Humanities Electives

HUMS 134b / ENGL 189b / FREN 216b / LITR 194b
The Multicultural Middle Ages

Ardis Butterfield

Introduction to medieval English literature and culture in its European and Mediterranean context, before it became monolingual, canonical, or author-bound. Genres include travel writing, epic, dream visions, mysticism, the lyric, and autobiography, from the Crusades to the Hundred Years War, from the troubadours to Dante, from the Chanson de Roland to Chaucer.   HU
MW 2:30pm-3:20pm

HUMS 138a
Norse Sagas
Johanna Fridriksdottir

Introduction to a wide range of sagas—prose texts similar to novels—written in medieval Iceland, to better understand the customs, ethics, social hierarchies, and values they express as well as their literary style and artistry. Written in a strikingly realistic style, themes encompass exploration and settlement of new lands, blood feud and honor codes, gender roles, and the paranormal.   HU
MW 9am-10:15am

HUMS 144a / CLCV 206a / HIST 217a
Introduction to Roman History: The Republic
Andrew Johnston

The development of the Roman Republic to the end of the Civil Wars in 30 B.C. Readings from ancient sources with emphasis on the means by which history can be written by engaging these texts with the evidence of archaeology, art history, epigraphy, and numismatics. Readings in translation. 
MW 11:35am-12:50pm

HUMS 149b / ENGL 219b / ITAL 309b / LITR 179b / WGSS 179b
Gender and Genre in Renaissance Love
Poetry
Ayesha Ramachandran

Introduction to the poetic genres of lyric, epic, and pastoral in the European Renaissance. Focus on questions of desire, love, and gendered subjectivity. The historical contexts and political uses of discourses of eroticism and pleasure in Italy, Spain, France, and England. Written exercises include poetic imitations of Renaissance texts.  HU
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

HUMS 151b
Shakespeare and the Canon: Tragedies and Romances
Harold Bloom

A reading of Shakespeare’s tragedies and romances, with an emphasis on their originality in regard to tradition: HamletOthelloKing LearMacbeth, and Antony and CleopatraThe Winter’s Tale, and The Tempest.  HU
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

Entrance to the course is by application to the instructor. Those interested should submit a few pages of writing about their interests and qualification to the Whitney Humanities Center by noon on Friday, January 12, 2018. Shopping the course is not permitted. Students admitted will receive an email before the first meeting, which will be on Tuesday, January 16, 2018. Questions should be directed to Norma Thompson (norma.thompson@yale.edu).

HUMS 153b
Poetic Influence from Shakespeare to Hart Crane

Harold Bloom

The complexities of poetic influence in the tradition of the English language. Works by Shakespeare, Milton, Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, Tennyson, Robert Browning, and Yeats, followed by an American sequence of Whitman, Dickinson, Wallace Stevens, and Hart Crane.  HU
Th 1:30pm-3:20pm

Entrance to the course is by application to the instructor. Those interested should submit a few pages of writing about their interests and qualifications to the Whitney Humanities Center by noon on Friday, January 12, 2018. Shopping the course is not permitted. Students admitted will receive an email before the first meeting, which will be on Thursday, January 18, 2018. Questions should be directed to Norma Thompson (norma.thompson@yale.edu).

HUMS 180a / ITAL 310a / LITR 183a
Dante in Translation

Christiana Purdy Moudarres

A critical reading of Dante’s Divine Comedy and selections from the minor works, with an attempt to place Dante’s work in the intellectual and social context of the late Middle Ages by relating literature to philosophical, theological, and political concerns. One discussion section conducted in Italian.  HU
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

HUMS 181b / THST 438b
Production Seminar: War Play
Toni Dorfman

A study of plays and films, epic and otherwise, about war, culminating in the production of Bertolt Brecht’s, Mother Courage. Admission by audition in August.  Prerequisite: THST 210, and/or permission of the instructor.  HU
HTBA

HUMS 187b / ENGL 207b / FREN 214b / LITR 182b
Medieval Romance
R. Howard Bloch and Ardis Butterfield

A study of some of the principal forms of Arthurian, chivalric, courtly, and parodic romances of medieval French and English tradition.  HU
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

HUMS 205a
Boundaries of the Body in Law and Literature
Camille Lizarríbar

The representation of the human body in law and literature. Bodies as physical structures that inhabit multiple realms, including material, cultural, historical, and symbolic. Ways in which humans think about and give meaning to their bodies in relationship to themselves and to others. Additional sources include film, television, and journalism.  HU
W 2:30pm-4:20pm

