A grassy path winds through recently burned prairie and trees.

Our Habits, Ourselves

Our Habits, Ourselves

A First-Year Tutorial offered fall 2021, taught by Caleb Elfenbein, associate professor of history and religious studies, director of the Center for the Humanities

Do you have habits? Yes. Of course you do. We all do! Drawing on examples from different times and places, we will investigate the nature of habits and how they relate to the lives we live, the lives we want to live, and the people we want to be(come). Our class will be a space of academic and personal discovery, with practical goals in mind as you begin a new moment in life. We will do research on definitions of habits; we will engage materials about habits from different subject areas, including religious studies, philosophy, social psychology, and technology studies; finally, we will think about the role of habits in our own lives, connecting materials we explore to ourselves and those around us. 

Caleb Elfenbein

Why I'm Teaching This Topic

I am teaching a tutorial on habits for a few reasons. It is a topic that requires interdisciplinary exploration, and so introduces new students to a range of subject areas they might pursue during their time at Grinnell. It is also a topic that can help new students reflect on the big changes happening in their lives as they transition to college. This practical outcome of studying habits is very important to me because (beyond helping people) it demonstrates the essential connection between humanistic study and our own development as people, especially in times of change.

– Caleb Elfenbein

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