
Enduring Questions: Pilot Course Grants

Division:
Education Programs

Totals:
$38,000 (approved)
$38,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2014 – 4/30/2019


AQ-50928-13

Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5200)
Dini Metro-Roland (Project Director: September 2012 to July 2016)
Jeffrey Jones (Co Project Director: January 2014 to July 2016)
NEH Enduring Questions Course on "What Is Human Flourishing?"

The development of an undergraduate honors course by two faculty members to explore the question, What is human flourishing?

This course is an invitation to explore the rich and multifaceted history and nature of the question What is human flourishing? Drawing from the disciplines of philosophy, history, literature and the social sciences, we introduce students to conceptions, visions and conditions of human flourishing, its changing nature across many periods of Western history, and its manifold expressions in contemporary life. An essential component of this course is making connections between the tradition of human flourishing and its practice in the local community. In addition to attending classes, students will participate in a series of site visits to various intentional communities, organizations, art exhibits, musical performances and speaking events, and listen to organizers and artists talk about conceptions of human flourishing and efforts to bring their visions to fruition.

[Media coverage]

Project fields:
Interdisciplinary Studies, General

Program:
Enduring Questions: Pilot Course Grants

Division:
Education Programs

Totals:
$21,365 (approved)
$21,364 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2013 – 4/30/2016


AQ-50581-12

CUNY Research Foundation, John Jay College (New York, NY 10019-1007)
Jonathan A. Jacobs (Project Director: September 2011 to May 2015)
NEH Enduring Questions Course on "Is Virtue Its Own Reward?"

The development of an undergraduate course on the question, Is virtue its own reward?

Jonathan Jacobs, a professor of philosophy and the recently appointed director of the Institute for Criminal Justice and Ethics at John Jay College, develops an undergraduate course on the relationship between virtue and happiness. The matter, he argues, "is among the most fundamental and enduring concerns for any reflective person." Sub-themes under the general question include the varieties of moral value and how they are realized, what makes an excellent life, whether morality is "desirable and enjoyable for its own sake," and "whether vice and moral corruption undermine happiness and damage prospects for it." The course utilizes sources from Jewish, Islamic, Christian, and non-religious philosophical traditions as well as works of fiction. It begins with ancient perspectives in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics and progresses to "Eight Chapters" and "Laws Concerning Character Traits" by Moses Maimonides, Thomas Aquinas's "Treatise on the Virtues," and Alfarabi's "The Attainment of Happiness." The early modern period is represented by Adam Smith's The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Joseph Butler's "A Dissertation on the Nature of Virtue," and Immanuel Kant's The Doctrine of Virtue. The course then turns to Joseph Conrad's Lord Jim and Andre Gide's The Immoralist for literary treatments and to writings by Gabrielle Taylor, Thomas Nagel, and Bernard Williams on the concept of "moral luck." In justifying his use of the two novels, Professor Jacobs argues that they "are compelling studies of conscience, self-respect, moral aspiration, guilt, shame, love, friendship, the challenges of failures of integrity, and the effort to change one's character." The project director states that he stretches intellectually by investigating the subject of vice and weakness, learning how to incorporate literary narrative into his teaching with the help of colleagues, and closely studying several works on the course syllabus that are new to his teaching.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Ethics

Program:
Enduring Questions: Pilot Course Grants

Division:
Education Programs

Totals:
$24,991 (approved)
$24,974 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2012 – 12/31/2014


AQ-50610-12

New Mexico State University (Las Cruces, NM 88003-8002)
Mark Walker (Project Director: September 2011 to September 2014)
NEH Enduring Questions Course on "What Is the Nature of Happiness?"

The development of an undergraduate seminar on the question, What is the nature of happiness?

