Socrates said that the unexamined life is not worth living. Imagine joining in a discussion with him – and some of the world’s other greatest minds – to explore truth, beauty, justice, and more. At Austin College, such conversations happen every day in Western Intellectual Tradition courses.
What you will learn
Meet the Faculty
- Tom Blake (Director of WIT, English) teaches medieval European literature, including Chaucer and Chretien de Troyes. His research focuses on medieval race, gender studies, and thing theory in late medieval romance.
- Bob Cape (Classics) teaches Latin, Greek, and ancient history, with special interests in Latin prose, rhetoric, women in antiquity, and Roman social and intellectual history.
- Daniel Dominick (Music) never ceases to be amazed that writers in the past were dealing with issues that seem current and applicable to today.
- Karánn Durland (Philosophy) enjoys thinking about the great ideas of some pretty great dead philosophers, especially David Hume and other luminaries of the 17th and 18th centuries.
- Kirk Everist (Theatre) explores the past through production, directing plays from Aeschylus to Moliere, and has been known to improvise like the Elizabethans.
- Jeff Fontana (Art History) teaches courses in ancient, medieval, renaissance, and early modern art. He is particularly interested in Federico Barocci and 16th-century drawing and painting, and artistic responses to the Italian Renaissance in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
- Alex Garganigo (English) teaches early modern British literature, including Shakespeare and Milton. His research focuses on the intersection of literature and politics after the English Civil War and Restoration.
- Max Grober (History) studies the history of ideas from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment. He also teaches history of science courses on such topics as Galileo, European Environmental History, and the History of Medicine.
- Mark Hébert (Philosophy) teaches Ancient and Medieval Philosophy.
- Martin Wells (Classics) teaches Latin, Greek, classical mythology, and ancient civilization. His research interests include archaeology, Hellenistic and Roman Asia Minor, and Greek and Roman Art and Architecture.
“For knowledge is not given as gift, but through study. The free mind, not afraid of labor, presses on to attain the good.” – Laura Cereta, EPISTOLAE
“To apply oneself to great inventions, starting from the smallest beginnings, is no task for ordinary minds; to divine that wonderful arts lie hid behind trivial and childish things is a conception for superhuman talents.” – Galileo, DIALOGUE CONCERNING THE TWO CHIEF WORLD SYSTEMS
“There is no wish more natural than the wish to know.” – Montaigne, ESSAYS
“I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue, unexercised and unbreathed, that never sallies out and sees her adversary, but slinks out of the race where that immortal garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat.” — Milton, AREOPAGITICA
“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” — Letter from Sir Isaac Newton to Robert Hooke
“To have beauty is to have only that, but to have goodness is to be beautiful too.” – Sappho
“The excellence of things is in the middle.” – Mandeville on Aristotle in THE TRAVELS OF SIR JOHN MANDEVILLE
“Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper.” – Bacon, APOPHTHEGMS
“No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting.” – Mary Wortley Montagu, LETTERS
“It is not strength, but art, obtains the prize, And to be swift is less than to be wise.” – Homer, THE ILIAD
“True nobility consists in virtue.” – Dorotea in Cervantes, DON QUIXOTE
“And as imagination bodies forth the forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing a local habitation and a name.” – Theseus in Shakespeare, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM V.i.12
“Wisdom is the conqueror of fortune.” – Juvenal, SATIRES, XIII. 20.
“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.” — Milton, PARADISE LOST
“But professional musicians we speak of as vulgar people, and indeed we think it not manly to perform music, except when drunk or for fun.” – Aristotle, POLITICS