HUMS 025, Six Pretty Good Buildings
Through the lens of “worldmaking,” this course provides students with an intensive introduction to studying the humanities at Yale. The course is anchored by six trans-historical spatial models for thinking about the history of ideas: the Capitol, the Library, the Ship, the Factory, the Museum, and the House.
Covering a range of historical epochs and geographies—from Greek antiquity to contemporary Dakar—as well as genres and media—including philosophical treatises, the romance novel, films, and exhibition catalogues—these six building “types” provide a foundation for questions about how societies and individuals organize value systems. They also provide concrete, material frameworks for confronting theoretical proposals with the diversity of human experiences.
Key texts include Homer’s The Odyssey, Song Yingxing’s Tiangong Kaiwu, and Hannah Arendt’s Human Condition. Canonical texts from the traditional repertoire of the “Great Books” are constellated with nonwestern and contemporary perspectives that rethink the political and ethical imperatives of the humanities today. Friday sessions alternate between writing workshops and field trips to Yale collections. This course is part of the “Six Pretty Good Ideas” program.
Enrollment limited to first-year students. Preregistration required; see under First-Year Seminar Program.