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Seton Hall University

College of Human Development, Culture, and Media Core Courses

CORE 3130 (ARTH 3101)
The Art of Saint Peter's
3 credits

The course explores the physical fabric and artistic embellishment of Saint Peter's and the Vatican from early Christian times through the twentieth century as a way of assessing the development of Catholicism's distinctive and powerful visual language. Among the topics to be considered: the transformation of the legacy of classical antiquity into one of the first Christian basilicas at Old Saint Peter's; Michelangelo's Sistine Ceiling, and the Vatican within the urban context of Rome as the capital of modern Italy.

CORE 3131 (MUHI 3131)
Music and Theology: Historical Debates within the Catholic Church
3 credits

The change in sacred music over several centuries (c. 750-1750) prompted debates within the Catholic Church as to the identity of religious music. Traditionalists often felt that the importance of sacred music was related to its devotional characteristics – that is, that sacred music should be a form of sung prayer. Others thought it to be a religious art form that could become increasingly complex. Traditionalists objected to the latter definition by believing that this diluted the original intent of the music. Many of these disputes over changes with regard to sacred music paralleled theological and social disagreements within the church over the mission of Catholicism. The Counter-Reformation, for example, was, in part, a discussion about developments in sacred music that paralleled many social and theological practices that many within the church felt needed reform. This class will discuss these ideas and developments within the church in relationship to music as well as theology.

CORE 3320 (COMM 3101)
Propaganda, Religion, & War
3 credits

The course entails a political, historical, and ethical exploration of discursive and visual propaganda. As a form of mass persuasion, propaganda has long been a vital constituent of both religious discourse and the rhetoric of warfare. The course begins with an examination of the emergence of propaganda as a strategic concept in the 17th century Vatican's response to the Protestant Reformation. It then combines analytical and ethical perspectives on propaganda with a detailed examination of propaganda-like practices throughout history. Such perspectives enable an ethical evaluation of war-related propaganda efforts, such as those enacted by governments in World War I and World War II, as well as more recent propaganda relating to the 9/11 attacks and to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ultimately, students will be able to assess propaganda as a political practice, with an emphasis on communication ethics.

CORE 3321
Great Contemporary English and American Literary Apologists
3 credits

Excerpts of readings from the works of John Henry Cardinal Newman, G. K. Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, Ronald Knox, Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, and C. S. Lewis will be examined in order to inform a dialogue conducted among students and professor regarding the arguments of each writer. Two measurements will be kept in mind. First, Apologetics is defined as “the affirmation that it is not irrational to believe.” Second, the criteria for evaluating the effective communication of each of the writer’s arguments will be measured against Aristotle’s theory of civic discourse, On Rhetoric.

CORE 3322 (COTH 3628)
The Religious Experience on Stage
3 credits

An examination of religious traditions, values and beliefs as expressed through theatrical performance. The course centers on examining aesthetic texts and using performance as a method of inquiry.

CORE 3324 (COTR 3642)
The Irish Stage
3 credits

In theatres throughout Ireland, the Irish stage presents the collective voice of Irish Catholic playwrights. Steeped in myth, ritual, and history, these authors used their plays to examine the rich texture of life woven together by faith, politics, family, and community and, by whose intersection, results in conflicts and choices that reflect a deeper, transcendent meaning. Through the readings of Thomas Merton and examples of ritualistic theatre found in the Bible, the course builds on the lessons of CORE I and II to explore further Catholic principles and intellectual Catholic tradition expressed by themes found in Irish drama. As a CORE III course, students will read Irish plays, view their performance and discuss the common themes of belief, choices and the flaws of motivated reasoning that form biases in poor decisions versus transcendent ones that are the foundation of Irish drama.

CORE 3880 (CPSY 3300)
Institutional Imperatives and Globalization: Competing Influences of Schools, Religion, Government and Media in Shaping and Changing Society
3 credits

In the United States, public schools have relatively recently been viewed as secular, with a heightened sensitivity to church/state separation. This secularization process may also be evident in both government and media. However, there never has been a complete separation given that most administrators, teachers, and students come from a Judeo-Christian background and their belief systems permeate every aspect of the schools’ social justice environment. The aim of the course is to explore the tensions that arise in these areas by means of a comparison between the US and the institutions of another society. Students will come to appreciate the impact of history on current political, educational and social policy as well as the influence of geography and geo-politics on social/cultural/religious development. This course involves travel.

CORE 3881 (CPSY 3105)
Leadership through Service Learning
3 credits

This course responds to contemporary calls for the development of more informed and civic minded citizenry. Themes (human dignity, economic justice) from documents (U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Letters, Papal Encyclicals, Councils, Biblical text) related to Catholic Social Teaching (CST) and from other religions will inform and illuminate the purposes and activities of this course as will readings from education concerning caring and social justice. Exploring principles, theoretical and social, that provide the basis for service to others, in discussions and writings, students will consider broad questions that have consequences for real people. Differing perspectives on purposes of and strategies for service will be discussed as well as service learning role models. Throughout the course, students will discuss and experience service as a social action designed to improve a situation in a setting or community by identifying, discussing, analyzing and acting on needs at a local site.