In the Humanities Division, you'll ask the big questions. What is the nature of ultimate reality? What is the meaning of human existence? What is our role in the world? How have other people past and present addressed these questions?
Why and why did things happen the way they did? Could history have taken a different course? Can things be different in the future?
The Division of Humanities, which includes the study of Religion, Philosophy and History, encourages students to explore the very basic questions underlying the human experience. Whether it is in interpreting the Biblical traditions in relation to their Ancient context, or reflecting on the metaphysical musings of Enlightenment philosophers, or examining the great social and political struggles at the heart of Colonial India, the Humanities Division at Maryville College provides a rich intellectual space to explore a world of faiths, ideas, and historical traditions.
Comparative Philosophy (PHL 348): “By showing that there are many more valuable and legitimate approaches to trying to answer the 'big questions' than I had previously realized, comparative philosophy opened my eyes to the importance of studying the philosophical traditions of cultures outside one's own,” alumnus Austin Newsome ’09.
Latin American History (HIS 334): Taught by Dr. Doug Sofer, associate professor of history, this survey of Latin American History is related to his professional specialty and is therefore one of his favorite courses to teach. “Students are usually surprised,” Sofer notes,”to learn how diverse and complex this region of the world is.”
Medieval Love (HIS 342): Not every professor is ready to embrace the topic of love, and its many complexities, with her students, but Dr. Nancy Locklin-Sofer, associate professor of history and Chair of the Maryville Curriculum, developed a course to do just that. With Locklin-Sofer, students explored the courtly love tradition, friendship, marriage, and mystical religious experience as it was described by Europeans of the thirteenth century.
Dr. Andrew Irvine (Religion & Philosophy) recently published an article, “Liberation Theology as a Postcolonial Critique of Theological Reason: An Examination of Early Writings of Gustavo Gutiérrez,” Australian Religious Studies Review 25.2 (2012), 139-162.
Dr. Aaron Astor (History) continues to receive accolades for his 2012 book, Rebels on the Border: Civil War, Emancipation, and the Reconstruction of Kentucky and Missouri. Historian Michael Fellman writes: "In this clearly and forcefully written study, employing meticulous research skills, Aaron Astor reconstructs an utterly realistic panorama of the era of the Civil War in the border states of Kentucky and Missouri. Far from a romantic portrait of racial progress, what emerges is a sobering account of the sustaining force of a white supremacist nation whose long-term effects still corrode American society.''
Teaching Religion and Violence (Oxford University Press, 2012).
Dr. Nancy Locklin-Sofer (History) had two short pieces come out this year: "'Til death parts us’: Women’s Domestic Partnerships in Eighteenth-Century Brittany,” Winter 2011 (volume 23, issue 4) Journal of Women’s History; and "Women and Gift-giving in Eighteenth-century Brittany: Wills and Donations”, Rollo-Koster, J. and Reyerson, K. L. (eds.)."For the Salvation of my Soul": Women and Wills in Medieval and Early Modern France. (St. Andrews Studies in French History and Culture, 2012).
Dr. Doug Sofer (History) recently