Mosaic Area Goals

In these small discussion-based classes, students will be guided through a thematic approach to primary texts from great world cultural and intellectual traditions. Themes such as “journeys,” or “faith” or “money” are the basis for reading and understanding a set of important texts from different time periods and different cultures. For example, as students explore the theme of “power,” they will start with Homer’s Iliad and the Declaration of Independence. Expanding on this theme, they will read 18th century political philosopher John Locke and 20th century American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., while weaving in important texts from China and the Middle East. As students interrogate the theme of “power,” they will be making connections across different time periods, cultures, and types of writing.

The Mosaic sequence will be enhanced by the addition of “texts” from great world musical, artistic and architectural traditions, allowing students to grapple with important themes in a richer multidisciplinary and multicultural fashion.

Mosaic courses build upon the communication and critical thinking skills students developed in the Analytic Reading & Writing course, particularly the ability to make connections and arguments across different texts. That is why it is so important to take the ARW course before taking Mosaic.

Upon completion of the Mosaic sequence, students will be able to:

  • Read in its entirety an unfamiliar and problematic written text (theoretically, historically, or culturally challenging);
  • Recognize abstractions, large ideas, and implications associated with difficult written texts;
  • Make connections across disciplines, history and cultural boundaries;
  • Construct positions, arguments, and interpretations through textual analysis and evaluation; and
  • Produce thoughtful writing that reflects persuasive position and the conventions of academic discourse.


Mosaic I

Students investigate the nature of the individual in human society as illuminated by philosophical, psychological, religious, and political texts in dialogue with examples from art and literature. Themes: journeys, self & others, community, faith.

Mosaic II

Students continue to work with texts across cultures, histories and disciplines, extending their investigation of human society to the cosmos, and moving from in-depth textual analysis to broader considerations of scientific discourse, philosophy and ethics. Themes: science, power, money, environment/city.