Fall 2005

Heritage of Western Culture 101
The Odyssey Imperative: Travel, Ethnic Interactions, Defining the Self


Course Syllabus

I: Homer's Odyssey

II: Vergil's Aeneid

III: Polo's Travels

IV: Columbus' Voyages


Teagle Ethnicity Website


This course examines the tradition of the travel narrative from ancient to early modern times. The focus will be on how travel to foreign places and meeting other peoples helps define the traveler and promotes an understanding of one's own culture, one's place in it, and other cultures. Of particular interest will be an examination of cultural self-definitions based on experiences with people of other ethnicities. We will also examine the creation of larger cultural stereotypes, such as "East" and "West", through encounters with peoples from the other cultures.

Heritage of Western Culture 101 courses cover "selected aspects of early western culture... with particular attention to critical issues in the study of cultural heritage before the modernb ear and the legacy of the early west." (Bulletin) The approach of the class is primarily literary and historical. Readings include contemporary theoretical essays on the construction of ethnic identities.

The left column provides links to the full course syllabus and the particular schedules for the four main units. Links are also provided for a bibliography of secondary literature useful for the course and for the Teagle Ethnicity website created by Ryan Balot, Washington University, St. Louis.

This course was developed as part of a project, "Re-thinking the Pedagogy of Ethnicity," directed by Professor Balot and supported by the Teagle Foundation. Additional support has been generously provided by the Cullen Fund for Teaching at Austin College.


Robert W. Cape, Jr., Director
     Johnson Center for Liberal Arts Teaching and Scholarship
Associate Professor of Classics
900 N. Grand, Suite 61653
Sherman, TX 75090-4400
phone: (903) 813-2241      fax: (903) 813-2011

Mail comments to rcape@austincollege.edu