We aim to teach a selection of Core texts in a meaningful and engaging way.
I am inspired by the idea that we are helping to form a sense of community between students and faculty by asking broad humanistic questions that link our present concerns with texts that demonstrate the way people have struggled with these same issues for thousands of years. The answers may swerve and contradict, but this simply demonstrates that truth is complicated and hard to come by.
The Core Books initiative allows us to come together as educators (across classrooms and campuses) to discuss ideas, pedagogical approaches, and best practices. Moreover, having common texts provides a rare opportunity for CUNY students to participate with a community of learners from other sections of the course, and, ultimately, even peers on other campuses.
The rewards of teaching the Core Books include: seeing students come alive with indignation or love for canonical ideas and characters; witnessing students appropriate and reshape the rhetorical moves made by these texts; and sharing with students the pride in being part of the conversations that these core works continue to inspire.