Featured Courses

Below are a list of courses devised in the interdisciplinary spirit of the Humanities Program that are currently on offer. Not all courses are taught by faculty with official appointments in the Humanities Program, but all share the outlook and mission of the Program.

Click here to see past courses

Fulfills Foundational Works Requirement

  • This course focuses on verbal artistry and textual analysis; on dramaturgy, staging and the nature of spectatorial experience, as on developing the craft of persuasive argument through writing in relation to European tragedies.

    Spring 2022
    MW 11:35am-12:50pm
  • Medieval understandings of womanhood examined through analysis of writings by and/or about women. Introduction to the premodern Western canon and assessment of the role that women played in its construction.

    Spring 2022, Spring 2021
    TTh 1-2:15
  • This course represents an introduction to the most important philosophical thinkers and texts in Chinese history, ranging from roughly 500 BC–1500 AD. Topics include ethics, political philosophy, epistemology, and ontology. 

    Spring 2022
    MW 10:30am-11:20am +1

Fulfills Literature Requirement

  • This course focuses on verbal artistry and textual analysis; on dramaturgy, staging and the nature of spectatorial experience, as on developing the craft of persuasive argument through writing in relation to European tragedies.

    Spring 2022
    MW 11:35am-12:50pm
  • This seminar discusses the workings of ambition and conscience in some exemplary plays by Shakespeare. We will consider how political legitimacy is achieved, and how it is perpetuated. 

    Spring 2022
    T 9:25am-11:15am
  • A survey of major French novels, considering style and story, literary and intellectual movements, and historical contexts. Writers include Balzac, Flaubert, Proust, Camus, and Sartre. Readings in translation. One section conducted in French.

    Spring 2022; Spring 2021
    TTh 1:30pm-2:20pm
  • Exploration of Arabian Nights, a classic of world literature. Topics include antecedents, themes and later prose, and graphic and film adaptations.

    Spring 2022, Spring 2021
    TTh 1-2:15
  • We will discuss the major poems and the major prose statements of imaginative purpose by William Wordsworth and Percy Shelley. 

    Spring 2022
    MW 11:35am-12:50pm
  • Medieval understandings of womanhood examined through analysis of writings by and/or about women. Introduction to the premodern Western canon and assessment of the role that women played in its construction.

    Spring 2022, Spring 2021
    TTh 1-2:15
  • What does it mean to read poetry as a poet? Or, as someone interested in how poems get made? This course reads a trajectory of poetic influence in English language poetry that stretches from Shakespeare into the twenty-first century.

    Spring 2022
    W 1:30pm-3:20pm
  • In-depth examination of James Baldwin’s canon, tracking his work as an American artist, citizen, and witness to United States society, politics, and culture during the Cold War.

    Spring 2022, Spring 2021
    MW 4:30pm-5:20pm + 1
  • The course looks closely at detective stories, novels and films, with attention to the narrative structure of criminal enigma, logical investigation and denouement (whodunnit), and considers the meaning of “genre” more broadly. 

    Spring 2022; Spring 2021
    TTh 2:30-3:45pm
  • Unclassifiable in its combination of romanticism, realism, and modernism, The Strudlhof Steps or, Melzer and the Depth of the Years might be the ultimate “cult classic” or Geheimtipp (“secret tip”) of German literature. 

    Spring 2022
    W 1:30pm-3:20pm + 1
  • This course surveys the history of the picture book, from the early modern period to the late 20th century, considering the Anglo-American tradition within a broader European context and in relationship to the picturebook tradition in Japan.

    Spring 2022
    T 1:30pm-3:20pm
  • We will consider how poetry attempts to make sense of our interaction with the earth at important moments of change, from pre-industrial agriculture to global capitalism and the Anthropocene.

    Spring 2022
    W 1:30pm-3:20pm
  • Study of the Bible as a literature—a collection of works exhibiting a variety of attitudes toward the conflicting claims of tradition and originality, historicity and literariness.

    Spring 2022
    TTh 2:30pm-3:45pm
  • Theater artists from Aeschylus to Alvin Ailey evoke the immensity, mutability, & mystery of the sea that surrounds us. Their work asks us questions about good & evil, life & death, the fate of the planet, & deep-sea bioluminescence.

    Spring 2022
    M 9:25am-11:15am + 1
  • This course combines a seminar on the history and theory of translation with a hands-on workshop.  A series of case studies comparing multiple translations of given literary works and classic statements about translation.

    Spring 2022, Spring 2021
    TTh 2:30pm-3:45pm

Fulfills Fine Arts Requirement

  • A new course offering an introduction to medieval song in England via modern poetic theory, material culture, affect theory, and sound studies. Song will be studied through foregrounding music as well as words, words as well as music.

    Spring 2022
    MW 1pm-2:15pm
  • This course surveys the history of the picture book, from the early modern period to the late 20th century, considering the Anglo-American tradition within a broader European context and in relationship to the picturebook tradition in Japan.

    Spring 2022
    T 1:30pm-3:20pm
  • Against the backdrop of European colonialism, post-1945 labor migration, and the so-called “European Refugee Crisis” in 2015, this course analyzes media representations of migration to Europe in the 21st century. 

    Spring 2022
    Th 3:30pm-5:20pm

Fulfills Humanities and the Sciences Requirement

  • In this course we will reflect on the relation between Galileo’s anti-Aristotelian physics and Hobbes’ political system by reading key texts by both thinkers along with an array of interpretations and criticisms of Hobbes. 

    Spring 2022, Spring 2021
    W 3:30pm-5:20pm
  • What can the Humanities tell us about climate change? Literary, political, historical, and religious texts on how individuals depend on, and struggle against, the natural environment in order to survive.

    Spring 2022, Fall 2021, Spring 2021
    TTh 11:35-12:50
  • 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 2022; Spring 2020
    T 1:30-3:20
  • We will consider how poetry attempts to make sense of our interaction with the earth at important moments of change, from pre-industrial agriculture to global capitalism and the Anthropocene.

    Spring 2022
    W 1:30pm-3:20pm
  • This course explores the Western conception of the human place in the natural world as it has shifted across four centuries.

    Spring 2022
    W 3:30pm-5:20pm + 1
  • 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 2022
    T 1:30pm-3:20pm

Fulfills Intellectual History and Historical Analysis Requirement

  • This course represents an introduction to the most important philosophical thinkers and texts in Chinese history, ranging from roughly 500 BC–1500 AD. Topics include ethics, political philosophy, epistemology, and ontology. 

    Spring 2022
    MW 10:30am-11:20am +1
  • In-depth examination of James Baldwin’s canon, tracking his work as an American artist, citizen, and witness to United States society, politics, and culture during the Cold War.

    Spring 2022, Spring 2021
    MW 4:30pm-5:20pm + 1
  • How and why contemporary societies continue to symbolize sacred and profane meanings, investing these meanings with materiality and shaping them aesthetically.

    Spring 2022
    M 3:30pm-5:20pm
  • Comparative survey of ancient discourses about wisdom from China, India, the Near East, Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Topics include teaching, scheming, and dying.

    Spring 2022
    TTh 11:35am-12:50pm
  • 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 2022
    W 1:30pm-3:20pm
  • This course discusses how, where, and when to identify the other of alienation or a non-alienated way of life or reconciliation in Rousseau, Hegel, Marx; Simmel, Lukács, Sartre; Lefebvre, J.B. Foster, J.W. Moore and others.

    Spring 2022
    M 1:30pm-3:20pm + 1