General Education Sequences | Writing Seminars | Collegiate Courses | Courses

First-year general education courses engage students 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. These courses meet the general education requirements in the interpretation of historical, literary, and philosophical texts. In combination with these courses, students are required to take a seminar that introduces the analysis and practice of expert academic writing. 

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.

General Education Sequences

All HUMA 10000–level sequences that meet general education requirements 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.

NOTE: Students registered in HUMA 10000–level sequences that meet general education requirements must attend the first and second class sessions or their registration will be dropped.

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

This sequence examines the relationship between the individual and society in a rich and exciting selection of literary texts from across the globe. We address the challenges faced by readers confronting foreign literatures, reading across time and cultures, and reading texts in translation. We focus on two major literary themes and genres: Epic Poetry (Autumn Quarter) and Autobiography (Winter Quarter). Selected readings may include: Homer’s "Odyssey," the "Epic of Gilgamesh," the ancient Indian "Mahabharata," Saint Augustine’s "Confessions," Vladimir Nabokov’s "Speak, Memory: An Autobiography Revisited," and Wole Soyinka’s "Ake: The Years of Childhood." Students wishing to take the third quarter of this sequence in the Spring Quarter choose among a selection of topics (e.g., “Gender and Literature,” “Crime Fiction and Murder Mysteries,” “Reading the Middle Ages: Europe and Asia,” or “Poetry."

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

No description available.

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.

No description available.

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.

No description available.

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 explore fundamental ethical questions—concerning virtue, the good life, the role of the individual in society—as they were formulated by ancient Greek writers and philosophers. Our focus is on Plato, Aristotle, and the Greek dramatists.

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 arise in seminal writings of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Skeptical arguments—about the possibility of various kinds of knowledge and of freedom—are a focus. Authors tend to include Descartes, Hume, Voltaire, Newton, and others.

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 discuss ethical and epistemological questions having to do with self-knowledge and knowledge of others, considered from the vantage point of Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment thought. Authors tend to include Hume, Kant, and Melville.

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.

This sequence offers an introduction to the seminal works of the Greek and Latin tradition. It follows a progression from Greek to Roman texts through to their reception in modernity every quarter and takes seriously both aspects of tradition: preservation and transformation. Each quarter has a trajectory of its own. In Autumn, the focus is on epic: Homer, Vergil, and an epoch-defining postclassical large-scale poem, such as Dante, "Inferno," or Milton, "Paradise Lost." Winter is devoted to tragedy and history with readings from Aeschylus, Herodotus, Livy, Seneca, Tacitus, and representative modern works, such as Shakespeare’s history plays, that combine these modes. The third quarter branches into distinct disciplines, genres, or themes. The premise is that classical antiquity was less foundational in any normative sense for Western culture than formative through the contingencies of history. While there is no single unified classical tradition, ancient terms and ideas continue to resonate throughout our institutions, thinking, and values today.

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, "Iliad," Vergil, "Aeneid," and Milton, "Paradise Lost."

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.

In Spring Quarter, each section builds on the previous two quarters by tracing the development and transformations of a different literary genre (e.g., lyric, comedy, or philosophy) or cultural construct (e.g., cosmogony or an individual myth).

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.

Socrates asks, “Who is a knower of such excellence, of a human being and of a citizen?” We are all concerned to discover what it means to be an excellent human being and an excellent citizen, and to learn what a just community is. This course explores these and related matters, and helps us to examine critically our opinions about them. To this end, we read and discuss seminal works of the Western tradition, selected both because they illumine the central questions and because, read together, they form a compelling record of human inquiry. Insofar as they force us to consider different and competing ways of asking and answering questions about human and civic excellence, it is impossible for us to approach these writings as detached spectators. Instead, we come to realize our own indebtedness to our predecessors and are inspired to continue their task of inquiry. In addition to providing a deeper appreciation of who we are as human beings and citizens, this course aims to cultivate the liberating skills of careful reading, writing, speaking, and listening. 2014–15 readings for this Core sequence consisted of philosophical and literary texts from Ancient Greece to the twentieth century, organized around the themes of “Human Being” and “Citizen." Readings in the Autumn Quarter included Genesis, Plato (Crito and Apology), Homer (Iliad), and a Surat from the Qur'an. The Winter Quarter focused on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, Augustine’s Confessions, Dante’s Inferno, and selections from the writings of Mohandas Gandhi. The texts for the Spring Quarter were Shakespeare’s King Lear, Kant's "What Is Enlightenment?" and Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, a selection of American political and literary documents, and J. M. Coetzee's Waiting for the Barbarians.

