Western Civilization: An Introduction through the Great Books

James Hartley, Mount Holyoke College

  • Date Mar 29, 2015
  • Venue The Agora Institute
    Fowler Hall
    Eastern University
    1300 Eagle Road
    Saint Davids, PA 19087

James Hartley is the author of The Representative Agent in Macroeconomics (Routledge, 1997) and the coeditor, with Kevin D. Hoover and Kevin D. Salyer, of Real Business Cycles: A Reader(Routledge, 1998). He also edited Mary Lyon: Documents and Writings (Doorlight Publications, 2008).

While Hartley describes himself as an "economist to the core," he developed a class, The Great Books and Economics, to attract nonmajors to the field of economics at Mount Holyoke College. The class features in-class lectures on introductory economic theory, and all the reading material is drawn from the "Great Books" of Western civilization.

Hartley also teaches Macroeconomic Theory, Current Macroeconomic Policies, Seminar in Money and Banking, and Western Civilization: An Introduction through the Great Books. This yearlong first-year seminar begins with works emerging from Athens and Jerusalem and proceeds to the modern world. The course explores the ideas that constitute Western civilization, including interdisciplinary materials from such authors as Shakespeare, Plato, Dante, Einstein, Augustine, Darwin, Homer, Locke, Goethe, Eliot, and the writers of the Old and New Testaments.

He will be lecturing on the Great Books, the Western Tradition, and Economics as well as leading a reading group with the Agora Fellows.