Education Programs: Enduring Questions: Pilot Course Grants

Period of Performance

6/1/2010 - 5/31/2012

Funding Totals

$24,808.00 (approved)
$24,808.00 (awarded)

NEH Enduring Questions Course on "What is Love?"

FAIN: AQ-50234-10

Ursinus College (Collegeville, PA 19426-2509)
Jonathan D. Marks (Project Director: September 2009 to April 2014)

The development of an upper-level undergraduate course on the nature of love in works by Augustine, Shakespeare, Rousseau, Austen, Freud, and Darwin.

This course treats a question that cuts across the humanities disciplines - namely, 'what is love?" It contributes to our investigation of that question by drawing on multiple disciplines and by exploring what humanists can learn from non-humanists, including natural and social scientists, about love. Students will seek to develop a provisional understanding of love by considering these questions, among others: Is love an expansive feeling that one self-sufficient person feels for another, or is it a need that drives an incomplete person to seek someone to make him whole? Is love reasonable, so that we can inquire into whom we should love, or is it fundamentally mysterious and spontaneous, offering itself only to people who know reason's limits? Is loving another human being the ultimate end, or is it part of a bigger pursuit, of communion with God, or of happiness, or of immortality? Readings will include Plato's Symposium, Austen's Pride and Prejudice and Freud's Three Essays.