General Purpose

The Center for Western Civilization will seek to encourage critical reflection on the distinctive traditions, languages and issues that characterize the cultures of Western civilization, in order to help the citizens of Colorado and the United States understand and appreciate their past in itself and as the basis of a free and creative future.
The study of Western Civilization covers many subjects and many ages, including all the fields that study or are influenced by the history, culture and languages of most of the traditional areas of the Humane, Physical and Social Sciences. These include, but are not limited to:
  • Greek and Latin languages and cultures
  • Science
  • History
  • Literature
  • Arts
  • Philosophy
  • Law and government in their ancient, medieval and modern forms

American civilization is part of a continuum of past, present and future and can be best appreciated by those who seek to understand the lively interactions of past, present and future.

The Center sponsors faculty and student research on topics related to the history of Western civilization. It aims to promote the university's already strong contributions in these areas, and to provide the resources for the university to become even more active in pursuing such research. Calls for proposals will be made annually.


Education and Outreach

An important aspect of the work of the Center will be outreach beyond the University of Colorado, Boulder. There is an audience among the citizens of Colorado and the United States for programs within the Center's venue. Evidence for this statement can be found in the best seller status of translations of ancient and medieval literature, e.g. Robert Fagles' Homer and Seamus Heaney's Beowulf, and the presence in popular culture of Greek themes in modern film, e.g. Homer's Odyssey in the Coen Brother's "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?" and Plato's Cave in the Matrix series as well as the Latin used so significantly in "Braveheart," "Tombstone," and the Harry Potter books and movies, to name just a few. Signs that the Center will find a receptive audience among K-12 educators, students and their parents include the return of Latin to public and private schools and among home schoolers as well as the national interest among parents and educators in Classical Education (founded on the classical and medieval trivium of grammar, logic and rhetoric).

The Center will place a priority on curriculum development at all levels. The certificate program aims to guide students who want a rigorous grounding in Western culture through the cornucopia of the CU catalogue and help them to understand the cultural basis of their future careers in the professions and business, but also as citizens in a nation founded on the ancient ideals of consensual rule and republican government.