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.

  • Examination of the origins of human modernity in the light of evolutionary and archaeological evidence; merging evolutionary reasoning with humanistic theory to understand the impact of human culture on natural selection across the last 250,000 years.

    Spring 2020
    T 1:30-3:20
  • International security as humanity’s primary problem. America’s unique place for and against world order seen in classical literature and intellectual forays into Japan, Africa, Palestine, Persia, etc. Kissinger Papers at Yale provide case studies.

    Spring 2020
    M 9:25-11:15
  • The non-symbolic use of familiar objects in 20th and 21st century poetry. Alternating weeks in the Beinecke library archives and the Yale Art Gallery and scheduled readings and discussions with contemporary poets. 

    Spring 2020
    W 1:30-3:20
  • Why does the state kill its own? Why did “barbaric” practices not end with enlightenment? Answers come from texts in political theory, philosophy, history, and the social sciences. 

    Spring 2020
    T 3:30-6:30pm
  • 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. 

    Spring 2020
    T 9:25-11:15
  • This course analyzes antisemitism in the United States between the colonial period and the present. 

    Spring 2020
    MW 1:00-2:15

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 and past core courses

  • 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. 

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

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

    Spring 2021
    M 1:30p-3:20p

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

This course examines selected case studies of marginal and fringe practices of radio broadcasting across its history. Prominent experts, scholars, and practitioners visit the course. 

Fall 2019
M 1:30-3:20

This course draws from feminist, postcolonial, and indigenous studies, critical race theory, and multispecies thought to explore questions in metaphysics, history of science, and politics. 

Spring 2020
M 1:30-3:20

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 is the focus of this five-week, interdisciplinary study of Rome from its legendary origins through its evolving presence at the crossroads of Europe and the world.

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 2020