HUMS 220b / HIST 289Jb / HSAR 399b / HSHM 407b
Collecting Nature and Art in the Preindustrial World
Paola Bertucci

A history of museums before the emergence of the modern museum. Focus on: cabinets of curiosities and Wunderkammern, anatomical theaters and apothecaries’ shops, alchemical workshops and theaters of machines, collections of monsters, rarities, and exotic specimens. HU
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

HUMS 233a / LITR 178a / MMES 201a / NELC 156a
Classics of the Arabic-Islamic World
Shawkat Toorawa

Survey of the literary tradition of the Arabic-Islamic world (West Asia, North Africa, and Muslim Spain), a textual conversation among diverse authors from late antiquity to the Mamluk period. Prose and poetry from the Qur’an to the Arabian Nights; attention to the interdependence of the works and their cultural setting, the agendas authors pursued, and the characters they portrayed.  HU
WF 2:30pm-3:45pm

HUMS 235a / FREN 335a
Orientalism in French Literature and Art
Marie-Hélène Girard and Maryam Sanjabi

Examination of Oriental influences in French prose, theater, poetry, travel literature, and art from the seventeenth century to the twentieth. Topics include the problems of Orientalism; encounters with peoples, monuments, and cultures of the Muslim Middle East; social and political critique; and the popular lure of Oriental exoticism. Readings in English.  HU
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

HUMS 253a / ENGL 346a / RLST 233a
Poetry and Faith
Christian Wiman

Issues of faith examined through poetry, with a focus on modern Christian poems from 1850 to the present. Some attention to poems from other faith traditions, as well as to secular and antireligious poetry.  HU
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

HUMS 257a / FREN 227a
Love in the Western World
R. Howard Bloch

Consideration and definition of the varieties of love by which we still live and which came into being in late Antiquity and the High Middle Ages.  HU
Th 9:25am-11:15am

HUMS 259a / PLSC 289a
Tocqueville
Bryan Garsten

A close reading of Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, along with major influences, such as Rousseau, Pascal, and Montesquieu, and near contemporaries, including Constant, Guizot, and Marx. one course in political theory, philosophy, or intellectual history.   HU
HTBA

HUMS 261a / EP&E 487a / GMAN 212a / PHIL 417a
Critical Theory and the Frankfurt School
Asaf Angermann

Introduction to the thought and writings of the philosophers known as the Frankfurt School, who founded and developed the idea of Critical Theory. The method of Critical Theory as a way of thinking about the complex relations between philosophy and society, culture and politics, and philosophical concepts and social reality. The meaning of concepts such as critique, history, freedom, individuality, emancipation, and aesthetic experience.  HU
Th 1:30pm-3:20pm

HUMS 268b
Analyzing Antisemitism
Adam Stern

Analysis of the “longest hatred” from a historical as well as theoretical point of view; and the development of antisemitism and key manifestations from the ancient world to the present moment. Topics include how hatred of Jews relates to other forms of bigotry and prejudice; how antisemitism mutates in different times and places; antisemitism before the modern period; why antisemitism exists in countries that have no Jews; why antisemitism is once again on the rise around the world and how it can be combated. 
HTBA

HUMS 270a / EALL 200a
The Chinese
Tradition
Tina Lu

An introduction to the literature, culture, and thought of premodern China, from the beginnings of the written record to the turn of the twentieth century. Close study of textual and visual primary sources, with attention to their historical and cultural backdrops. No knowledge of Chinese required.  HU
MWF 10:30am-11:20am

HUMS 272b / EALL 256b / EAST 358b / GLBL 251b / LITR 265b
China in the World
Jing Tsu

Recent headlines about China in the world, deciphered in both modern and historical contexts. Interpretation of new events and diverse texts through transnational connections. Topics include China and Africa, Mandarinization, labor and migration, Chinese America, nationalism and humiliation, and art and counterfeit. Readings and discussion in English.  HU
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

HUMS 273b / FILM 272b
Truth and Media, Information, Disinformation, and Misinformation
Francesco Casetti

Exploration of how “truth” is disseminated in a global media economy, how news can be “fake,” and the role of media in constructing truth and falsehood, beginning with Plato’s Phaedrus, a classic philosophical text in which writing itself is placed under scrutiny. Further consideration of epistemological certainty and doubt in the history of science, philosophy, literature, and art—each of which presents a theory of knowledge complicating or reifying the distinctions between fact and fiction; and ideological and technological distortions of the truth. A collaboration with the Poynter Fellowship at Yale.  HU
HTBA

