Divisional and Interdivisional Courses
Ranging from great texts of the western tradition to a more global exploration of the rich diversity of human expression, courses designated “Humanities” employ both traditional and contemporary approaches to the close analysis of cultural texts, practices and media and their relation to meaning and value. Many of the courses included here cultivate knowledge that provides a basis for many other courses in various departments. All these courses- with respect to their breadth of knowledge, their interdisciplinary nature, or their experimentation with new areas of inquiryexceed the confines of any single department within the Division of Humanities or any single concentration currently existing at the College. And as they do so, they provide models for the critical thought and creative inquiry that is at the heart of a liberal arts education.
These courses do not in themselves constitute a major program of study. Students should consult with the relevant department about acceptance of these courses as cognate credit for their proposed major or for inclusion in an independent major.
General Literary Studies is a program in the Division of Humanities. This program reflects the assumption that education persons will wish to extend their experience of literature beyond what has been written in their native tongue and beyond what they can read in the foreign languages they have mastered. The education of any student can be enriched by exploring literature in translation. Courses in General Literary Studies make possible the discovery of a variety of illuminating relationships among works in different languages. While the program does not offer a major, its courses serve the literary interests of all students and provide greater breadth for majors in the foreign languages and in English.
Humanities and Cultural Traditions
A foundation for further study in the liberal arts, developing skills of critical reading, writing, and imaginative thinking through the study of selected works from ancient Greece. Readings include Homeric epic, tragic drama, Platonic dialogues, Thucydides’ History and Aristotle’s Poetics.
Major works of Roman and early Christian culture, exploring private and public paths to happiness from Cicero’s ideal commonwealth to the City of God. Readings include Virgil’s Aeneid, Stoic and Epicurean philosophy, satire and drama, Christian scripture, St. Augustine, and Boethius. Emphasis on close reading, discussion, and short essay assignments.
Also listed as Social Studies 131. An introduction to China’s classic texts of philosophy, religion, history, and literature, from the Yin-Zhou period (ca. 18th c. B.C. to ca. 5th c. B.C.) through the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.). Traditional Chinese cosmology, morals, ethics, and institutions examined; also the various means (philosophical, historical, literary, and musical) of expressing these aspects of traditional Chinese culture.
Also listed as Social Studies 140. This interdisciplinary course explores European culture and the social and political forces that shaped it between 1100 and 1650, paying special attention to feudalism and the Crusades, the intellectual efflorescence of the 12th and 13th centuries, the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the advent of the Scientific Revolution. In our exploration of medieval and Renaissance culture we will draw on art, science, literature, political theory, philosophy and theology, music, the writings of mystics, and advice manuals for heads of households and would-be courtiers.
Also listed as General Literary Studies 251. This course takes a theoretical approach to canonical and contemporary children’s literature. Content is variable, but may include The Young Adult Problem Novel, Dystopian Fiction for the Young Adult Reader, and Constructions of Race, Slavery, Class and Gender in Children’s and Young Adult Literature.
Topics in Interdisciplinary Humanities
Also listed as Science 350 and Social Studies 350. How do social, biological, and cultural constraints affect decisions about reproduction? How do social institutions set and enforce the boundaries of what is possible and permissible? How do practices of reproduction generate meaning for human existence? This seminar examines conflicts between the freedom of the individual to make decisions about reproduction and the internal and external authorities of biology, evolution, the family, the state, health care systems, criminal justice systems, and religious hierarchies.
Humanities and Media or Cultural Studies
This course will examine the foundational concepts and methodologies in the field of cinema studies, focusing on “reading” film images and the comprehension of film as a language through the study of a range of critical approaches to film analysis. The course addresses cinema as an institution, introducing students to the history, theory, and criticism of moving image culture.
This course will examine the theory, criticism, and history of film genre. We will take a comparative approach, analyzing the stylistic and narrative conventions of specific genres, and their relationship to culture, race, sexuality, gender and national identity. We will discuss various film genres, including the musical, screwball comedy, melodrama, and film noir. The objective of this course is to explore the question of genre through a range of theoretical rubrics (structuralism, psychoanalysis, feminism and ideological criticism) to address both the social implications and aesthetic properties of cinema. This course requires weekly screenings (usually two films per week) along with the assigned class reading.
General Literary Studies
See German 227.
See German 233.
See Humanities 251.
See Japanese 279.
- College Catalog