General Education Sequences | Writing Seminars | Collegiate Courses

General Education Sequences

All first-year students take a Humanities sequence that engages them in the pleasure and challenge of humanistic works through the close reading of literary, historical, and philosophical texts. These are not survey courses; rather, they work to establish methods for appreciating and analyzing the meaning and power of exemplary texts. The class discussions and the writing assignments are based on textual analysis. In combination with these courses, students are required to take a zero-unit seminar (HUMA 19100 Humanities Writing Seminars) that introduces the analysis and practice of expert academic writing. 

All HUMA 10000-level sequences that meet general education requirements, listed below, are available as either a two-quarter sequence (Autumn, Winter) or as a three-quarter sequence (Autumn, Winter, Spring). Once students begin a sequence, they are expected to remain in the same sequence. Students are expected to complete this foundational requirement in their first year. NOTE: Students registered in any of the sequences below must attend the first and second class sessions or their registration will be dropped.

The sequences that fulfill the general education requirements in Humanities are listed here. Descriptions of individual courses are below.

HUMA 11000-11100-11200Readings in World Literature I-II-III300
HUMA 11500-11600-11700Philosophical Perspectives I-II-III300
HUMA 12050-12150-12250Greece and Rome: Texts, Traditions, Transformations I-II-III300
HUMA 12300-12400-12500Human Being and Citizen I-II-III300
HUMA 13500-13600-13700Introduction to the Humanities I-II-III300
HUMA 14000-14100-14200Reading Cultures: Collection, Travel, Exchange I-II-III300
HUMA 16000-16100-16200Media Aesthetics: Image, Text, Sound I-II-III300
HUMA 17000-17100-17200Language and the Human I-II-III300
HUMA 18000-18100-18200Poetry and the Human I-II-III300

For students preparing for medical school: A three-quarter sequence in Humanities is recommended. Those able to complete only a two-quarter sequence in their first year should plan to take a writing-intensive English Language and Literature course when their schedule allows. This English course, however, cannot be applied to the general education requirement in the humanities.

Course Descriptions for General Education Sequences

HUMA 11000-11100-11200. Readings in World Literature I-II-III.

This Humanities general education sequence examines the relationship between the individual and society in a rich, diverse, and exciting selection of literary texts from across the globe and from the earliest literary text to today. We address the challenges faced by readers confronting foreign literatures, reading across time and cultures, and reading texts in translation.

HUMA 11000. Readings in World Literature I. 100 Units.

The theme for the Autumn Quarter of Readings in World Literature is "The Epic". Beginning with the oldest extant literary text known to mankind, The Epic of Gilgamesh, and moving on to India's national epic The Mahabharata as well as The Odyssey, we study epic texts that are central to the literary and cultural traditions of various regions and peoples of the world. As an introduction to the study of the Humanities, this course will help you develop your skills in textual analysis, independent critical thinking, and expository writing. As a course on literature, it will pay particular attention to issues such as narrative structure, verse form, performativity and poetic devices, but also to the question of how literature might matter for our lives here and now. As a course that aims to address world literatures, this class will focus on ways in which texts from different cultural backgrounds articulate the cultural values, existential anxieties, and power structures of the societies that produced them.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): These courses must be taken in sequence. Students registered in this sequence must attend the first and second class sessions or their registration will be dropped.

HUMA 11100. Readings in World Literature II. 100 Units.

The theme for the Winter Quarter of Readings in World Literature is "Autobiography/ Writing the Self." This course examines the nature of autobiographical writing from a wide range of cultural and historical contexts, including texts such as Augustine's Confessions, Sei Shonagon's The Pillow Book, Vladimir Nabokov's Speak Memory, Wole Soyinka's Aké and Alison Bechdel's graphic memoir Fun Home. While last quarter focused on the genre of the epic-texts that imagine and even create a people's sense of a shared past and a shared culture-this quarter will focus on how individuals imagine their own, particular lives. We will explore, among other issues, how the self is constructed through reading and writing, the relationship between memory and identity, the claims of authenticity or truth, the oscillation between interior and exterior life, and the peculiarities of individual voice.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): HUMA 11000
Note(s): These courses must be taken in sequence.

HUMA 11200. Readings in World Literature III. 100 Units.

