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Introduction to Western Civilization

Introduction to Western Civilization

This INDICA Course will enable learners to grasp and critique the basic elements of the Western paradigm of thought referenced by Western geopolitical power as the source of its legitimacy.

30 Hours
Date & Time

1 October 2022 - 20 May 2023

8:00 PM-9:00 PM IST

Every Saturday (Except 24th December 2022 and 31st December 2022)


Course Fee: ₹7000
Enrollment Manual
Medium of Instruction
One year from the beginning of the course
Online through INDICA Courses Portal
Contact Details



The success of Western powers in multiple domains in the so-called ‘modern’ era has enabled the Western civilizational perspective and its self-understanding that emerged during that time to present itself to the rest of the world, not as one perspective among others, but as the universal and definitive human perspective and as the culmination of the world’s intellectual and spiritual development according to principles supposedly objective and self-evident.

The hegemonic position of this civilizational perspective makes it imperative that the basic elements of the Western paradigm of thought referenced by Western geopolitical power as the source of its legitimacy be grasped and critiqued.

This course, using as its basis a standard, widely assigned collection of readings used to construct the ongoing and open-ended ‘Western Canon’, seeks to provide the foundation for such awareness, so that students may both appreciate the wisdom in this intensely contested tradition as well as recognizing its hazards.

Course Objectives

  • Read a normative series of selections from texts considered foundational for ‘Western Civilization’ in its posited stages of ‘emergence’ or ‘development’ and constitutive for that tradition’s self-understanding.
  • Form the basis for immanent critique of that tradition’s self-understanding and developmental narrative.

Course Syllabus

  • Introduction
  • Archaic Greece
  • Classical Greece 
  • Hellenistic
  • Rome
  • Late Antiquity
  • Early Medieval
  • High Medieval
  • Renaissance
  • Early Modernity
  • Enlightenment and Revolution
  • 19th century
  • 20th century
  • Emerging trends

Course Outcomes

  • To have a general familiarity with the putative core texts of the ‘Western Tradition’ and the narrative of emergence in which they are situated.
  • To understand the mobile and constructed nature of ‘Western’ identity.

Dr. Edward P Butler

Dr. Edward P Butler is the Director of INDICA Center for Polytheism Studies.

He received his doctorate in Philosophy from the New School for Social Research, New York City, for his dissertation “The Metaphysics of Polytheism in Proclus” (2004). Since then, he has pursued an ambitious research program in philosophy, theology, and the philosophy of religion, publishing regularly in academic journals, edited volumes and devotionals.

His areas of specialization include ancient Platonism, ancient Greek theology, ancient Egyptian theology, and the polytheistic philosophy of religion in general. In addition to his theoretical work on polytheism, he has been a practicing devotional polytheist his entire adult life, and is an advocate for the preservation, restoration and revival of polytheistic traditions around the globe.