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Grant number like: AQ-50514-11

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Cleveland State University (Cleveland, OH 44115-2214)
Sonya Marie Charles (Project Director: September 2010 to September 2014)

Enduring Questions: Pilot Course Grants
Education Programs

$24,778 (approved)
$24,778 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2011 – 12/31/2012

NEH Enduring Questions Course on "What Would an Ideal Society Look Like?"

The development of an undergraduate course that asks what an ideal society would look like.

This course asks: What would an ideal society look like? We will begin with some philosophical works that consider how society should be structured based on human nature. We will follow these with a series of utopian and dystopian novels. Our class discussions will take two main tracks. First, how is this work a response to the social problems of the day? Second, according to this vision, what are the most important human needs or desires? By studying works that range from Ancient Greece (Plato) to modern United States (Octavia Butler), we can see which themes transcend time and place. We will end this course with a short look at attempts to create utopias in real life. I believe this course has great potential to foster intellectual community at CSU. I teach at an urban university where the students are very career-oriented. I hope this course invites students to take time to think beyond the economic incentives for obtaining a college degree to consider what else we need to be happy.