Archive

This page features all courses that have been previously offered by the Humanities Program. Some of may be offered again in coming years. 

Spring 2021

  • This course explores some of the social and intellectual factors that shape college education today, including debates about the curriculum, career preparation, cost, and the relationship of college education to social class. 

    Spring 2021
    W 7pm-8pm
  • Introduction to techniques, strategies, and practices of reading through study of lyric poems, narrative texts, plays and performances, films, new and old, from a range of times and places. Junior seminar.

    Fall 2021, Spring 2021
    M 1:30-3:20
  • Reading literature by Toni Cade Bambara, Ursula Le Guin and James Joyce, Lewis Hyde, Georges Bataille and WEB Du Bois, we ask: What distinguishes a transaction from an exchange of gifts? 

    Spring 2021
    TTh 11:35-12:50
  • Exploration of the interaction of religion, history, and literature in the ancient Near East through study of its heroes, compared with heroes, heroic narratives, and hero cults from the Bible and  classical Greece.

    Spring 2021
    TTh 9-10:15
  • The course explores the complex political and social landscape of the Russian Revolution through the shifting perspectives of its main participants from Nicholas II to Lenin. Prereq: L5 Russian

    Spring 2021
    MW 1-2:15
  • 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 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 2021
    TTh 1-2:15
  • 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 2021
    TTh 1-2:15
  • This course explores the political afterlives of “Shakespeare” as a cultural icon and aesthetic touchstone for the Western tradition through a close reading of four plays alongside their adaptations across the globe.

    Spring 2021
    MW 9:25-10:15
  • This seminar considers productive collaborations and exchanges between literature and sciences since the mid-20th century in science fiction, popular science writing, and the history and philosophy of science.

    Spring 2021
    M 3:30-5:20
  • 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 2021
    W 3:30pm-5:20pm
  • Artifacts of Greek art and architecture made in honor of Dionysos, the god of wine and theater, whose worship involved ecstatic experiences. Objects and structures such as painted vases and theaters.

    Spring 2021
    Th 1:30-3:20
  • 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.

    Fall 2021, Spring 2021
    TTh 11:35-12:50
  • 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 2021
    MW 6-7:15p
  • A critical examination of representations of the Orient in French literature and art from 17th to the 20th centuries. Discussion supplemented by visits to Yale collections. Prereq: L5 French

    Spring 2021
    MW 11:35-12:50
  • This course analyzes creative rewritings of ancient Greek literature in contemporary Anglophone fiction by diverse cultural, ethnic, racial, religious, and queer authors, spanning the novel, lyric poetry, and drama.

    Spring 2021
    W 1:30pm-3:20pm
  • This is a course on the interrelations between philosophical and literary writing beginning with the English Revolution and ending with the beginnings of Romanticism. 

    Spring 2021
    TTh 11:35am-12:50pm
  • Do visual representations of political principles produce, reproduce, and disturb political relations? An examination of art and metaphorical thinking in politics from Plato to the state.

    Spring 2021
    F 3:30-5:20pm
  • The French Revolution of 1789 and its legacies, as viewed through the late-eighteenth-century debates about democracy, equality, representative government that shaped an enduring agenda for historical and political thought.

    Spring 2021
    W 1:30-3:20pm
  • 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, Spring 2021
    T 3:30-5:20
  • 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. 

    Spring 2021
    TTh 11:35am-12:50pm
  • The incorporation of women into Greek political thought raises enduring questions—about hierarchy, rule, and justice; courage, war, and mourning; citizenship, friendship, marriage, and motherhood, etc.

    Spring 2021
    TTh 1pm-2:15pm
  • What is the underworld? What questions have different ideas about the underworld posed about mortality, freedom, and goodness? Topics include dreams, hell, ghosts, the unconscious, and string theory.

    Sophomore standing required.

    Spring 2021
    M 9:25am-11:15am
  • The course discusses exemplary novels in German language after 1945 from West and East Germany and Germany after Reunification, as well as from Austria and Switzerland. All works are provided in English translation and German.

    Spring 2021
    F 11:30am-1:20pm
  • 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 2021
    TTh 2:30-3:45pm
  • This course explores the bidirectional relationship between the art of moving pictures and the science of fundamental physical laws at the turn of 19th and 20th centuries. No detailed knowledge of calculus required.

    Spring 2021
    MW 9am-10:15am
  • Today, we are witnessing the intensification of politics of nostalgia. This course explores that history, and asks the question: how can we use our nostalgia for productive, rather than destructive, ends?

