The Humanities Program brings world-class scholars and undergraduates together in pursuit of fundamental insights into the human condition as they arise in literature, the arts, history, philosophy and the sciences.
The Program began in the mid-twentieth century in order to enable more interdisciplinary scholarship and teaching than would easily fit into academic departments. Today the Program continues to experiment with curricular coherence without being constrained by methodological parochialism. A guiding idea behind the Humanities major is that breadth of learning is compatible with depth, and students are encouraged to make novel connections across Humanities disciplines in a spirit of intellectual adventurousness and curiosity.
The Humanities Program offers both a traditional education in classic works of Western culture and evolving course offerings reflecting new approaches. Scholars come to the Program with a wide range of interests in the humanities, from ancient Greece and classical China to medieval France, to the Enlightenment, from prehistoric music-making to modernist literary figures, from existentialism to contemporary film and media, from Romantic poetry to modernization in Asia, to American jazz. What brings these scholars together is a sense that the distinctly human world of felt experience and significance deserves serious study and sophisticated theoretical framing, and that free and open conversations drawing upon the expertise of multiple disciplines can produce a common vocabulary for articulating truths about what it means to be a human being.