Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Why Can't We Teach Courses Like This?

Here is a course that students will take this  spring at Skidmore College:

HF200 001   Romanesque and Gothic/The Game of Kings: Chess in the

Middle Ages, is a 1-credit Honors add-on to AH233, taught by Jennifer Courts:

In the late medieval world, chess was more than game, it was an allegory for

diverse facets of society, including war, politics, and love.  All of social

interaction could be temporarily played out over a game of chess, and while

the actual performances were ephemeral, evidence of these lost games survive

 in literature as well as in the material playing field: chess pieces and game

 boards.  This Honors course explores the Islamic origins and varied social

functions of medieval chess through a combination of reading and viewing

primary materials, as well as a critical investigation of modern scholarship on

chess in the later Middle Ages.  Incorporated within this course is a student

bus trip to the Cloisters to view the Lewis Chessmen, on loan from the British

Museum for a special limited exhibition.  In addition to writing short

 responses to articles discussed in class, students will collaborate on producing

their own chess manuscript, an illustrated compendium of the origins and

assorted meanings of the individual chess pieces.

This is a course in leadership anad social interaction--perfect of law students. By  the way, one of my friends teaches a course to civil engineers and  includes as texts Machiavelli's "The Prince" and Sun Tzu's "The Art of  War."

(ljs)  Thnx to Kathy Sirico

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