Students wishing to take the third quarter of the Readings in World Literature sequence will be able to choose from a selection of different topics that varies slightly from year to year, such as "Gender and Literature," "Crime Fiction and Murder Mysteries," "Reading the Middle Ages: Europe and Asia," "Colonial Fictions: Novel of Exoticisms, Adventure, and East and West", "Masterpieces of Poetry," "The Nobel Prize in Literature," or "Fictions of the Modern City".

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): HUMA 11100
Note(s): These courses must be taken in sequence.

HUMA 11500-11600-11700. Philosophical Perspectives I-II-III.

This sequence considers philosophy in two lights: as an ongoing series of arguments addressed to certain fundamental questions about the place of human beings in the world and as a historically situated discipline interacting with and responding to developments in other areas of thought and culture. Readings tend to divide between works of philosophy and contemporaneous works of literature, but they may also include texts of scientific, religious, or legal practice.

HUMA 11500. Philosophical Perspectives I. 100 Units.

In Autumn Quarter, we examine fundamental ethical issues--about virtue, the good life, and the role of the individual in society--in the works of ancient Greek writers as well as 20th-century writers in conversation with them. Texts are drawn from Plato, Aristotle, the Greek tragedians, Martin Luther King and others.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): These courses must be taken in sequence. Students registered in this sequence must attend the first and second class sessions or their registration will be dropped.

HUMA 11600. Philosophical Perspectives II. 100 Units.

Winter Quarter explores metaphysical and epistemological questions as they confronted participants and spectators of the 'scientific revolution'. Problems of skepticism, self-understanding and the social status of knowledge are at the fore. Authors tend to include Descartes, Newton, Voltaire, and Mary Shelley, among others.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): HUMA 11500
Note(s): These courses must be taken in sequence.

HUMA 11700. Philosophical Perspectives III. 100 Units.

In Spring Quarter we explore the constitution of agency and personal morality from the vantage point of Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment philosophy and novels. Authors include Hume, Kant, Nietzsche and Jane Austen.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): HUMA 11600
Note(s): These courses must be taken in sequence.

HUMA 12050-12150-12250. Greece and Rome: Texts, Traditions, Transformations I-II-III.

The Greece and Rome sequence is about traditions—not as stable, pre-given structures, but as bodies of texts that influence and transform each other across historical time periods. Students gain a grounding in some major texts of the Classical Greek and Latin traditions (read in English translation) as well as their reception at pivotal moments in modernity. These texts have sustained a community of reading, commentary, and debate ever since their inception, and they continue to resonate through our institutions and values today. In our encounter with them, we will develop the tools to read in inquiring and original ways, as well as to defend our readings with respect to the texts. Each quarter is devoted to one or two genres, and each includes Greek, Roman, and modern texts that build on each other. Autumn opens with epic works by Homer, Vergil, and Milton. Winter sees us delve into the paired genres of tragedy and history, examining how each represents society through distinct modes of narrative and speech: past authors have included Aeschylus, Herodotus, Livy, Seneca, Tacitus, Shakespeare, and Racine. Spring alternates between comedy (Aristophanes, Plautus, Shakespeare) as a vehicle for negotiating social norms and the subject of love in philosophical and literary perspectives (Plato’s Symposium, Lucretius, the ancient novel, Shelley’s Frankenstein).

HUMA 12050. Greece and Rome: Texts, Traditions, Transformations I. 100 Units.

Autumn Quarter examines the epic tradition with a focus on warfare, foundation, and the social order. Readings cover Homer's Iliad, Vergil's Aeneid, and Milton's Paradise Lost, with selections from the lyric poetry of Sappho, Auden, and Wheatley.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): These courses must be taken in sequence. Students registered in this sequence must attend the first and second class sessions or their registration will be dropped.

HUMA 12150. Greece and Rome: Texts, Traditions, Transformations II. 100 Units.

The Winter Quarter focuses on how tragedy and history confront familial, social, and external conflict in different genres. Readings cover Aeschylus' "Oresteia," selections from the histories of Herodotus, Livy, and Tacitus, tragedies by Seneca, and several of Shakespeare's history plays.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): HUMA 12050
Note(s): These courses must be taken in sequence.