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


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.


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.


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 History of the Peloponnesian War, and a Shakespeare play.

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 The Peloponnesian War, Woolf's The Waves, and Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil.

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 The Peloponnesian War, an experimental feminist essay, and Alison Bechdel's Fun Home.

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 is devoted to the cultivation of the art of interpretation through the close reading of objects across a broad range of times and places, from the Homeric epic to contemporary film, folk tale to museum. In each case the goal is to work outward from the textual details—construing the term text generously so as to include any form of cultural production—and develop insight into the local emergence and global circulation of objects of interpretation. In the process the sequence explores questions about memory, home, and belonging; the various historical forms of cultural production, from epic to folk tale, music, film, and novels; about the challenges of translation to responsible interpretation; about texts as formative sources of human community, inter-personal obligation, and transcendence; about hybridity and the legacy of colonialism; and, of course, about the role of humanistic inquiry in addressing all these questions. The year is divided into three conceptual themes that allow us to explore the above questions: collection, travel, and exchange. Readings in the past have included Homer’s The Odyssey, The Arabian Nights, Ovid, Metamorphoses, Balzac, Père Goriot, Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Pu Songling, Strange Tales from Chinese Studio, Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times, Zora Neale Hurston’s Of Mules and Men, T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane, Tomás Rivera’s And the Earth Did Not Devour Him, Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place, Richard Wright, Native Son, Marx, The Marx-Engels Reader, the Coen Brothers’ O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Haruki Murakami’s Sputnik Sweetheart, Alfonso Cuarón’s y tu mamá también, a visit to a museum, graphic novels, music, visual art, and cultural criticism.

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


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.


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.


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 three-quarter sequence introduces students to the skills, materials, and relationships of a variety of disciplines in the humanities, including literature, cinema studies, philosophy, music and sound studies, theater, and the visual arts. We construe "aesthetics" broadly: as a study in sensory perception, value, and the close analysis of artistic objects. "Medium," too, is understood along a spectrum of meanings that range from the materials of art (words, sound, paint, stone, film, air, light) to various technical apparatuses and communications systems (print, photography, film, radio, television, and digital media). Our central questions include: What is the relation between media and various kinds of art? Can artistic uses of media be distinguished from non-artistic uses? What is the relation between media and human sensations and perceptions? How do media produce pity, fear, or pleasure? Do we learn new ways of seeing and hearing through the devices involved in painting, photography, music, and cinema? What happens when we adapt or translate objects into other media: painting into photography, writing into film, or music into video? This not a course in “media studies” in any narrow sense. It is rooted in a broad range of criticism and philosophy by such writers as Plato, Aristotle, Nietzsche, Freud, Benjamin, Bazin, Derrida, Mulvey, Baudrillard, and Barthes. It ranges across historical eras to consider aesthetic objects of many kinds: films, paintings, photographs, novels, plays, stories, poems, songs, and albums. Occasionally, we ask questions about how the aesthetic object is situated in cultural history. More often, though, we will be fostering sensitivity to, and analysis of, the sensory, cognitive, and emotional shaping of the aesthetic experience as framed by the medium in which it occurs.

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

The Autumn Quarter focuses on seeing, especially on the problems that arise when objects and texts seem to offer themselves as images that constitute visual "reflections" or "imitations" of the world (e.g., Velázquez's "Las Meninas," Hitchcock's "Vertigo," Morrison's "The Bluest Eye," and Cindy Sherman's photographs).

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.

