Western Civilisation program

Discover the richness, complexity, and diversity of the Western tradition, from Homer, Plato, and Aristotle, through Aquinas, Dante, and Shakespeare, to Kant, Austen, Woolf, and beyond.

About Western Civilisation at ACU

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The Western Civilisation program at ACU exposes the brightest young minds to the most vital works of art, culture, and thought in the Western tradition. Our courses offer a multicultural, multi-disciplinary study of the liberal arts in small, student-centred settings devoted to the Socratic method.

You are encouraged to think for yourself and to question orthodoxies of thought both in the past and the present. Our wide-ranging curriculum encompasses literature, art history, architecture, philosophy, religion, and the history of science, from Ancient Greece to the present day.  

You will discover that what we provisionally call ‘Western Civilisation’ does not denote something univocal and uncontested. We subject the very terms ‘Western’ and ‘Civilisation’ to careful scrutiny. Among other things, we study the indebtedness of Greek architecture to Egypt and Persia, explore the Arabic, Hebrew, and vernacular literatures of medieval Spain, and consider the relationship between Roman and Vedic religion. We emphasize the fact that criticism of Western civilisation is internal to the tradition of Western civilisation itself. At the same time, our curriculum reminds us that Western culture has transmitted achievements of extraordinary beauty and profundity that can speak to us today.

The program values rigour and creativity; diversity and dissent; deep learning and thoughtful, critical questioning.


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