HUMS 287b / HIST 455J\
The Theory and Practice of Resistance
Terence Renaud

Exploration of the histories and theories of resistance in the modern world. How liberation movements, guerrillas, and oppressed groups appeal to resistance as an organizational strategy and as moral justification. Readings include Kant, Thoreau, Nietzsche, Luxemburg, Lenin, Gandhi, Fanon, Arendt, Marcuse, Foucault, A. Lorde, Said, and J. Butler. Themes include antifascism to terrorism; violence to nonviolence, the New Left to Black Lives Matter.  HU
W 9:25am-11:15am

HUMS 292a / EALL 213a / PHIL 205a
Philosophy, Religion, and Literature in Medieval China
Lucas Bender

Exploration of the rich intellectual landscape of the Chinese middle ages, introducing students to seminal works of Chinese civilization and to the history of their debate and interpretation in the first millennium. No previous knowledge of China is assumed. Instead, the course serves as a focused introduction to Chinese philosophy, religion, and literature.  HU
M 2:30pm-4:20pm

HUMS 294a / EVST 294a / RSEE 355a / RUSS 355a
Ecology and Russian Culture
Molly Brunson

Interdisciplinary study of Russian literature, film, and art from the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries, organized into four units—forest, farm, labor, and disaster. Topics include: perception and representation of nature; deforestation and human habitation; politics and culture of land-ownership; leisure, labor, and forced labor; modernity and industrialization; and nuclear technologies and disasters. Analysis of short stories, novels, and supplementary readings on ecocriticism and environmental humanities, as well as films, paintings, and visual materials. Several course meetings take place at the Yale Farm. Readings and discussions in English.  HU
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

HUMS 299b
Rhetoric and Political Order
Norma Thompson

A study of rhetoric as an indispensable element of politics. Rhetorical perceptions of the sophist Gorgias and the philosophers Plato and Aristotle; foundations of modern rhetoric in Machiavelli, Jane Austen, and Abraham Lincoln; and contemporary rhetorics of social science, natural science, and the humanities.  HU
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

HUMS 300b
Oratory in Statecraft
Charles Hill

A seminar and practicum in oratory, the first tool of leadership. A study of oratory as it provides direction, builds support, and drives action on a strategic agenda. Analysis of speeches in antiquity, the early modern era, and the unique American voice: Edwards to Lincoln to King.  HU
TTh 2:30pm-3:45pm

HUMS 301b
The Crisis of Democracy
Giulia Oskian

A study of the notion of political crisis; a trans-historical comparison between current and 1920s-’30s critiques of liberal democracy; a theoretical reflection on the modalities of political representation, the tension between democratic procedures and constitutional provisions, the role of political parties, and the dynamics of political change. 
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

HUMS 305b / EALL 308b / PHIL 410b
Sages of the Ancient World

Michael Hunter

Comparative survey of ancient discourses about wisdom from China, India, the Near East, Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Topics include teaching, scheming, and dying.  HU
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

HUMS 308b
The French Revolution in Political Thought
Daniel Luban

Political thought of and about the French Revolution. Key political texts from the revolution itself, responses from contemporaries across the globe, and later interpretations of the revolution. Authors include Sieyès, Robespierre, Burke, Paine, Wollstonecraft, de Maistre, Tocqueville, Arendt, and C.L.R. James.  HU
W 2:30pm-4:20pm

HUMS 316b
World Order in Liberal Arts
Charles Hill

International peace and security as humanity’s primary philosophical problem, reflected in works beyond policy methodologies. Confucius to the Elizabethan “world picture,” to Kant, Grass, Calasso, Wittgenstein, and Samuel Beckett. Early writings of Kissinger and his diplomatic papers now at the Yale University Library provide modern case studies.  HU
F 9:25am-11:15am

HUMS 326b / PLSC 299b
The Political Philosophy of Rousseau
Steven Smith

Close reading of some of the major works of Rousseau, concentrating on his political theory, his writings on education and the family, and his conception of the philosophic life. Consideration of interpretations of Rousseau from the past century. Prerequisites: Directed Studies, previous courses in political philosophy or intellectual history, or permission of instructor.  HU, SO
HTBA

HUMS 330a / GMAN 227a / LITR 330a / PHIL 402a
Heidegger’s Being and Time
Martin Hägglund

Systematic, chapter by chapter study of Heidegger’s Being and Time, arguably the most important work of philosophy in the twentieth-century. All major themes addressed in detail, with particular emphasis on care, time, death, and the meaning of being.  HU
MW 11:35am-12:50pm