HUMA 12250. Greece and Rome: Texts, Traditions, Transformations III. 100 Units.

Spring Quarter alternates between comedy as a vehicle for negotiating social norms and the subject of love in philosophical and literary perspectives. In comedy years, social integration is treated with a lighter touch than in Autumn and Winter Quarters, through the texts of Aristophanes, Plautus, and Shakespeare. In the alternate years, love is explored through the philosophical texts of Plato's Symposium and Lucretius' The Way Things Are, as well as works of Shakespeare and Shelley's Frankenstein.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): HUMA 12150
Note(s): These courses must be taken in sequence.

HUMA 12300-12400-12500. Human Being and Citizen I-II-III.

Human Being and Citizen explores the needs and aspirations that draw human beings together in formal and informal communities and the problems that we encounter as social animals in the pursuit of human flourishing. We investigate matters of justice, the law, and leadership, and consider these together with modes of human interaction from contractual relations to friendship and kinship ties in both their legislative and affective dimensions (especially love, anger, shame, grief, and faith). We think about the role of divinity (from Greek mythology to modern Christianity) in shaping the ways our texts conceive of these topics, and we consider ideas about the formation of the self. Our readings are predominantly drawn from the western tradition—Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Dante, Shakespeare, Kant, among others—and these canonical texts do not go unquestioned. Rather, by entering into conversation with one another, they provide the intellectual resources for an inquiry that leads ultimately into an exploration of contemporary questions of rights, representation, and belonging.

HUMA 12300. Human Being and Citizen I. 100 Units.

The autumn quarter explores the ways that Ancient Greek and the Abrahamic text of Genesis conceive of, express ideals about, and articulate tensions in conceptions and practices of justice, human and divine law, and emotion. We examine the ways these conceptions figure in literary, philosophical and religious texts concerned with rupture and continuity in the social order. We consider the ways human beings come together in groups (families, cities, armies, but also beliefs and aspirations) and strive to understand what binds these groups as structures of meaning-making and social practice. Texts include Homer's Iliad, the book of Genesis, Plato's Apology and Laches, and Sophocles' Antigone.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): These courses must be taken in sequence. Students registered in this sequence must attend the first and second class sessions or their registration will be dropped.

HUMA 12400. Human Being and Citizen II. 100 Units.

In the winter quarter, we examine conceptions of the human good in connection with practices of the self as they pertain to virtue, the social order, spiritual beliefs and practices, and community. We ask what constitutes human flourishing and explore relations and tensions between individual self-formation and the social and political good. Texts include Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, Augustine's Confessions, and Dante's Inferno.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): HUMA 12300
Note(s): These courses must be taken in sequence.

HUMA 12500. Human Being and Citizen III. 100 Units.

The spring quarter addresses matters of community, law, freedom, morality, and ideology in a (broadly speaking) modern idiom of citizenship and its attendant idea of the human being as a rights-bearing subject. We ask what (whether culture, religion, reason itself) might ground our moral judgments, and what the limits and freedoms are of thinking the human being as a subject accorded rights through instruments of philosophical or political law. Resourced by our autumn and winter texts, we consider the impact of thinking matters of race, ethnicity, and gender through a modern lens and how these considerations both challenge and draw on the past. Texts include Shakespeare's The Tempest, Kant's Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, and Baldwin's No Name in the Street.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): HUMA 12400
Note(s): These courses must be taken in sequence.

HUMA 13500-13600-13700. Introduction to the Humanities I-II-III.

This sequence emphasizes writing, both as an object of study and as a practice. As we study the texts of the course, we pay special attention to questions about how they function as instances of writing: How does the writing of a text shape the way that we understand it? How does writing shape our sense of what we are doing in the humanities? Such questions about writing will lead to similar questions about language in general: How is our understanding shaped by the language we use? In the Autumn Quarter, we'll ask these questions within classical and familiar norms for using language to argue, to analyze, to be accurate, to be logical, and so on. In Winter and Spring Quarters, we'll move to challenges, and radical criticisms, of these familiar ideas. As to practice: The writing workload of the course is significant. Students will write at least one writing assignment each week, and we discuss these assignments in small writing workshops. This is not a course in remedial writing; rather it is a course for students who are particularly interested in writing or who want to become particularly proficient writers. Readings for the course are selected not thematically or chronologically, but to serve the focus on writing.

