Habib University’s Seven Forms of Thought

Historical & Social Thought (2 courses):

The unprecedented change in the pace of modernity and the growing complexity of modern society makes it imperative for historical and social thought to be studied and researched. All undergraduates have to take two courses under this Form of Thought.

CORE 102: What Is Modernity?

Our ‘modernity’ is the very air we breathe. It encompasses, at a gathering pace, all aspects of our lives thus making it a central concern across the range of disciplines. This course is designed as a multidisciplinary study of key texts that illuminate the various features and structures of the dynamic culture of modernity. Examples of themes covered in the course range across Political, Economic, Scientific and Aesthetic modernity. The relations between Modernity and media, Modernity and gender, Modernity and the environment as well as Modernity and religion are also explored.

CORE 201: Pakistan & Modern South Asia

Nation-states – including that of Pakistan – emerged in the region of South Asia in the middle of the 20th century. With a special focus on the emergence and trajectory of Indo-Muslim nationalism and the creation of Pakistan, this course is a conspectus of the modern history of South Asia from the colonial period, including the rise of anti-colonial nationalism and decolonization, to the Cold War and the contemporary period of turmoil and transformation.

Philosophical Thought (2 courses)

The study of philosophy has traditionally been at the heart of liberal core curricula. Philosophical thought serves to enhance both the rigor, and the reflective powers of the student, essential to concept-generation and innovation in all fields. Habib University’s flagship two-semester course sequence in regional and global humanities, Hikma I & II, takes the students to the pre-modern and ancient worlds of philosophy, religion, literature and art that remain our heritage.

CORE 202 & 301: Hikma I & II – History of Islamic Thought

Bridging the students’ crucial sophomore and junior-years, this sequence takes our students to the next level of humanistic study and conceptualization. The course takes an expansive world-historical and global view of the region’s rich heritage of Islamic thought in its intense and distinctive engagement with both Greek antiquity and the other Abrahamic traditions, and ambient regional traditions, such as Buddhism and the Bhakti. The course reads the rich texts emanating from this encounter in Muslim thinkers such as Al-Farabi, Avicenna, Suhrawardi and Mulla Sadra, as well as philosophically and spiritually rich Islamic poets, such as Rumi and Amir Khusraw. Though the course material is primarily philosophical and literary, it also engages material from history, politics and the arts.

Language & Expression (2 courses):

The development of linguistic and expressive abilities is widely recognized to be a key benefit of a liberal arts education. Communicative power is key to leadership and success across fields and disciplines. This is why eloquence in the broadest sense is one of the most highly valued benefits of a liberal arts education. The opening course in our Liberal Core is designed to develop the reading and presentation skills – written, oral, applicative and visual – that our students will need to excel at Habib University and beyond.

CORE 101: Rhetoric & Communication

The Habib Core nurtures our students’ rhetorical abilities throughout their college career. Rhetoric & Communication is designed to identify the different aspects of expression and eloquence as distinct abilities, and to develop them through application and practice. The material, classroom experience, and exercises of Rhetoric & Communication are designed to cultivate all five of these critical abilities, together with sophisticated reading skills. Our students will learn to make their speech and writing a total rhetorical experience, allowing them to communicate as effectively as they can across a variety of media.

URDU 102: Jehan-e-Urdu (The World of Urdu)

This course is designed to fulfill our commitment to the vernacular, as well as to reap the potential of modern Urdu literature and criticism to illuminate crucial aspects of our modernity. Jehan-e-Urdu is a pedagogically dynamic seminar that will rapidly advance students’ appreciation and knowledge of Urdu through engagement with powerful texts of prose and poetry selected to speak to the concerns of the student today, opening up Urdu as a living world of insight and thought.

Creative Practice (1 course):

Creativity is a way of thinking. Our graduates will have the freedom to explore their disciplines and others with a critical lens; they will be allowed to experiment and fail, and try yet again. It is through the rubric of creativity that success flourishes. Our students will innovate, and become problem solvers. All HU students are required to take at least one Elective course under this rubric.

