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The Capstone Project is...
The Capstone Project is an independent research paper and defense in which the scholar traces the origins of a modern idea or human phenomenon by analyzing the modern idea, discovering of the idea's earlier iterations or origins, studying the way language is employed by its proponents or opponents, and understanding the consequences of the idea.
Sample Capstone Ideas
1. Advertising on American television is an industry well into the billions of dollars. The advertisements are, by definition, manipulative whether or not they are merely informative or condescending. I’m sure most all of us could think of far more productive uses for such billions of dollars, but advertisers continue to pour that money into television. This phenomenon does happen without a very specific core set of beliefs about human nature held within advertising agencies. What are the philosophical and ideological beliefs that perpetuate this phenomenon? How does language play a role in this purposeful ‘manipulation’? Which of the Greeks and subsequent philosophers hold such ideas from which come the consequence of a billion dollar television ad industry?
2. Timbuktu, in the western African country of Mali, was a major trade capital of medieval Arab world and it was the center for Muslim learning. It possessed hundreds of thousands of manuscripts, a series of important universities, and unique sites, including mosques, shrines, and libraries. Experiencing relative piece for 750 years, the past 8 months have seen its systematic destruction by the very religion that built it into the major center for Islam that it had become. Those destroying Timbuktu hold the same religious text (the Koran) as those who built it. What ideas founded the city, and how have those ideas altered to become the very ideas that now oversee its destruction? To what degree was Timbuktu founded on Aristotelian thought and how (and why) has that thought been summarily dismissed by non-western thinking? What is the way language has contributed to either end of this phenomenon?
3. In our culture today, angels are popularly believed to be gentle, winged, come to our aid in human form, and are perhaps fat babies, innocent girls, or voluptuous women. While angels come out of the Christian tradition many people who are not devout or even theistic hold to these beliefs in various forms. Even many Christians do. How did this phenomenon occur, with the Biblical knowledge that angels were always male, and spent a considerable time engaged in violence or warning than they did in announcing ‘good news of great joy’ and in singing. How did this modern-day perversion of this Scriptural reality come about? Where in western philosophy did the seeds of those ideas form? What has been the damage to Truth caused by the consequences of those ideas? What is the significant role that language has played in this phenomenon?
4. Schools in America were formed to carry on the western traditions of great learning and self-improvement so that the students would both perpetuate American ideals (citizenship, hard work, exploration/innovation to name a small few) and the learning of Scripture. It is no longer this way. In public (indeed most) American education today, what are the prevailing anthropological and epistemological beliefs? Where did they come from? Where in Western Thought did these ideas emerge? What is the language used to solidify and perpetuate these ideas? What is the continuing consequence of our education system?
Christian music in contemporary culture by Katherine Brody
Women's progress in sports by Jassica Burns
Secularization by Reilly Fenderson
The new recognition of special forces by Jack Krueger
Armenian Genocide by Ariela Kiradjian
The institution of marriage by Michelle Whipple