Enduring Questions

Ibtesam âl-Atiyat, Holland Hall 507


An integrated sequence of five courses taken over two years, Enduring Questions: Texts and Conversations introduces students to literature, philosophy, history, the arts, and religious studies through direct encounters with significant works. Beginning with the ancient Greeks and the Hebrew Bible, the program traces the development of literary and artistic expression, philosophy, religious belief, and historical reflection through the centuries, extending into the modern world. Students respond to great works, challenging the ideas expressed in them and challenging their own ideas as well, thus joining a conversation through the ages about the perennial issues of human life. These issues include freedom, beauty, suffering, happiness, what it means to be human, what constitutes a good society, and the relation between the human and the divine.

Enduring Questions is open to students of all interests. This program appeals to those who like to read, discuss, and write about ideas; those who believe that learning about the past is profoundly relevant to understanding the present and those who believe that an education ought to cultivate critical minds, inquisitive spirits, and moral sensitivity.

The faculty members who teach an Enduring Questions cohort remain with the students through the courses in the standard sequence (QUEST 113-218), as fellow participants in the conversation. Students in Enduring Questions live in the same residence hall their first year and enjoy eating meals together, attending films and theater, and going on field trips throughout the program.

Students who complete the sequence can apply to participate in QUEST 280 What is Europe? The Grand Tour, National Museums, & European Identity, a January term course that travels to Europe (usually England, France, and Italy) in alternating years.


Intended Learning Outcomes for the Program

Admission to the Program

Students are invited to apply to the Enduring Questions program after they are admitted to the college. Selection is based on an essay whose topic is announced in the application form.