Many of my eclectic interests come from my time at the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and for those interested in pursuing an undergraduate degree in the humanities, I would highly suggest it.
In my first year I attended the school’s “Foundation Year Programme” which took the place of four of my five credits and consisted in reading the primary sources of western civilization from the Epic of Gilgamesh to Donna Haraway’s Cyborg Manifesto. I wrote a 1500 word essay every two weeks for the entire year, daily attended two hour lectures by specialists on the readings and participated in tutorials of fifteen people or so.
Great books programs like those at King’s are the closest we get in North America to what previous centuries called a “classical education”, and the small campus and common curriculum creates an almost monastic atmosphere of shared experiences.
Considering the university’s history, it is somewhat ironic that it has developed a reputation for attracting bohemian types. King’s was founded in Windsor, Nova Scotia as an exclusively Anglican school. Queen’s University, (what would become known as Acadia), in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, was founded some time afterwords as a reaction to the religious exclusion practiced by he Anglican institution. When King’s burnt down it was re-established in Halifax under the auspices of Dalhousie University, loosing much of its autonomy in the process. While there are still some tensions caused by this relationship, for instance, in order to graduate from King’s you have to do a combined honours in a program at King’s and one at Dalhousie, it was this move which opened up the smaller university in ways it never had been before, and helped it re-define itself against the dominant interest in science and engineering that characterized Dalhousie.
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