Civilization School

1. Goals and contents of the program
 
The Civilization School is one of the Institute of Humanities’ social outreach programs.
The aim of this program is to have the humanities contribute to society through communication with the general public.

The program is a joint effort by the Institute and St. Francis Academy, an educational institution under the Anglican Church of Korea’s Rehabilitation Support Center for the Homeless. Courses are planned by the two institutions together, Rehabilitation Support Center providing funds and administration and the Institute providing lecturers and lecture curricula.

Rehabilitation Support Center is a private organization established to provide systematic aid for the flood of homeless people that appeared after the 1998 IMF economic crisis in Korea. It aims to strengthen basic aid programs such as providing meals, and also works to build a more stable support system and to develop models of self-support for the homeless.
The Center launched the Humanities course in St. Francis Academy in September 2005.
The Humanities Course of St. Francis Academy takes as its theoretical model the successful case of the Clemente Course in the Humanities, an institution first launched by Earl Shorris in the U.S. and now holding more than 50 lectures across four continents, and also Shorris’ book, Riches for the Poor. With the Center’s actual experience in relief activities for the homeless in Korea as practical groundwork, the course aims to take root as a “Korean Clemente Course”.

Until 2008, we opened only regular programs for the homeless, but from 2009 onwards the teaching force, made up mainly of our Institute’s HK researchers, have been providing additional intensive lectures for the lifelong education of students who have completed the course.
The Civilization School lectures, launched with the goal of introducing a community-serving humanities, has been popular among the coursetakers, and has received positive media attention as a model case for the humanities to contribute to social communication.
 
2. Course theme
 
The board theme of the course is “Civilization and Ethics”. This is an amalgam of the Institute of Humanities’ HK Civilization Research Project agenda and the educational aims of St. Francis Academy. The theme brings together the best of the HK Project, the scope of which covers all of the world’s civilizations, and the inspiration behind the work of St. Francis Academy. The aim of the courses is to give the students a chance to consider themselves within the larger history of human civilization and to broaden their perspective on human life, through a presentation of the lifestyles and ethics of various civilizations from ancient to modern times.
 
3. Course schedules and location
 
The course consists of 10 lectures for each semester (2 hours a week, two semesters per academic year), totaling 40 hours for a year. The lectures are from 7 to 9pm every Monday, at the St. Francis Academy building in Yongsan-gu, Seoul. Each year, the students are invited to visit the Institute of Humanities at SNU to participate in lectures and a dining event.