HUMS 116, Contexts of College Education

Meeting Time: 
W 7pm-8pm

Course Description:

College is a crucial institution in which our society works through its expectations for young people. This course of 13 lectures in the spring semester explores some of the social and intellectual factors that shape college education today, including debates about the curriculum, career preparation, the cost of higher education, and the relationship of college education to social class. Readings from recent writers and memoirists on education including Ta-Nehisi Coates, Andrew Delbanco, Ross Douthat, J. D. Vance, and Tara Westover, as well as some more technical writings on economics and sociology. In-person lectures will also be recorded and available for remote enrollment. Those who are able to do so should attend the in-person lectures. Appropriate for first-year students and sophomores.

Intended for first-year students and sophomores.

Led by:

Pericles Lewis, Douglas Tracy Smith Professor of Comparative Literature and Professor of English, serves as Vice President for Global Strategy and Vice Provost for Academic Initiatives at Yale University.  Reporting to the President and the Provost, he is responsible for ensuring that the global efforts of the university serve Yale’s academic goals and priorities. Lewis works closely with colleagues across the university to provides strategic guidance for Yale’s many international programs and support for teaching and learning in all schools of the university. His primary responsibility is to enhance Yale’s international presence as a leader in undergraduate and professional education and a world-class research institution.

From 2012 to 2017, Lewis served as founding president of Yale-NUS College, a collaboration between Yale and the National University of Singapore. Under his leadership, the college developed into a thriving model of residential liberal arts education. He oversaw the articulation of the college’s mission, the development of its curriculum, and the recruitment of students, faculty, and staff. 

Lewis’s research shows how developments in literary form emerge out of a background of social, political and existential ferment. His work focuses on the modernists who revolutionized European literature in the early twentieth century. The author or editor of six books, he was also the founding editor of Yale’s Modernism Lab, an early digital humanities project. A former member of the advisory board of the American Comparative Literature Association, Lewis serves on several editorial boards and has written for the Chronicle of Higher EducationThe Harvard International Review, and Times Higher Education.