The Liberal Arts College is a special programme and a special place, unique in Montreal and across Canada. As a programme, its demanding, required Core Curriculum (42 of the 90 degree-credits necessary for university graduation) consists of a series of interrelated, multi-disciplinary year-long seminars. The core represents a twentieth-century vision of liberal arts education, a sustained "conversation" with men and women whose thought, from antiquity forward, constitutes "the Western tradition" ....
We view the Western tradition as worth studying not only intrinsically, as a cultural corpus of great power and beauty, but because it has also been, and is, self-critical, able to address--and to right-- past wrongs, exclusions and repressions. . . . "Great Books" are great not because they represent unchanging values, but because they involve us in a mutually ongoing critical dialogue.... The College encourages most students to combine a departmental disciplinary program ("Major" or "Honours") with the required 42-credit LAC Core; the Core can, with College permission, constitute a "Western Society and Culture" Major. Double College-Departmental majors are possible....
[LAC's Core Curriculum consists of nine courses spanning three years. The first six courses are paired:]
LBCL 291 [and] 391 Structure and Dynamics of Western Civilization I [and] II: [These] course[s] emphasize the intellectual, cultural and political traditions from the Biblical period and classical antiquity to the mid seventeenth century [and] from the mid-seventeenth century to 1914. Texts studied are related to changing social and historical contexts. Primary sources may include Plato, The Republic, Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations, Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, Machiavelli, The Prince . . . and Rousseau, The Social Contract, Wollstonecraft, Vindication of the Rights of Women, Marx, Das Kapital, Freud, Dora.
LBCL 292 [and] 393 Modes of Expression and Interpretation I [and] II: A study of Western literary, religious, and philosophical traditions, involving the reading and interpretations of significant texts from antiquity to the mid-seventeenth century. Emphasis is placed on the development of writing skills and interpretative analysis. Primary texts may include Homer, The Odyssey, Plato, The Symposium, St. Augustine, The Confessions, Dante, The Divine Comedy, Racine, Phedre, and Diderot, Le neveu de Rameau, Stendhal, Le rouge et le noir, Goethe, Faust, Nietzsche, The Genealogy of Morals, and Baudelaire, Les fleurs du mal.
LBCL 294 [and] 394 History of Art and Music I [and] II: [These] course[s are] an integrated study of the nature of the visual arts and music, from antiquity to the mid seventeenth century [and] from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries. Artistic and musical expression is examined through chronological and thematic approaches, with attention paid to the relation between art, music, and society.
LBCL 490 The Twentieth Century: Forms, Themes, Critiques: This course emphasizes key issues in contemporary society and culture. Major twentieth-century texts and documents--philosophical, literary, political and artistic--as well as analytical material drawn from history and social sciences, are read. Primary sources my include de Beauvoir, The Second Sex, Joyce, Ulysses, Woolf, To the Lighthouse, Levi, Survival in Auschwitz.
LBCL 493 The Sciences and Society: This course emphasizes the nature of modern science, principally through its development across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Primary sources and texts may include Darwin, The Origin of the Species, and Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.
LBCL 497 Independent Research Tutorial: Students, under the supervision of College faculty, conduct research and write a major essay on a topic related to their previous or concurrent work in the College.