Mark Walker, an assistant professor of philosophy, develops a course on "the nature, value and means to obtain happiness." He argues that "the nature of happiness is not as well understood as we might imagine or hope. Its value may not be what we think it is, and we may be mistaken in how to pursue it." The course utilizes insights from classic Western sources, contemporary social science, and Buddhism. Professor Walker notes that this course might be the first time that many of his students, a number of them first-generation undergraduates, tackle original texts; hence, it includes an introductory section on critical thinking. Then the course moves through a number of topics, first using Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and a recent psychological study, "The Benefits of Frequent Positive Affect: Does Happiness Lead to Success?" by Sonya Lyubormirsky and others, to complicate the question of whether the inhabitants of Huxley's "brave new world" are happier than we are. Next, it looks at the film The Matrix to see if the altered mental state of the character Cypher makes him "really happy." Plato's Myth of the Cave from the Republic and a recent article by Charles L. Griswold elaborate the mental state theory of happiness. The course then moves beyond such mental accounts to Plato's Philebus and Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics to consider other bases of happiness in knowledge and virtue; the idea that there might be a difference between happiness and well-being will also be introduced. J. S. Mill's Utilitarianism then offers the view that people have a duty to maximize total happiness. Recent readings from social science and "positive psychology" by Lyubormirsky, Martin Seligman, and others allow the students to consider whether success leads to happiness or happiness to success. Political considerations regarding happiness are addressed through John Locke's Two Treatises of Government, and the Declaration of Independence. Readings from contemporary social science by Ed Diener, John Helliwell, and Haifing Huang explore whether public policy can be used to promote happiness. Finally, the class considers Buddhist perspectives articulated by the Dalai Lama about the root causes of happiness and unhappiness. In addition to standard classroom activities, the students are given opportunities to present papers to the undergraduate philosophy club and to set up a "philosophy booth" during one of the class periods to engage other students in the question. Professor Walker states that since most of his teaching is on contemporary sources, he wishes to use the course development time to improve his skills with historical texts and to increase his understanding of Buddhism.

Project fields:
Ethics

Program:
Enduring Questions: Pilot Course Grants

Division:
Education Programs

Totals:
$24,995 (approved)
$20,806 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2012 – 4/30/2014


AQ-50363-11

Wheaton College (Norton, MA 02766-2322)
John Partridge (Project Director: September 2010 to April 2014)
NEH Enduring Questions Course on "What is the Good Life?"

The development of a first-year seminar on the question, What is the good life?

This course examines historical and contemporary reflections on the question, “what is the good life?” starting with Plato’s Apology. Socrates’ life and death inspired three ways of thinking about the best life. Accordingly, this course features three units: Happiness, Morality, and Meaning. Students will appreciate the breadth and complexity of each tradition and the implications of the different answers given within them. The course will enlighten students and empower them to pursue the good life as they see it. The principal texts exemplify the core commitments within each tradition, while additional works put the three traditions into conversation with one another. Finally, each unit includes a figure embodying something essential in each tradition. Students will study the life and work of Beethoven (happiness), Mother Teresa (morality), and Paul Gauguin (meaning), and will identify how the conception of the good life in each tradition informs these lives.

Project fields:
Philosophy, General

Program:
Enduring Questions: Pilot Course Grants

Division:
Education Programs

Totals:
$25,000 (approved)
$25,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2011 – 5/31/2013


AQ-50371-11

Centre College of Kentucky (Danville, KY 40422-1309)
William "Beau" Weston (Project Director: September 2010 to September 2014)
NEH Enduring Questions Course on "What is a Happy Society?"

The development of an upper level course on the question, What is a happy society?

What is a happy society? We will consider answers to this question from classic philosophical arguments and compare them with empirical studies from modern social science. We will first consider answers to this question from classical philosophical arguments (Aristotle, Jeremy Bentham, and John Stuart Mill). Next, we will study Tocqueville?s seminal work examining the birth and early development of a modern society. Finally, we will discuss the findings of new studies such as ?positive psychology? and ?happiness economics? concerning what makes people happy. Within this classical-to-modern context, we will explore the seeming elements of a happy society (e.g. service to others, a culture of trust, familial networks) and the role they play, either singularly or together, in creating a happy society.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Sociology

Program:
Enduring Questions: Pilot Course Grants

Division:
Education Programs

Totals:
$23,748 (approved)
$23,747 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2011 – 5/31/2014


AQ-50234-10

Ursinus College (Collegeville, PA 19426-2513)
Jonathan D. Marks (Project Director: September 2009 to April 2014)
NEH Enduring Questions Course on "What is Love?"

The development of an upper-level undergraduate course on the nature of love in works by Augustine, Shakespeare, Rousseau, Austen, Freud, and Darwin.

This course treats a question that cuts across the humanities disciplines - namely, 'what is love?" It contributes to our investigation of that question by drawing on multiple disciplines and by exploring what humanists can learn from non-humanists, including natural and social scientists, about love. Students will seek to develop a provisional understanding of love by considering these questions, among others: Is love an expansive feeling that one self-sufficient person feels for another, or is it a need that drives an incomplete person to seek someone to make him whole? Is love reasonable, so that we can inquire into whom we should love, or is it fundamentally mysterious and spontaneous, offering itself only to people who know reason's limits? Is loving another human being the ultimate end, or is it part of a bigger pursuit, of communion with God, or of happiness, or of immortality? Readings will include Plato's Symposium, Austen's Pride and Prejudice and Freud's Three Essays.

Project fields:
Political Science, General

Program:
Enduring Questions: Pilot Course Grants

Division:
Education Programs

Totals:
$24,808 (approved)
$24,808 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2010 – 5/31/2012