HUMA 13500. Introduction to the Humanities I. 100 Units.

In the Autumn Quarter, we read two of Plato's Dialogues, the Declaration of Independence, selections from Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War, and a Shakespeare play.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Autumn. Sequence not offered every year.
Note(s): These courses must be taken in sequence. Students registered in this sequence must attend the first and second class sessions or their registration will be dropped.

HUMA 13600. Introduction to the Humanities II. 100 Units.

In the Winter Quarter, we read Descartes' Meditations, Conrad's Heart of Darkness, further selections from Thucydides' History, Woolf's The Waves, and Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Winter. Sequence not offered every year.
Prerequisite(s): HUMA 13500
Note(s): These courses must be taken in sequence.

HUMA 13700. Introduction to the Humanities III. 100 Units.

In the Spring Quarter, we read Plato's Phaedrus with Derrida's "Pharmakon," Harriet Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, still more selections from Thucydides' History, an experimental feminist essay, and a graphic novel, perhaps Alison Bechdel's Fun Home or Chris Ware's Building Stories.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Spring. Sequence not offered every year.
Prerequisite(s): HUMA 13600
Note(s): These courses must be taken in sequence.

HUMA 14000-14100-14200. Reading Cultures: Collection, Travel, Exchange I-II-III.

This sequence introduces students to the critical analysis of culture, principally through the interpretation of literary works drawn from a wide variety of traditions and periods, ranging from Homeric epic to folktale to the contemporary novel. Our overarching goal is to study the specific kinds of questions that literature and narrative make possible to ask about a cultural or historical moment—in other words, to think about how literary texts can variously express, differ from, or even critique the cultural situations out of which they emerge. To this end, students in this sequence will cultivate skills in textual interpretation and narrative analysis, while also learning how to formulate broad critical questions concerning the relationship of literary works to the worlds they inhabit as well as regarding the meaning and definition of culture more generally. Each quarter of the sequence considers a theme or concept that is central to the analysis of culture: collection and accumulation, in the Autumn; mobility, movement, and travel in Winter; and exchange in Spring. Works considered in the Autumn include Zora Neale Hurston’s Mules and Men, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land; in the Winter, Homer’s Odyssey, Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, and Tomás Rivera’s And the Earth Did Not Devour Him; and Richard Wright’s Native Son, Honoré de Balzac’s Le Père Goriot, and Xiao Hong’s The Field of Life and Death in the Spring.

HUMA 14000. Reading Cultures: Collection, Travel, Exchange I. 100 Units.

The Autumn Quarter of Reading Cultures is devoted to the analysis of "collection" as a form of cultural activity. Reading texts such as Ovid's Metamorphoses, The Arabian Nights, and Zora Neale Hurston's Mules and Men that offer collections of stories in lieu of a single tale, we consider the extent to which culture comes into being through the accumulation, assemblage and transmission of narratives. In other words, students in this quarter learn how to think about narrative and storytelling in terms of the production, organization and control of culture. Who gets to collect and to tell the stories of a culture, we ask, and what difference does their identity make to cultural representation?

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): These courses must be taken in sequence. Students registered in this sequence must attend the first and second class sessions or their registration will be dropped.

HUMA 14100. Reading Cultures: Collection, Travel, Exchange II. 100 Units.

The Winter Quarter of Reading Cultures considers the centrality of movement, migration and travel to the study of culture. Turning to texts such as Harriet Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Jamaica Kincaid's A Small Place and Tomás Rivera's And the Earth Did Not Devour Him, we ask how cultures have retained their coherence, historically, under conditions of migration, diaspora and violent or enforced movement. We also consider the ways that cultures themselves travel and change, and analyze the ways that language and narrative function as mediums of cultural movement and transmission.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): HUMA 14000
Note(s): These courses must be taken in sequence.

HUMA 14200. Reading Cultures: Collection, Travel, Exchange III. 100 Units.

The Spring Quarter of Reading Cultures focuses on exchange as a fundamental cultural activity. Here, we consider literary texts such as Xiao Hong's The Field of Life and Death, Richard Wright's Native Son and Honoré de Balzac's Le Père Goriot, as well as theoretical texts by Karl Marx and Marcel Mauss that raise questions about the cultural function of exchange. Thus in this quarter, students study the ways in which literary works from different cultural traditions have offered unique critiques of and pointed responses to the prevailing economic systems of their times.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): HUMA 14100
Note(s): These courses must be taken in sequence.

