Conversatio Frequently Asked Questions


  • What does Conversatio mean? Is it the same as "conversation"?
    Conversatio is a Latin word that means a common way of life followed with devotion. So conversatio is a mode of living followed habitually and with conviction. The English word conversation does not mean exactly the same thing even though it derives from the Latin term conversatio. People in a conversation turn toward each other and participate in a common world for a moment, a conversatio, but the two terms are not the same. (The English word originally, in the 14th century, had a meaning similar to conversatio: living together and the shared manner of life or way of going about one's business.)

  • What is a cohort? Why do I have to sign up for two classes for Conversatio?
    A cohort is a group of all the seminars that meet at one time. They meet together for cohort lectures on some Mondays, and the faculty in that group collaborate in designing and planning the course. Each cohort has about 100 students and 6 faculty. Your seminar will have around 17 students, and you will have one seminar instructor, who is your main contact for the course. Your seminar is the place you will meet most days and your seminar instructor will make all your assignments and do all your grading. You have to sign up for both your Cohort lecture course and your individual seminar course with the Registrar. (Why? Because we all must bow to the constraints imposed by technological data collection. We hope you will discuss how this impacts your way of life in the Technology and Society unit during Spring semester 😉 ) On Sakai or ( you will be enrolled in two courses; your individual seminar course section, where all your assignments and grades will be, and the Conversation common course which has the whole freshman class in it, which you will only use to get common resources and to get notices. Yes this is somewhat confusing, but you'll get used to it. You can find a more full description here.

  • Do I have to go to the evening events and films? What is with all the outside of class activities? Don't you know I have a life?
    We see a few films and a play as a way of making the subject matter come alive for you. They are a required part of the course, so, yes, you do have to go. But if you have a reason why making one of them is difficult, talk to your instructor. They will be understanding, and there are alternative showings and other ways of making up the assignment. Conversatio is all about community, so as difficult as it may be sometimes, the best way to succeed in the course is to participate. Sometimes your experiences outside the classroom will be what affects you most. Conversatio is your introduction to the shared Anselmian way of life, and we want you to be in it!
  • The page numbers on my version of the Antigone (Complete Plays of Sophocles)  are different from those in the assignment what do I do to make sure I am reading the right thing?
    The reading for the first Seminar from the Complete Plays of Sophocles is the beginning of the Antigone, pp, 121-137 in our edition. There are many editions of the Complete Plays floating around and some of you may even have different translations.
    The break between this weeks reading and next weeks reading that occurs at p. 137 in the correct edition is at line 655 of the play just before the choral ode (Chorus: Strophe 1) that reads "Blest are they whose days have not tasted of evil." (Jebb, our translation). or "Blest, they are the truly blest who all their lives have never tasted devastation." (Fagles) or "Thrice blest are they who never tasted pain!" (Storr). I hope that allays any confusion for those who may have different editions.

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