Spring 2019: Progress: An Interdisciplinary Reflection


Instructor: Pablo Palomino, Assistant Professor, Humanities, Oxford College

What does “Progress” mean? What is the history behind this concept? How do Emory scholars approach this concept? And how does it work (or not) in Atlanta? This course interrogates the multidisciplinary use of “progress”—one of the main philosophical ideals of modernity, and the basis of political constitutions, scientific paradigms, and even the modern university. Modern “Progress” has two faces—one optimistic, looking at Silicon Valley techno-utopias; the other grim, looking at socioeconomic inequality and the global environmental crisis. What other narratives of progress are possible? 

The course includes a Roundtable and a Teach-Out (a virtual forum developed by the University of Michigan), through which we will share these conversations with a larger online—potentially global—audience. The goal is to interrogate Atlanta’s ongoing urban transformation and to interrogate its “progress” from the perspective of its history, memory, and current projects towards the future.

The CFDE initiated the University Courses in 2011 to encourage a multidisciplinary examination of issues and topics by faculty and students from across the university. The goals of University Courses are to focus the many intellectual perspectives and resources of Emory on the study of important topics and to enact a sense of common purpose across the diverse communities at Emory. These classes are offered to all students: undergraduate, graduate, and professional.