HUMS 336b / E&EB 336b / HSHM 453b
Culture and Human Evolution

Gary Tomlinson
Examination of the origins of human modernity in the light of evolutionary and archaeological evidence. Understanding, through a merger of evolutionary reasoning with humanistic theory, the impact of human culture on natural selection across the last 250,000 years.  HU, SC
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

HUMS 351a / PLSC 314a
The American Imagination: From the Puritans to the Civil War
Bryan Garsten and Steven Smith

Interdisciplinary examination of the uniqueness of the American experience from the time of the Puritans to the Civil War. Readings draw on major works of political theory, theology, and literature.  HU
MW 1pm-2:15pm

HUMS 352b / HIST 105Jb
American Imagination: From the Gilded Age to the Cold War
David Bromwich and Anthony Kronman

Survey of major ideas, writings, and cultural movements that have shaped American life and thought from 1880 to 1990. Assignments encompass works of fiction, philosophy, social and political thought, and film.  HU
MW 1pm-2:15pm

HUMS 381b / HIST 211b
The Birth of Europe, 1000–1500
Paul Freedman

Europe during the central and late Middle Ages, from the feudal revolution to the age of discoveries. Europe as it came to be defined in terms of national states and international empires. The rise and decline of papal power, church reform movements, the Crusades, contacts with Asia, the commercial revolution, and the culture of chivalry.  HU
TTh 10:30am-11:20am

HUMS 402a / ENGL 230a / ER&M 225a / LITR 319a
Selfhood, Race, Class, and Gender
Marta Figlerowicz

Examination of the fundamental notion of “the self” through categories of race, class, and gender as dimensions for understanding personhood. Introduction to major philosophical frameworks for thinking about “the self” from antiquity to the present; case studies from across the world and in different media, placing contemporary debates about these issues in historical perspective. HU
MW 11:35am-12:25pm

HUMS 411b
Life Worth Living
Miroslav Volf, Matthew Croasmun, Angela Gorrell, Drew Collins, Sarah Farmer

Comparative exploration of the shape of the life advocated by several of the world’s normative traditions, both religious and nonreligious. Concrete instantiations of these traditions explored through contemporary exemplars drawn from outside the professional religious or philosophical spheres. Readings from the founding texts of Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Marxism, and utilitarianism.  HU
TTh 9am- 10:15am
MW 2:30- 3:45pm
MW 9am- 10:15am
TTh 11:35- 12:50pm
TTh 1pm- 2:15pm

HUMS 427b / ENGL 456b / JDST 316b / LITR 348b
The Practice of Literary Translation
Peter Cole

Intensive readings in the history and theory of translation paired with practice in translating. Case studies from ancient languages (the Bible, Greek and Latin classics), medieval languages (classical Arabic literature), and modern languages (poetic texts).  HU
HTBA

HUMS 434a / CLCV 113a / NELC 230a
Mesopotamia’s Literary Legacy
Kathryn Slanski

Major works of ancient Near Eastern literature; relationships with literary traditions in the Hebrew Bible and ancient Greece. Readings include myths, epics, wisdom literature, love poetry, and humorous stories.  HU
Th 9:25am-11:15am

HUMS 443a / HIST 232Ja / JDST 270a / MMES 342a / RLST 201a
Medieval Jews, Christians, and Muslims In Conversation
Ivan Marcus

How members of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim communities thought of and interacted with members of the other two cultures during the Middle Ages. Cultural grids and expectations each imposed on the other; the rhetoric of otherness—humans or devils, purity or impurity, and animal imagery; and models of religious community and power in dealing with the other when confronted with cultural differences. Counts toward either European or Middle Eastern distributional credit within the History major, upon application to the director of undergraduate studies.  HU
T 9:25am-11:15am

HUMS 444b
The City of Rome
Virginia Jewiss

An interdisciplinary study of Rome from its legendary origins through its evolving presence at the crossroads of Europe and the world. Exploration of the city’s rich interweaving of history, theology, literature, philosophy, and the arts in significant moments of Roman and world history.  HU
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

HUMS 455a / PHYS 115a / THST 115
The Physics of Dance
Sarah Demers Konezny

Critical investigation of introductory concepts in physics through the lens of dance. Topics in physics include the normal force, friction, Newton’s laws, projectile motion, potential and kinetic energy, and conservation of energy. Topics in dance include aspects of dance history, contemporary artists who engage with science, and the development of movement studies. Class meetings include movement exercises. Prerequisite: basic trigonometry and algebra. Prior dance experience is not required.  HU
MW 1:30pm-3:20pm