The Winter Quarter will focus on reading and writing, and questions associated with objects considered as material texts to be “translated” or "interpreted" (e.g., Kosuth’s conceptual art, Genesis, Shakespeare’s "Hamlet," Plato's "Phaedrus," Cha’s "Dictée," Bechdel’s "Fun Home").

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.

The Spring Quarter will focus on listening, with particular emphasis on how sounds acquire meaning or significance, how music and the voice can express desire, suffering, or overwhelm the intellect, and the many possible relationships between sound, image, poetry, song, and lyrics (Emily Dickinson’s “Split the Lark,” John Cage’s "4’33’’", Du Bois's "The Souls of Black Folk," Nietzsche’s "Birth of Tragedy," and albums by Kanye West and Michael Jackson).

Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): HUMA 16100
Note(s): These courses must be taken in sequence.

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 course aims to provoke us to critically examine common assumptions that determine our understanding of language--and more specifically, of 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.

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.

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).

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

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.

Terms Offered: Autumn, Winter, Spring
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

HUMA 02980. Practicum. 025 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.

No description available.

Instructor(s): C. Bohlman     Terms Offered: TBD

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

No description available.

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

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

No description available.

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

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

No description available.

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

HUMA 25205. Computers, Minds, Intelligence & Data. 100 Units.

How are we co-evolving with our machines? How do we teach ourselves and our computers how to learn? What kinds of human intelligences do we promote in liberal education in comparison with artificial intelligence(s)? Through our distributed cognition with tools of all kinds, as we engage in participatory culture using digital computers and networks, we provide information that generates the basis for big (and small) data. At the crux of our investigation—on the one hand into reading and conversation and on the other hand into algorithms and information theory—are issues about human action and the multifaceted agency of the universal Turing machine—as mobile phone, laptop, internet, robot.

Instructor(s): M. Browning     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): HIPS 25205

HUMA 29700. Reading Course. 100 Units.

No description available.

Terms Offered: Autumn, Winter, Spring
Prerequisite(s): Consent of instructor and senior adviser.
Note(s): Students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Course Form.

Signature Courses in the College

Signature Courses in the College Courses

SIGN 26000. Big: Monumental Buildings and Sculptures Past and Present. 100 Units.

Why are so many societies – including our own – obsessed with building monumental things like pyramids and palaces? What do we learn about cultures past and present from the monuments they create? This course explores famous monuments from around the world to answer these questions through the lens of archaeology, architecture, and art history.

Instructor(s): James Osborne     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): NEHC 20085

SIGN 26001. Self-Creation as a Philosophical and Literary Problem. 100 Units.

This is a class addressing the possibility of self-directed ethical change.  Can you make yourself into a different person from the person that you are?  Some readings from hist. of phil (Kant/ Nietzsche) but mostly contemporary readings from autonomy/moral psychology literature.

Instructor(s): A. Callard     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 21834

SIGN 26003. Science and Aesthetics in the Eighteenth to the Twenty-First Centuries. 100 Units.

One can distinguish four ways in which science and aesthetics are related during the period since the Renaissance. First, science has been the subject of artistic representation, in painting and photography, in poetry and novels (e.g., in Byron’s poetry, for example). Second, science has been used to explain aesthetic effects (e.g., Helmholtz’s work on the way painters achieve visual effects or musicians achieve tonal effects). Third, aesthetic means have been used to convey scientific conceptions (e.g., through illustrations in scientific volumes or through aesthetically affective and effective writing). Finally, philosophers have stepped back to consider the relationship between scientific knowing and aesthetic comprehension (e.g., Kant, Bas van Fraassen); much of the discussion of this latter will focus on the relation between images and what they represent. In this lecture-discussion course we will consider all of these aspects of the science-aesthetic connection.

Instructor(s): R. Richards     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CHSS 35506,HIPS 25506,HIST 35506,PHIL 24301,PHIL 34301,HIST 25506

SIGN 26004. Richer and Poorer: Income Inequality. 100 Units.

