Trinity College’s Humanities Gateway Program engages outstanding students in the interdisciplinary study of key themes and problems in human society. Students take a sequence of four seminars (over the course of the first year) that focus on a specified theme, with a focus on the ways in which history and literature, as well as religious and philosophical ideas, can help us engage with these issues.
The program builds upon the premise that the skills most highly valued in students who study the liberal arts – their strong writing skills and facility for verbal communication, as well as their capacity to think critically and synthesize complex ideas – are best developed from the outset of a student’s career, and in small seminar settings that encourage engagement with texts and traditions that grapple with defining facets of human experience.
The Thematic Focus for 2021-2022 will be Gender and Identity.
The two fall courses will focus on the contributions of women to the Western philosophical tradition and their role in ancient Greek and Roman stories about the Trojan War. Both seminars will explore the critical perspectives opened up by a turn to the feminine in regard to foundational philosophical ideas and narratives in the Western tradition.
The two spring courses will examine the ways in which the Qur’an and the European Enlightenment have shaped ideas about identity and gender beyond the traditional boundaries of the Anglo-European and Muslim cultural contexts. At stake will be an exploration of the tension between faith and reason, and how this tension is taken up in differing cultural contexts.
Over the course of these two intensive semesters, students will reflect upon how their conceptions of gender and identity have come into being – and how powerfully these conceptions have influenced the broader context of intellectual, religious and cultural history.