    Spring 2021
    MW 11:35am-12:50pm
  • Introduction to the classical and modern theory of sovereignty in the context of G.R.R. Martin’s popular Game of Thrones series and, secondarily, the television series. 

    Spring 2021
    MW 9am-10:15am
  • An in-depth discussion of the structure and the recent radical transformations of the “critical public sphere,” a cornerstone of liberal-democratic society, as a result of politics, technology, and economy. 

    Spring 2021
    Th 1:30pm-3:20pm
  • Three faculty – New York Times opinion journalist Ross Douthat, political theorist Bryan Garsten, and historian Sam Moyn – will debate questions at the heart of today’s moral and political controversies. 

    Spring 2021
    TTh 10:30am-11:20am
  • 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 2021
    TTh 2:30pm-3:45pm
  • Students apply to this workshop with a project in mind. Practical translation is supplemented by readings in the history of translation practice and theory, and by reflections by practitioners.

    Prereq: HUMS 427

    Fall 2021, Spring 2021
    Th 3:30pm-5:20pm
  • How members of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim communities thought of and interacted with members of the other two cultures during the Middle Ages: the rhetoric of otherness, purity or impurity, and models of community.

    Spring 2021
    T 1:30pm-3:20pm
  • Key texts in European philosophy concerned with the question of art; Texts that try to bridge the divide between art and philosophy; art works that assert their own distinct voice within theoretical discourse. Sophomore Seminar

    Spring 2021
    M 9:25-11:15am

Fall 2020

  • 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
  • Taking a pan-European perspective, the course examines quotidian, civilian experiences of war during a conflict of unusual scope and duration. Key works of wartime and postwar fiction, film, diaries, and memoirs.

    Fall 2020
    M 1:30-3:20pm

Spring 2020

  • 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
  • How does beauty matter to how we aspire to live?  We read the Plato’s Symposium and Phaedrus, Aristotle, Stoics, virtue ethics, feminist aesthetics, and critical race theory. 

    Spring 2020
    W 9:25-11:15am
  • Mystical verse plays a vital role in both Judaism and Islam. This class looks at key works from both of these bodies of verse and examines the cultural and historical matrices that gave rise to poetry.

    Spring 2020
    W 1:30-3:20
  • Aristotle called statecraft one of the practical arts and cited athletics as a case in point: if you can grasp the complexities of a sport, you’ll be prepared to live life at its best. Baseball stands out in this quest.

    Spring 2020
    F 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
  • Antisemitism in the United States between the colonial period and the present. Examining anti-Jewish practices and discourses, students learn to analyze anti-semitism in comparison with racism and xenophobia

    Spring 2020
    MW 1:00-2:15
  • 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. 

    Spring 2020
    M 9:25-11:15
  • Every major era in history can only fully be understood by investigating the war or wars that lie at its core. Wars of Athens and Rome, Thirty Years’ War, Louis XIV to Napoleon, and American wartime experiences.

    Spring 2020
    W 9:25-11:15
  • 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

Fall 2019

  • The role of intellectuals in politics, with a focus on social, cultural, and political upheavals in Europe during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Modern answers to the question of why ideas and intellectuals matter.

    Fall 2019
    T 9:25-11:15am
  • The representation of the human body in law and literature. Bodies as physical structures that inhabit multiple realms, including material, cultural, historical, and symbolic. Sources include film, television, and journalism.

    Fall 2019
    Th 1:30-3:20
  • Close examination of Aristotle’s observations on storytelling to identify the universal principles that all good stories share, and investigate how these principles connect us all despite cultural, ethnic, and geographical differences.

    Fall 2019
    Tuesday 1:30-3:20pm
  • This course explores the innovative narrative strategies that have ushered in a new Golden Age of TV. Careful visual and textual analysis of episodes is complemented by critical readings and comparisons to literature and cinema.

    Fall 2019
    TTh 11.35-12.50
  • Is the demise of the trial at hand? The trial as cultural achievement, considered as the epitome of humanistic inquiry, where all is brought to bear on a crucial matter in an uncertain context. Inquires into character, doubt, and diagnosis.

    Fall 2019
    MW 2:30-3:45
  • A close examination of key works by three of the art’s greatest directors: Fritz Lang, Jean Renoir, Ingmar Bergman. Analysis of cinema’s relation to social history and other arts and the theory and practice of film criticism.

    Fall 2019
    W 1:30-3:20; M: 6:30 (screenings)