The Open Syllabus Project Visualizes the 1,000,000+ Books Most Frequently Assigned in College Courses


The Prince, The Canterbury Tales, The Communist Manifesto, The Souls of Black FolkThe Elements of Style: we’ve learn most of these, after all. Or no less than we’ve learn maximum of them (one or two needless to say), if our ever-dimmer reminiscences of highschool or school are to be depended on. But we will relaxation confident that scholars are studying — or in any case, being assigned — those exact same works nowadays, due to the Open Syllabus project, which as of this writing has assembled a database of 7,292,573 other school direction syllabi. Greatly expanded since we previously featured it here on Open Culture, its “Galaxy” now visualizes the 1,138,841 maximum incessantly assigned texts in that database, presenting them in a Google Maps-like interface to your highbrow exploration.

If you click on on the seek window in the upper-left nook of that interface, a scrollable score of the best 100 maximum incessantly assigned texts opens instantly under. Number one, showing on greater than 15,000 of the syllabi accumulated thus far, is Strunk and White’s classic writing-style guide.

Click on its identify and also you’ll in finding your self in its nook of the map, and also you’ll see highlighted different well-liked readings that have a tendency to be assigned along with it: Diana Hacker’s A Writer’s Reference (at the second the second-most assigned text), Aristotle’s Rhetoric, Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from the Birmingham Jail,” Jürgen Habermas’ The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere.

Michel Foucault holds through some measures the file for the largest choice of citations in the humanities. If you’ve learn simplest considered one of his books, you’ve most definitely learn Discipline and Punish, his 1975 learn about of the penal device — and present holder of sixteenth place on the Open Syllabus rankings. But zoom in on it and also you’ll in finding various related books and articles you may no longer have learn: Alan Elsner’s Gates of Injustice, William Ian Miller’s The Anatomy of DisgustSoledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson. Similarly, an tour in the neighborhood of Benedict Anderson‘s Imagined Communities brings encounters with different investigations of nation and citizenship like Ernest Renan’s What Is a Nation? and Duncan S.A. Bell’s Mythscapes: Memory, Mythology, and National Identity.

In each sense, the effects to be discovered in the Open Syllabus Galaxy are extra attention-grabbing than the ones presented up through the same old you-may-also-like algorithms. Back in school you could have loved, say, Edward Said’s Orientalism, however the vary of texts that might accompany it will were restricted through the theme of the magnificence and the intent of your trainer. Here you’ll in finding Noam Chomsky’s Failed States on one aspect, John R. Bowen’s Why the French Don’t Like Headscarves on every other, Hans Wehr’s Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic on every other, or even Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama bin Laden on every other nonetheless. If we wish to perceive a topic, finally, we should learn no longer near to it however round it. In school or in different places, you may neatly have heard that concept; right here, you’ll be able to see it. Enter the Open Syllabus Galaxy here.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and pronounces on towns, language, and tradition. His tasks come with the Substack publication Books on Cities, the guide The Stateless City: a Walk thru 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video collection The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.


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