HUMA 16000-16100-16200. Media Aesthetics: Image, Text, Sound I-II-III.

This sequence examines a question central to humanistic thought across cultures and historical periods: How do different kinds of media allow us to perceive and represent our world? We study how painting, photography, writing, film, song, and other media have allowed for new forms of knowledge, expression, and experience—but have also been seen as ethically dangerous or politically disruptive. The sequence traces philosophical and aesthetic debates about media from antiquity to the present in various cultural contexts; we examine discussions of image, text, and sound in Plato, Shakespeare, Nietzsche, W. E. B. Du Bois, Alfred Hitchcock, Toni Morrison, and recent critical theory. Throughout, we develop attention to the “aesthetics” of media by closely studying how specific aspects of complex works of art and literature lead audiences to think and feel in particular ways. In Spring Quarter, students may take a third quarter of humanities or shift into a related general education course in the arts (MAAD 16210).

HUMA 16000. Media Aesthetics: Image, Text, Sound I. 100 Units.

Autumn Quarter focuses on images, imitation, and seeing. Images may seem to simply reflect the real, but they just as often distort or distance viewers from it. We explore the strangeness of images through Diego Velasquez's Las Meninas, Plato's Republic, Hitchcock's Vertigo, and Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): These courses must be taken in sequence. Students registered in this sequence must attend the first and second class sessions or their registration will be dropped.

HUMA 16100. Media Aesthetics: Image, Text, Sound II. 100 Units.

Winter Quarter focuses on writing, reading, and signs. Language is an extraordinarily flexible medium for representing events and experiences-but it also raises distinctive challenges of interpretation, decoding, and translation. We examine some of these challenges through Plato's Phaedrus, Shakespeare's The Tempest, Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon, and Alison Bechdel's Fun Home.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): HUMA 16000
Note(s): These courses must be taken in sequence.

HUMA 16200. Media Aesthetics: Image, Text, Sound III. 100 Units.

Spring Quarter focuses on sound, music, and listening. How do sounds or noises become meaningful? Why are music and voice so effective at expressing desire, suffering, or even overwhelming the intellect? We explore these and other questions through William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience, W.E.B. Du Bois's The Souls of Black Folk, Nietzsche's The Birth of Tragedy, contemporary albums, and sound art.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): HUMA 16100
Note(s): These courses must be taken in sequence. For the option of taking the third quarter of Media Aesthetics as the general education requirement in the arts, see MAAD 16210.

HUMA 17000-17100-17200. Language and the Human I-II-III.

Language is at the center of what it means to be human and is instrumental in most humanistic pursuits. With it, we understand others, describe, plan, narrate, learn, persuade, argue, reason, and think. This sequence aims to provoke us to critically examine common assumptions that determine our understanding of language—and more specifically, the ways we, as speakers or writers, use it to communicate meaning.

HUMA 17000. Language and the Human I. 100 Units.

The Autumn Quarter of this sequence explores fundamental questions about the nature of language, concentrating on the conventional character of language as a system, and language in the individual. We discuss: the properties of human languages (spoken and signed) as systems of communication distinct from other forms (including animal and artificial systems), whether some languages are more primitive than others, how language is acquired, used, changes, and evolves, what it means to be bilingual. Typical texts used include Plato's Cratylus, parts of Finnegans Wake, Locke, Truffaut's L'enfant sauvage, Turing.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): These courses must be taken in sequence. Students registered in this sequence must attend the first and second class sessions or their registration will be dropped.

HUMA 17100. Language and the Human II. 100 Units.

The Winter Quarter is generally devoted to examining how language mediates between the individual and society, its origin, spread, evolution, and development, and its role in power, identity, culture, nationalism, thought, and persuasion, as well as its use in naming, politeness, irony, and metaphor. Further examined are the nature of translation, writing systems, language and artificial intelligence, invented languages, and to what extent language shapes or influences perception of the world and cognition. Readings typically from Whorf, Orwell, Grice, and others.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): HUMA 17000
Note(s): These courses must be taken in sequence.

