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Our Mission

Great Works Symposium 2015-16: Comedy

The Great Works Symposium is an interdisciplinary, research, and writing-intensive course series exploring subjects of the broadest possible interest and greatest societal impact. Through intensive examination of a different major theme every year, it brings Drexel University students, teachers, and visiting expert lecturers into collaboration. The Great Works Symposium strives to avoid the "textbook approach," with an emphasis on developing in students the active skills of interdisciplinary inquiry: reading, writing, critical thinking, methodological creativity, and argument. Four new courses are offered each year, designed to elaborate different dimensions of the theme. Through these courses, students are encouraged to see the University as an interconnected enterprise, and to imagine the University as one part of a larger spectrum of scholars in the communities of the city, the nation, and the world.

Recent themes have included: The City, Energy, Democracy, Health and Society, and the Frontiers of Science.

Have questions, comments, or suggestions? Good, because the Great Works Symposium is designed to raise both curiosity and opinions. We want to know what you think of the programs we put on and the ideas they raise. Are there topics you would like to see or speakers you think pertinent? Then let us know, and help contribute to the community of knowledge we are creating.

2015-16 Theme: Comedy

Over the next academic year, the Great Works Symposium will examine “Comedy” in its historical, cultural, and scientific contexts. Drawing on the expertise of scholars from a wide range of disciplines and performers (both active and retired), students will explore how comedy is situated at in the boundary areas between cultural groups, social generations; and racial, national, gender and many other categories. Comedy is for some a science, thus methods from psychology, sociology, anthropology and when viable the ‘hard sciences’ will be employed to study it. Since performance is central to comedy, it will be so throughout the year’s courses.