Humanities and Social Sciences

Professor Harris and Adjuncts

The communications courses are designed to meet the needs of students in the professional and cultural uses of the English language in writing and speaking. The courses in the humanities are designed to acquaint the students principally with the heritage of Western Civilization.

Webb’s proximity to the prestigious cultural institutions in New York City permits academic field trips to be arranged to supplement classroom instruction in the humanities and social sciences.

Freshman Year

          TECHNICAL COMMUNICATION

Instruction and practice in oral, written, and graphical communication: oral and written reports, letters, summaries, graphs, and figures. Exercises prepared in conjunction with courses in introductory naval architecture and other courses. Two hours per week in the first semester.

          POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY

A historical and philosophical analysis of the major political theorists of the Western Tradition beginning with the birth of philosophy among the ancient Greeks.  Major thinkers treated in this course include Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Burke, et al.  Some of the key themes considered include theory of human nature, the concepts of law, justice and authority, the idea of the “good” state, and the notion of human happiness as it relates to the socio-political environment.  Three hours per week in the second semester.

Sophomore Year

          THE WESTERN CULTURAL TRADITION - I

The first in a two-course sequence in the history of ideas. This interdisciplinary course traces the development of the Classical and Romantic world views through examination of literature, painting, sculpture, music, and architecture. Through this course students will become familiar with some of the major writers and artists and with some of the great works of western cultural achievement through the nineteenth century. Several required field trips. Three hours per week in the first semester.

          THE WESTERN CULTURAL TRADITION - II

The second course in a two-course sequence in the history of ideas.  This interdisciplinary course traces a number of developments that inform “Modernism” (the notion of modernité) through examination of literature, painting, music, architecture, and film.  Through this course students will become familiar with some of the major writers, artists, and ideas of the late-nineteenth and the twentieth centuries. Several required field trips.  Two hours in the second semester.

Junior Year

          HUMANITIES/SOCIAL SCIENCES ELECTIVE

Students are allowed to choose a course from a list of classes in the humanities and social sciences.  Courses will be taught by both full-time Webb faculty and by adjunct faculty who are experts in particular subject areas.  Three hours per week in the first semester.

          DEVELOPMENT OF AMERICAN GOVERNMENT

An examination of the development of the American national government from the mid-eighteenth century to the 1950s.  Emphasis will be on how enduring values combined with changed circumstances to produce new roles for the national government.  Two hours per week in the second semester.

Senior Year

          ETHICS AND THE PROFESSION         

This course explores some of the most influential ethical systems in the tradition of moral philosophy. The examination of these works is accompanied by class discussions that examine the practical application of these systems in the business of everyday life.  Class discussions depart from the two crucial questions that form the basis of all moral inquiry: How should a person live?  What do we owe to others? These questions are explored through a variety of mediums, including abstract philosophy, literature, film, scientific articles, and specific case studies drawn from the field of science and engineering.  Three hours per week in the first semester.

          PROFESSIONAL PRESENTATION

Instruction and practice in public presentations of a professional nature in naval architecture and marine engineering: organizing material, speaking effectively, and presenting visuals. Class is divided into small groups to give each student maximum opportunity for practice and improvement.  Two hours per week in the second semester.