HUMA 17200. Language and the Human III. 100 Units.

The topics addressed in the Spring Quarter vary from year to year: We may look at language and poetry, the nature of metaphor, rhetorical force of language. These questions are examined through classic and contemporary primary and secondary literature, with readings which may be drawn from literary, linguistic, philological, and philosophical traditions (in varying years, from parts of the Bible, Beowulf, Chaucer, Descartes, and Rousseau to Borges, Chomsky, and others).

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): HUMA 17100
Note(s): These courses must be taken in sequence.

HUMA 18000-18100-18200. Poetry and the Human I-II-III.

What is poetry and why do we do it? This three-quarter sequence examines the practice of poetry as a form of communication, linguistic innovation, and embodied presence. How is poetry as language and action different from other forms of activity? What is the role of poetry in society, in regard to memory, performance, storytelling, and history; ritual and creation; knowledge and formation of selfhood; institution and revolution? This sequence addresses these questions in the poetry of different eras and peoples, including Homer, Sappho, Catullus, Beowulf, John Donne, Emily Dickinson, the Popol Vuh, Gwendolyn Brooks, Audre Lorde, Paul Celan, N. Scott Momaday, Layli Long Soldier, Claudia Rankine, and many others. It provides students with skills in the close reading of texts and performance and a grasp of the literary, philosophical, and theoretical questions that underpin the humanities. In the Spring Quarter, students may take a third quarter of Humanities or shift into a related general education course in the arts (CRWR 18200).

HUMA 18000. Poetry and the Human I. 100 Units.

In Autumn (form/formation/transformation), we closely analyze poetry to understand its distinctive qualities, looking at questions of form and rhythm, translation and adaptation, and experimentation with genre. We also explore argumentation, criticism, and the role of poetry in mapping creation through practices of language, image, and sound.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): These courses must be taken in sequence

HUMA 18100. Poetry and the Human II. 100 Units.

In Winter (crisis/performance/politics), we turn to questions of social rupture, breakdown, and reformation as we consider the ways that poetry revolts, reflects, and rebuilds in political crises. We will also look at poetry in performance, and performance as poetry, to consider how poetry is practiced in non-textual media such as spoken word, film, and dance.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): HUMA 18000
Note(s): These courses must be taken in sequence

HUMA 18200. Poetry and the Human III. 100 Units.

In the Spring Quarter Humanities course (object/event/narrative), we consider the poem first as an object that expresses the processes of writing and the materiality of the body, then as a staged and sonic event, and finally as a way of shaping a life or of conceiving an afterlife.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): HUMA 18100
Note(s): These courses must be taken in sequence. For the option of taking the third quarter of Poetry and the Human to meet the general education requirement in the arts, see CRWR 18200.

Writing Seminars

HUMA 19100. Humanities Writing Seminars. 000 Units.

These seminars introduce students to the analysis and practice of expert academic writing. Experts must meet many familiar standards for successful writing: clear style, logical organization, and persuasive argument. But because they work with specialized knowledge, experts also face particular writing difficulties: they must be clear about complexities and specific about abstractions; they must use uncomplicated organization for very complicated ideas; they must create straightforward logic for intricate arguments; they must be concise but not incomplete, direct but not simplistic; they must clarify the obscure but not repeat the obvious; and they must anticipate the demands of aggressively skeptical readers. The seminars do not repeat or extend the substantive discussion of the Humanities class; they use the discussions and assignments from those classes as a tool for the advanced study of writing. We study various methods not only for the construction of sophisticated and well-structured arguments but also for understanding the complications and limits of those arguments. These seminars also address issues of readership and communication within expert communities. As students present papers in the seminars, we can use the reactions of the audience to introduce the techniques experts can use to transform a text from one that serves the writer to one that serves the readers.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Autumn Spring Winter
Note(s): These seminars are available only in combination with either a two- or a three-quarter general education sequence in the Humanities.

Collegiate Courses

The 20000-level Collegiate courses in Humanities seek to extend humanistic inquiry beyond the scope of the general education requirements. A few of them also serve as parts of special degree programs. All of these courses are open as electives to students from any Collegiate Division.

