JMC’s partner program, the Center for American Studies at Columbia, received national news coverage for its Freedom and Citizenship Program. Learn about the program and its impact below.
Setting A Foundation In The Classics For High School Students
By Kirk Carapezza
Outside on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, the summer sun beat down on the Columbia University campus. Inside a small seminar room, 15 high school students – all immigrants or the sons and daughters of immigrants – discussed for two hours the meaning of equality and the nature of man.
“How many of you had heard of Hobbes?” asked American Studies Professor Roosevelt Montás.
“The cartoon?” a student responded.
“No, no, no – not of Calvin and Hobbes!” Montás said.
On this day, the students read and then debated the work of British philosopher Thomas Hobbes.
“Hobbes is the first thinker who tries to imagine a society – a political organization – assuming equality rather than inequality among people,” Montás explained.
About the Center for American Studies
The Center for American Studies is directed by JMC faculty partner Casey N. Blake. The Center offers students the opportunity to explore the experiences and values of the people of the United States as embodied in their history, literature, politics, art, and other enduring forms of cultural expression.
American Studies takes advantage of its location in New York by involving students with the life of the city, working with community service organizations such as the Roger Lehecka Double Discovery Center, and by inviting leading figures on the New York political and cultural scene to participate in colloquia, public conferences, and classroom activities. The center seeks to prepare students to confront with historical awareness the pressing problems that face our society. Its alumni have pursued careers in teaching, journalism, law, the arts, museum fields, and other professions.
“American Studies offers an interdisciplinary, seminar-based curriculum designed to be open and flexible while preparing students for a life of active citizenship.”
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