Our mission is to encourage and guide intellectual exploration and experimentation. Founded in 1975, IPHS is the oldest of Kenyon's interdisciplinary programs.
It draws from a broad range of the liberal arts including intellectual history, literary studies, political theory, philosophy, art history, classics, and religious studies. The first-year course combines weekly lectures, small seminars (typically 8-12 students), and one-on-one student faculty tutorials.
This approach to learning provides our students from the beginning of their college careers with the opportunity to work closely with their professors. Moreover, by inviting professors from other departments and disciplines to give lectures, IPHS provides a forum for introducing students to the Kenyon faculty as a whole.
Balancing tradition and innovation, IPHS is dedicated to helping students clearly and articulately formulate and refine their interpretations, analysis, and evaluations of major works ranging from Homer through Dante, de Pisan to Shelley, Kirkegaard, Nietzsche, and Freud. Throughout the program, we provide an opportunity for students to develop their craft in written communication , oral communication , critical thinking and new media skills including design and composition.
By discovering and forging links between areas of knowledge and ways of knowing that are currently segregated by disciplines and departments, we encourage our students to think both critically and comprehensively. Central to this enterprise is the close reading and careful discussion of texts. Our discussion method encourages students to think through questions on their own and to defend and refine responses to them in seminar and in tutorials. Our purpose is the full exploration of different points of view. As a result of this intellectual encounter, IPHS students regularly form a strong sense of community.
Building on their first year experience, those who concentrate in IPHS go on to advanced seminars in Modernism and Post-Modernism. There they read and discuss influential literary, philosophical, and political texts by authors such as; Baudelaire, Woolf, Breton, Le Corbusier, Kafka, Camus, Heidegger, Foucault, and Derrida. In addition, they regularly view films by directors such as; Cocteau, Eisenstein, Riefenstahl, Fellini, Antonioni, Bergman, Kurosawa, and Herzog. Their concentration culminates in a semester long senior project of directed independent research.
Our final goal in IPHS is to help our students formulate a clear and accurate sense of where we have come from as a culture—and where we might wish to go.