Course Descriptions for Collegiate Courses

HUMA 02980. Practicum. 25 Units.

This course is for students who secure a summer internship. For details, visit careeradvancement.uchicago.edu/jobs-internships-research/internships-for-credit. Students write a short paper (two to three pages) and give an oral presentation reflecting on their internship experience.

Instructor(s): D. Spatz     Terms Offered: Summer
Note(s): Must be taken for P/F grading; students who fail to complete the course requirements will receive an F on their transcript (no W will be granted). Students receive 025 units of credit at completion of course. Course meets once in Spring Quarter and once in Autumn Quarter. Course fee $150; students in need of financial aid should contact Jay Ellison at 702.8609.
Equivalent Course(s): SOSC 02980

HUMA 20710-20711-20712-20713. At the Piano I-II-III-IV.

Keyboard Studies for Non-Music Majors

HUMA 20710. At the Piano I: Keyboard Studies for Non-Music Majors. 100 Units.

Keyboard Studies for Non-Music Majors

Instructor(s): C. Bohlman     Terms Offered: Autumn Spring Winter

HUMA 20711. At the Piano II: Keyboard Studies for Non-Music Majors. 100 Units.

Keyboard Studies for Non-Music Majors

Instructor(s): C. Bohlman     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): HUMA 20710 or consent of instructor

HUMA 20712. At the Piano III: Keyboard Studies for Non-Music Majors. 100 Units.

Keyboard Studies for non-Music majors

Instructor(s): C. Bohlman     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): HUMA 20711 or consent of instructor.

HUMA 20713. At the Piano IV: Keyboard Studies for Non-Music Majors. 100 Units.

Keyboard Studies for non-Music majors

Instructor(s): C. Bohlman     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): HUMA 20712 or consent of instructor.

HUMA 24800. Dostoevsky. 100 Units.

Dostoevsky was an inveterate risk-taker, not only at the baccarat tables of the Grand Casino in Baden-Baden, but in his personal life, his political activities, and his artistic endeavors. This course is intended to investigate his two greatest wagers: on the presence of the divine in the world and on the power of artistic form to convey and articulate this presence. Dostoevsky's wager on form is evident even in his early, relatively conventional texts, like The Double. It intensifies after his decade-long sojourn in Siberia, exploding in works like The Notes from Underground, which one-and-a-half centuries later remains an aesthetic and philosophical provocation of immense power. The majority of the course will focus on Dostoevsky's later novels. In Crime and Punishment Dostoevsky adapts suspense strategies to create a metaphysical thriller, while in The Demons he pairs a study of nihilism with the deformation of the novel as a genre. Through close readings of these works we will trace how Dostoevsky's formal experimentation created new ways of exploring realms of existence that traditionally belonged to philosophy and theology. The results were never comfortable or comforting; we will focus on interpreting Dostoevsky's metaphysical provocations.

Instructor(s): R. Bird
Equivalent Course(s): RLIT 39501, REES 30013, FNDL 24612, RLST 28204, REES 20013

HUMA 25207. Mindfulness: Experience and Media. 100 Units.

How do we experience media (of all kinds) with (or without) awareness? Methods of mindfulness offer principles and practices of awareness focusing on mind, body, and embodied mind. Mindfulness (a flexible, moment-to-moment, non-judging awareness) is an individual experience and at the same time, practices of mindfulness can be a mode of public health intervention. Mindfulness involves social epistemologies of how we know (or don't know) collectively, as we interact with immediate sensory experience as well as with mediated communication technologies generating various sorts of virtual realities (from books to VR). In addition to readings and discussions, this course teaches embodied practices of attention and awareness through the curriculum of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction.

Instructor(s): M. Browning     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): HLTH 25207, TAPS 20507, HIPS 25207, MAAD 14207

HUMA 29700. Reading Course. 100 Units.

An instructor within Humanities agrees to supervise the course and then determines the kind and amount of work to be done. Students must receive a quality grade. Students may not petition to receive credit for more than two HUMA 29700 courses. Students may register for this course using the College Reading and Research Form, available in the College Advising offices. This form must be signed by the instructor and the Director of Undergraduate Studies and then submitted to the Office of the Registrar.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Autumn Spring Winter
Prerequisite(s): Consent of instructor and senior adviser.