Current political and recent academic debate has centered on income or wealth inequality. Data suggests a rapidly growing divergence between those earners at the bottom and those at the top. This course seeks to place that current concern in conversation with a range of moments in nineteenth and twentieth century history when literature and economics converged on questions of economic inequality. In keeping with recent political economic scholarship by Thomas Piketty, we will be adopting a long historic view and a somewhat wide geographic scale as we explore how economic inequality is represented, measured, assessed, and addressed. Readings will include some of the following literature: Hard Times, Le Pere Goriot, The Jungle, The Time Machine, Native Son, Landscape for a Good Woman, White Tiger; and some of the following economic and political texts: Principles of Political Economy, The Acquisitive Society, The Theory of the Leisure Class, Capital (Marx and Piketty), The Price of Inequality, and Inequality Re-examined. (B, G, H)

Instructor(s): E. Hadley     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 36250,ENGL 26250

SIGN 26005. Introduction to the Middle East. 100 Units.

Prior knowledge of the Middle East not required. This course aims to facilitate a general understanding of some key factors that have shaped life in this region, with primary emphasis on modern conditions and their background, and to provide exposure to some of the region's rich cultural diversity. This course can serve as a basis for the further study of the history, politics, and civilizations of the Middle East.

Instructor(s): F. Donner     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): HIST 15801,NEHC 10101

SIGN 26006. Traditional E A Lit: Ghosts and the Fantastic. 100 Units.

What is a ghost? How and why are ghosts represented in particular forms in a particular culture at particular historical moments and how do these change as stories travel between cultures? This course will explore the complex meanings, both literal and figurative, of ghosts and the fantastic in traditional Chinese, Japanese, and Korean tales, plays, and films . Issues to be explored include: 1) the relationship between the supernatural, gender, and sexuality; 2) the confrontation of death and mortality; 3)  collective anxieties over the loss of the historical past  4) and the visualization (and exorcism) of ghosts through performance.

Instructor(s): J. Zeitlin     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): This course can replace what used to be the Concentrators Seminar to fulfill a requirement as an EALC major.
Equivalent Course(s): EALC 10600

SIGN 26007. Truth. 100 Units.

"One of the salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit," says the Princeton philosopher Harry Frankfurt in his 1986 essay, 'On Bullshit.' Frankfurt distinguishes bullshit from lying, and argues that it is the more insidious of the two because it involves not an attempt to conceal the truth, but rather a failure to even care about the truth in the first place. But what exactly is truth, and why should we care so much about it? This course will begin with an examination of the fundamental role of a truth convention in meaning and communication, the way that such a convention makes bullshit possible, and the causes and consequences of bullshit. We will then turn to foundational questions about the nature of truth, criticisms of the value of truth and why they have had such appeal, and expressions of skepticism about the possibility of "objective" truth. Along the way, we will consider whether it makes sense for everyone to agree that something is the case and yet still be wrong; whether our claims to know certain things are always limited because they come from a particular perspective; paradoxes of truth and falsity and their relevance for scientific inquiry; and what value (if any) truth contributes to the well-lived life.

Instructor(s): Chris Kennedy     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): LING 26020

SIGN 26008. Japanese History through Film and Other Texts. 100 Units.

This course deals with theories of time, history, and representation while making those ideas and problems concrete through a study of the way in which history in Japan has been mediated by the cinema. It explores the "timefulness" of cinematic images without assuming their automatic relation to the world or dismissing films for their invention, compression, and elision of historical facts. A close reading of a wide range of films produced in and about Japan in tandem with primary and secondary materials on theories of time, images, and national history will highlight the historicity and history of both film and Japan.

Instructor(s): J. Ketelaar     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): All readings are in English; no knowledge of Japanese is required.
Equivalent Course(s): EALC 24606,HIST 24601

SIGN 26009. Making and Meaning in the American Musical. 100 Units.

In this signature course, we will look—and listen—closely to four different American Musicals from the 20th century, studying their creative origins, while also  analyzing their complex social meanings as revealed through the story, music, lyrics, staging, and dance.  Musicals to be covered:  Show Boat (1927), Oklahoma! (1943), My Fair Lady (1953), and Company (1970).   A visit to the Lyric Opera production of My Fair Lady is planned.

Instructor(s): Thomas Christensen     Terms Offered: Spring