Special Courses

As part of our commitment to undergraduate education, our faculty are constantly devising innovative new courses. 

Programs for First-Years are listed under First-Year Offerings.

Featured Courses:

Featured below are just a few recent highlights and experiments.  Click here for a complete list of courses devised in the spirit of the interdisciplinary mission of the Humanities Program.

  • This course will explore some of the purposes that have been ascribed to college, including development of personal character, participation in a community, conversation on intellectual matters, and preparation for citizenship.

    Fall 2020
    W 7pm-8:50pm
  • This seminar will explore the unique problems that popular leaders pose for democracies as they arise in appropriate texts from the history of political thought, reflections on constitutional government, and literature. 

    Fall 2020
    Th 9:25am-11:15am
  • A rare opportunity to read deeply Dante’s most enigmatic, restless work – the Divine Comedy – to study its influence, and to participate in the making of a new translation of Dante’s New Life *No knowledge of Italian required

    Fall 2020
    Th 9.25-11.15
  • The city of Rome from its legendary origins to its role in post-war Europe. Significant moments of Roman and world history considered through literature, intellectual history, political science, theology, and the arts.

    Fall 2020
    T 3:30pm-5:20pm
  • The truth can set you free, but of course it can also get you into trouble. We begin with the revolt of the Hebrews and the Socratic questioning of democracy, and end with various contemporary cases of censorship within and between regimes. 

    Fall 2020
    W 3:30-6:00pm
  • A writing-intensive sophomore seminar that explores the relationship between the real and the virtual in twentieth century literature and film. We consider what consequences images and media have for art, subjectivity, and politics. 

    Fall 2020
    TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

Core Seminars: Interpretations and Modernities

Humanities Majors are required to take one seminar in “Interpretations” and one seminar in “Modernities.”  Both core courses include substantial attention to methodological concerns that are fundamental to the humanities disciplines, and to distinctively humanistic activities like persuasion and interpretation. Click here for more information

  • HUMS 319. A study of the poetry of John Ashbery (1927-2017) through examining the films, music, and art that provoked his imagination and structured and inhabited his poems. Critiques of the interdisciplinarity of Ashbery’s poetics.

    Fall 2020
    Th 1:30p-3:20p
  • HUMS 192. What happens when intellectuals enter into politics? Do they betray a higher spiritual calling, or merely practice what they preach?  We will use methods of intellectual history to measure the social power of ideas. 

    Fall 2020
    T 9:25a-11:15a
  • HUMS 313. A seminar in the field of European intellectual history, based on primary sources. How philosophers, novelists, sociologists, and other thinkers developed and articulated a philosophy of dissent under communism. 

    Spring 2021
    M 1:30p-3:20p
  • HUMS 349This class explores the complexities of identity through  modern literature, philosophy and social theory, from psychoanalysis to critical race theory, romanticism to postmodernism, autobiography to autofiction. 

    Spring 2021
    T 3:30p-5:20p

Franke and Shulman Seminars

The Franke and Shulman Seminars are upper-level seminars for Humanities majors conducted in conjunction with the Franke and Shulman Lectures; a series of four visiting lectures in the Whitney Humanities Center.  Click here for more information about past seminars.

A careful reading of Karl Marx’s classic, Capital volume 1. During our work with the book, we also make reference to Capital volume 2, as well as interpretations by influential readers.

Fall 2020
M 3:30-5:20pm, W 6-8pm

Special Admissions

Below are a number of courses that require instructor permission, application, or have otherwise irregular entrance procedures. Click here for a complete list.

Nothing is simply ancient history in the Eternal City. The intersection of past and present, of arts, politics, and theology in a five-week, interdisciplinary study of Rome from its origins through today.

Summer 2020

The Life Worth Living Program is an effort to revive critical discussion in universities and the broader culture about the most important question of our lives: What is a life worth living?

Spring 2021