Works Recommended for Freshman Studies

The works on these lists were chosen for simple, practical reasons: they promised to excite both students and faculty, to stimulate good discussions, and to inspire challenging paper topics. The lists represent the major divisions of the Lawrence curriculum, including music and the fine arts; and the syllabus for Freshman Studies always features at least one work from each list.

Works from the fine arts

Works of visual art

  • Pieter Bruegel, Landscape with the Fall of Icarus (painting)
  • Marcel Duchamp, Fountain (sculpture)
  • Utagawa Hiroshige, Landscape prints (prints from LU collection)
  • Dorothea Lange, Migrant Mother (photograph)
  • Maya Lin, Vietnam Veterans Memorial (sculpture)
  • Édouard Manet, Olympia (painting)
  • Diego Velasquez, Maids of Honor (painting)

Plays

  • Aristophanes, Frogs
  • Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot
  • Bertolt Brecht, Life of Galileo
  • Sophocles, Oedipus the King
  • Henrik Ibsen, An Enemy of the People
  • Tony Kushner, Angels in America
  • William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 1; Midsummer Night's Dream; Othello; The Tempest

Films

  • Pedro Almodóvar, All About My Mother
  • Terry Gilliam, Brazil
  • Stanley Kubrick, Dr. Strangelove
  • Akira Kurosawa, Rashomon
  • Fritz Lang, M
  • Fernando Meirelles, City of God
  • Gillo Pontecorvo, The Battle of Algiers
  • Jean Renoir, The Grand Illusion

Special offerings

Each year, the Director of Freshman Studies should review the offerings planned by the Conservatory, Theatre Department, Wriston Gallery, and visiting theater companies to see if any of them might be appropriate for Freshman Studies.

This list was prepared by Lawrence's fine arts and film studies faculty, and revised in March of 2014. There are five divisional lists, and the syllabus for Freshman Studies must include at least one work from each of them.

Works from the humanities

  • The Arabian Nights
  • Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
  • J. L. Austin, How to Do Things with Words
  • Alison Bechdel, Fun Home
  • Elizabeth Bishop, The Complete Poems
  • The Bhagavad-Gita
  • Jorge Luis Borges, selected short stories
  • Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, The Response
  • Fyodor Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground
  • W. E. B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk
  • Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
  • Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano
  • Euripides, The Bacchae
  • Genesis
  • Carlo Ginzburg, The Cheese and the Worms
  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust, Part One
  • Jan Gross, Neighbors
  • David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
  • Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
  • Martin Luther King, Jr., selected writings*
  • J. M. G. Le Clézio, The African
  • Machiavelli, The Prince
  • Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto
  • Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping
  • Natasha Trethewey, Native Guard
  • Plato, The Republic
  • Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (1855 edition)
  • Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
  • Zhuangzi, Basic Writings

This list was prepared by Lawrence's humanities faculty and revised in March of 2015. There are five divisional lists, and the syllabus for Freshman Studies must include at least one work from each of them.

*To be taught as a collection: Address to the First Montgomery Improvement Association Mass Meeting (1955); Letter From Birmingham Jail (1963); I Have a Dream (1963); Address at the Conclusion of the Selma to Montgomery March (1965); Beyond Vietnam (1967); Where Do We Go From Here (1967); Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution (1968).

Works of music

  • J. S. Bach, A Musical Offering; St. Matthew Passion
  • Ludwig van Beethoven, Symphony #5; String Quartet, op. 59, #1
  • Alban Berg, Wozzeck
  • Johannes Brahms, Two Songs, op. 91
  • Benjamin Britten, Serenade
  • John Coltrane, Alabama
  • Miles Davis, Kind of Blue
  • Duke Ellington, Concerto for Cootie J
  • Joseph Haydn, The Creation
  • Olivier Messiaen, Quartet for the End of Time
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, The Marriage of Figaro; Symphony #41
  • Modest Mussorgsky, Pictures at an Exhibition
  • Giacomo Puccini, La Boheme
  • Franz Schubert, Die Winterreise
  • Igor Stravinsky, The Rite of Spring; A Soldier's Tale

Special offerings

The Director of Freshman Studies should hold an annual review with Conservatory faculty to explore plans for the following years' performances and determine if any of those offerings might be appropriate for Freshman Studies.

This list was prepared by Lawrence's music faculty and revised in March of 2007. There are five divisional lists, and the syllabus for Freshman Studies must include at least one work from each of them.

Works from the natural sciences and mathematics

  • Marcia Bjornerud, Reading the Rocks
  • Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species
  • Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene
  • Albert Einstein, Relativity: The Special and General Theory
  • Euclid, Elements
  • Richard Feynman, The Character of Physical Law
  • Galileo Galilei, Siderius Nuncius
  • Stephen Jay Gould, Bully for Brontosaurus; Time's Arrow, Time's Cycle
  • Roald Hoffmann, The Same and Not the Same
  • Aldo Leopold, Sand County Almanac
  • John McPhee, The Control of Nature
  • Matt Ridley, Nature via Nurture, aka The Agile Gene
  • Carl Sagan, Broca’s Brain
  • Jonathan Weiner, The Beak of the Finch
  • E. O. Wilson, Consilience
  • Proof that √2 is irrational

This list was prepared by Lawrence's science and math faculty and revised in February of 2007. There are five divisional lists, and the syllabus for Freshman Studies must include at least one work from each of them.

Works from the social sciences

  • Robert Axelrod, The Evolution of Cooperation
  • Robert N. Bellah, et al., Habits of the Heart
  • Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow
  • Alex Haley, The Autobiography of Malcolm X
  • Marvin Harris, Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches
  • Nancy Howell, Demography of the Dobe !Kung
  • Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, The Woman that Never Evolved
  • Jerome Kagan, Three Seductive Ideas
  • Immanuel Kant, Perpetual Peace
  • Albert Memmi, The Colonizer and the Colonized
  • John Stuart Mill, On Liberty
  • Mancur Olson, The Rise and Decline of Nations
  • Elinor Ostrom, Governing the Commons
  • Thomas Schelling, Strategy of Conflict
  • B. F. Skinner, Walden Two
  • William Graham Sumner, The Challenge of Facts
  • Cornel West, Race Matters
  • US Presidential speeches (e.g., Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, 1865; Woodrow Wilson’s ”The world must be made safe for democracy,” 1917; Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s First Inaugural Address, 1933; John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address, 1961; Ronald Reagan’s speech at the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, 1987, or others)
  • Civil rights speeches (e.g., Martin Luther King, Jr., "I have a dream," 1963; Booker T. Washington, Atlanta Exposition Speech, 1895; Elizabeth Cady Stanton, The Solitude of Self, address to Congressional Committee of the Judiciary, 1892; Frederick Douglass, What the Black Man Wants, 1865, or others)

These works, all taught previously, are also recommended:

  • The Federalist Papers (#10, 34, 35, 36, 43, 51, 63, 72, or others)
  • Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents
  • Stephen Jay Gould, The Mismeasure of Man
  • Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
  • Machiavelli, The Prince
  • Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto
  • Stanley Milgram, Obedience to Authority

This list was prepared by Lawrence's social science faculty and revised in March of 2010. There are five divisional lists, and the syllabus for Freshman Studies must include at least one work from each of them.

 

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