Formal Reasoning (1 course):

Deductive thinking and reasoning is crucial across fields and disciplines in both science and engineering, as well as the social sciences and humanities. Students are taught to think logically, act logically, and ultimately do logically. Whether they are solving a math equation, or trying to understand a Macbeth soliloquy, they shall do so with reason. All students at HU are required to take a minimum of one course in Formal Reasoning.

CORE 111: Logical Problem Solving

Logic is a powerful tool to understand the phenomena around us. Logical thought leads not only to deeper insight, but to a particular approach toward solving problems. Th­is approach has proven immensely useful through the introduction of machines that support it by implementing “algorithms”. Th­ese machines are today commonly known as computers and they have revolutionized virtually every sphere of human activity. Th­is course provides an introduction to some basic logical techniques and their use in the analysis of arguments. Th­e problem-solving approach is introduced with an aim to develop algorithms. ­These algorithms are then run on a computer with the help of a high-level programming language.
Specifically, this course aims to (1) provide an introduction to propositional logic (2) use propositional logic techniques to analyze arguments; (3) develop problem-solving skills (4) develop the ability to express the solution to a problem in algorithmic form; and (5) provide exposure to programming a computer in a high-level language.

Quantitative Reasoning (1 course):

Numbers and quantities are an essential part of modern civilization and its forms of knowledge. The ability to handle and operationalize large amounts of data, quantitative reasoning and analytical skills is a crucial life skill. We make all our students take at least one course in Quantitative Reasoning.

ENER 101/103: Energy

The quest for safe, secure, and sustainable energy poses one of the most critical challenges of our age. This will require sophisticated and well-informed social, economic and technological choices. This course aims to provide students with the tools needed to think intelligently about sustainability. They learn about several possible alternate energy sources including the scientific principles that govern their creation and application. The laboratory part of the course features hands-on experience with renewable energy devices including solar cells, windmills, hydrogen fuel cells, bio-fuel, bio-diesel, etc. Students are expected to create their own devices during the course, allowing them to connect theory to practice. The exposure to these experiments extends their fundamental knowledge of physics, chemistry and statistics. The course also expands on the topics of energy conservation, energy storage, energy transmission and energy policy.

Natural Scientific Method & Analysis (2 courses):

The development of scientific method and analysis is a crucial feature of modernity and its forms of knowledge, impacting not just the natural, but also the social sciences and humanities. The centrality of science and technology in the contemporary world is unparalleled in the history of human societies and cultures. Because of the obvious power of scientific thought to shape ideas it has been the foundation upon which notions of progress, modernity, and even freedom and liberty have been built since the end of the 18th century. To ensure the scientific literacy of all our graduates, all HU students will be required to take a minimum of two courses in Natural Scientific Method & Analysis.

SCI 200: Scientific Method

How do we make decisions? How do we evaluate information? Should we trust all information? How do we recognize the limitations of a claim? These matters are not only for practicing scientists but form an important part of our daily lives. At a time when information is more easily accessible than ever before, how do we intelligently utilize available information in making choices? This course builds on the foundations of scientific methods of inquiry and works to apply them to our everyday lives. Utilizing a wide array of examples, it illustrates scientific methods and their applications.

CORE 302: Science, Technology & Society

Science, Technology & Society is a critical interdisciplinary course which challenges advanced students with the central assertion that, in the words of contemporary philosopher of science Sergio Sismondo, “science and technology are thoroughly social activities.” The course will draw upon Science and Technology Studies (STS) to demonstrate that the production and practice of scientific knowledge and technological development is a social and an historical process in which both scientists and citizens play a key role. Students examine the ways in which scientific communities create and regulate methods, establish consensus, and uphold or challenge theoretical models and technological advancements. In addition, they critically analyze the social impact and meaning of scientific breakthroughs and technological advances in historical and contemporary contexts.