Course Number

CORE 152

Course Title

Challenges of Modenrity

Course Date

Spring 2017

Course Level



Monica MercadoFollow

Professor or Professors' Departmental/Program Affiliation

Monica Mercado, History

Document Type



Core Curriculum


All Colgate graduates complete Core 152, Challenges of Modernity, by the end of their sophomore year, one of four courses in the Liberal Arts Core Curriculum.

According to the Core 152 legislation, modernity has been used at times to describe a time period, a political project, a way of thinking, and an assortment of social, economic, and cultural changes that have introduced new problems and possibilities into human life. Within modernity, issues of identity, morality, and freedom have been critiqued in distinctive ways. People of different social classes, racial groups, ethnic backgrounds, genders and sexual identities have contributed to an increasingly rich and varied public discourse. The human psyche has been problematized, and the dynamic character of the world, both natural and social, has been explored. Imperialism has had a complex and lasting impact on the entire globe. Urbanization and technological development have transformed the patterns of everyday life. The human capability to ameliorate social and physical ills has increased exponentially, and yet so has the human capacity for mass destruction and exploitation.

In my section of Core 152, students will think broadly and critically about these issues and the world we inhabit, understanding our contemporary concerns through the lens of some of the most important conversations of the last two centuries. We will contemplate, and talk, and pose questions together, learning to read—and re-read—difficult texts to respond to them, and to write with, about, and through them. We will imagine the texts of modernity not simply the page that was/is read, but also consider political speeches, painting and photography, performance (including live music and dance), film, and poetry. The course will meet three times a week and much of this time will be spent in discussion.


The syllabus may not be applicable to the current semester. Be sure to verify content with the professor(s) listed in the document.