Welcome to Transformative Texts & Ideas at East Carolina University!

Transformative Texts & Ideas (formerly known as “Great Books”) is a comparative humanities major and minor. We study literatures in many languages and from many cultures, history, philosophy, political science, psychology, anthropology, sociology, and the sciences (biology, physics, and more) from a Humanities point of view. What does this mean?

It means that if you have multiple interests, if you are interested in ideas, this course of study will allow you to connect them in your studies and help you consider what sort of profession will allow you to do so in the future.

In Transformative Texts & Ideas classes…

You will learn that the best way to attain knowledge (and not just information or training) is to read and discuss original texts in a community of readers. Reading Plato teaches that the mind acquires the most meaningful lessons by engaging in active dialogue with a skilled questioner; at ECU, we enact this principle by offering small, multidisciplinary seminars on key ideas or movements led by knowledgeable professors.

You will learn to read, think, argue, and write analytically on such questions as what is the nature of love and hate, solidarity and prejudice? What does it mean to be part of a community? What does it mean to be human? What makes an institution or civilization ethical or unethical? What makes a culture democratic?
You will consider qualities of human and nonhuman nature, the relationships between them, and the ideas that literature, history, philosophy, and the sciences present about human behavior and forms of inquiry, society, economy, technology and ecology.

As a graduate of this program, you may go on to become a lawyer or physician, an educator or an educational reformer, a journalist or editor, a philosopher or academic, a public servant or political leader.

Read what some graduates of the program have to say.

Transformative Texts and Ideas is a minor offered through the Harriot College of Arts & Sciences Multidisciplinary Studies degree program. One or more seminars is offered each semester on topics across various fields of study, which aim to foster the arts of close reading, lucid writing, and liberal discourse, taught by faculty drawn from across the college of arts & sciences.

Get acquainted with Transformative Texts & Ideas