Ways of Knowing (HUM 250/STC 250)
Upon entering Princeton, each freshman assumes a bewildering array of tasks. In one week, a student might study fruit flies to better understand genetic development; scrutinize a passage from Toni Morrison's Beloved to grapple with the history of race in American culture; and write an essay that investigates the relationship between religion and illness in Chinese thought. While these tasks may seem radically different, they have one thing in common: each is part of an academic discipline (Biology, English, and Anthropology, respectively) with its own way of knowing - that is, its own distinctive way of seeing and understanding the world. Princeton has 35 different departments, and deciphering their assumptions about how academic work should be done can be as overwhelming as it is exciting.
Ways of Knowing (WOK) immerses students in a virtual freshman year at Princeton, offering week-long courses in philosophy, art history, sociology, anthropology, biology, and history. We peek behind the curtain of academic thought, looking at how knowledge is created in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences. In small meetings with Seminar Leaders students discuss classic works and practice each discipline's methods. Once a week, all seminars gather for a colloquium with a Princeton scholar or scientist who reflects about his or her current work in relation to the discipline as a whole. In addition to seminar and colloquium, students meet in individual conferences with their Seminar Leaders, go to dinner with colloquium speakers, and conduct research in the museum and the library. The course culminates in a research paper in which students draw on the methods of at least two academic disciplines or scientific fields to solve an important problem. Fulfills the Epistemology and Cognition (EC) distribution requirement.