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HUMN 1010-6   Introduction to Humanities I
Guilia Bernardini/Alexandra Eddy

Humanities 1010 is a 6 credit hour course that meets six times a week (three literature discussion classes and three lecture-demonstrations in art and music).  The course provides an analytical and comparative study of works in literature, music, and visual arts from Antiquity to the 17th century.  This course is approved for arts and sciences core curriculum in 2 areas: historical context or literature and the arts.


Music: The music lectures will cover the basic elements of musical compositions, providing those without a music background a solid foundation from which to build upon.  The class studies the music found in a number of different time periods starting with Antiquity, then moving on to Medieval, followed by Renaissance vocal/instrumental music and dance, as well as the Reformation and Counter-Reformation periods.  Readings and listening assignments will be assigned on a regular basis (an audio CD is included in the textbook).

Art: The Art lectures will begin by studying the Sculpture and Architecture of the various Greek time periods, including Classical, Late Classical, and the Hellenistic eras. From that point, the course will examine the various works of art produced during the time of the Roman civilization before moving on to Romanesque and early Gothic architecture.  In addition, Renaissance portraits and the technique of perspective will be analyzed during lecture, with an emphasis on the works of Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Michelangelo.  Students are expected to complete weekly readings from Art Through the Ages and Art History’s History as well as study the works listed on the course website.

Literature: The literature section includes works such as Homer’s Odyssey, Greek tragedy, Plato’s Symposium, Dante’s Inferno, Cervantes Don Quixote, Boccaccio’sDecameron, a Shakespearean tragedy, selections from Montaigne’s Essais.  When registering for Humanities 1010, students should sign up for a literature section.  These sections meet three times a week, MWF.

HUMN 2000-3   Methods and Approaches to Humanities
Paul Gordon/David Ferris

Humanities 2000 will be team-taught by various members of the Comparative Literature and Humanities Department faculty who will each offer a separate “mini-course” on one of the essential issues or methodological concerns which students can expect to encounter in their future coursework for the Humanities major.  Although the subject of each mini-course may be expected to vary from year to year, topics proposed by faculty in the past include: word/image studies; rhetoric; translation; the canon; gender studies; cultural studies; literature and the other arts; literary theory; philosophy and literature; etc.  Prerequisite HUMN 1010 or 1020.  Restricted to Humanities Majors.

HUMN 2100-3   Arts, Culture and Media
Catherine Wilkins and Benjamin Robertson

Promotes a better understanding of fundamental aesthetic and cultural issues by exploring competing definitions of art and culture.  Sharpens critical and analytical abilities by asking students to read and compare different theories about arts, culture, media, and identity, and then to apply and assess those theories in relation to a selection of visual and verbal texts from a range of cultural and linguistic traditions.  Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: literature and the arts.

HUMN 2601-3   Kafka and the Kafkaesque
Davide Stimilli

One proof of a writer’s acknowledged status as a classic is undoubtedly the currency of his or her name in ordinary parlance.  Not only has “Kafka” become a household name, but even the adjective derived from his name, “Kafkaesque” is liberally applied to anything, from works of art to state bureaucracies, from types of shoes to architectural styles, by people who may have never read a word of Kafka’s writing.  The term is therefore often misused and misunderstood, in spite of being by now recorded and defined in every dictionary of the language.  This course is meant to counteract such a trend and to expose the students to a wide selection of Kafka’s literary output, with the aim of reaching our own tentative answer to the question: What is the Kafkaesque?  We will then expand upon Jorge Luis Borges’ suggestion, in a seminal essay he devoted to “Kafka and His Precursors,” that extraordinary writers change our understanding and appreciation of the past, as much as they modify the future of literature, and upon Gilles Deleuze’s contention, in his fundamental study of film aesthetics, The Movement-Image, that Orson Welles’ cinematographic style is the visual equivalent of Kafka’s literary style.  We will do so by looking for traces of the Kafkaesque in the verbal as well as the visual arts, beyond the empirical existence of the writer called “Kafka”.  Same as GRMN 2601.

HUMN 3092-3   Studies in Humanities: Slavic Laughter
Mark Leiderman

Examines forms, genres and social functions of laughter in Slavic cultures (Russian, Polish, Czech, Serbian, and others).  Analysis of the carnivalesque, grotesque, and irony in the works of Gogol, Chapek, Hashek, Lem, Kundera, Gombrowicz, Kharms, Zoshchenko, Ilf and Petrov, Kusturica, Kieslewsky, and other authors; also provides an introduction to literature and film of Eastern Europe.  Taught in English.  Same as RUSS 3231-001.

HUMN 3092-3   Studies in Humanities: Subversive & Censored 20th C. Indo-Pakistani Literature
Laura Brueck

This course explores radical, provocative, and rebellious literature and film that has challenged hegemonic visions of national, political, social, and sexual identities in 20th and 21st century India and Pakistan.  Readings, discussions, and screenings in the course revolve around several thematic foci: nationalism, independence, and the partition of India and Pakistan; challenges to Islam; communal conflict; gender and sexuality; and contemporary resistance to hierarchical formations of caste and tribe.  In the context of these themes, we will explore a diverse range of modern and contemporary cultural, political, and social issues that have shaped the post-colonial development of India and Pakistan.  Further, we will think about the various ways in which diverse genres of literature (novels, short stories, poetry, film, political essay etc.) in various languages (Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Urdu, English) are employed to challenge prevailing social narratives.  Same as HIND 3811-002.

HUMN 3093-3   Topics in Humanities: Modern Media and the Parisian Avant-Garde, 1848-1914
Giulia Bernardini

From 1848 to 1914, France experienced intense socio-political tension and transformation.  Against a backdrop of imperial and republican struggles for power, its cities grew into sprawling urban centers populated by a working class inspired by the ideals of socialism, and by a growing bourgeoisie with expendable income and leisure time.  At the front-line of society was the avant-garde: the painters, musicians, and authors whose self-imposed task it was to translate this new state of modernity into their chosen media.  This class will study the Parisian avant-garde – its artistic personalities and movements – to investigate the notion of the artist as cultural commentator and to inquire how it built the foundations for twentieth century modernism.  Though we will focus primarily on the visual arts, works of literature and music will also be used to enrich our understanding of this era. Restricted to sophomores/juniors/seniors.

HUMN 3093-3   Topics in Humanities: The Arts and Religious Experience
Catherine Wilkins

This course will focus on the interrelationship between religious experience and the fine arts, including literature, music, architecture, and the visual arts.  Particular emphasis will be placed upon how the arts have dealt with the issue of direct religious experience, as opposed to merely religious subject matter.  Consequently, most of the primary sources studied in this class will focus upon mysticism, personal, spirituality, or participatory ritual and the translation of these phenomena into artworks.  A larger goal of this course is to help the student develop the vocabulary and writing skills necessary to communicate concepts concerning the humanities at large.

HUMN 3104-3   Film Criticism and Theory
Ernesto Acevedo
Surveys the range and function of film criticism, introduces major positions and concepts of film theory, and focuses on students’ abilities to write about film.  Prerequisite FILM 1502.  Same as FILM 3104.

HUMN 3210-3   Topics in Humanities: 20th Century Narrative
Annjeanette Wiese

This course will examine narrative as a central form of representation in the twentieth century by analyzing the effects of form on how we understand and construct our world.  Two questions will guide this examination: “what kind of relation (if any) is there between narratives and reality (or ‘life’)?” (posed by Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan); and, “what kind of notion of reality authorizes construction of a narrative account of reality?” (posed by Hayden White).  With the aid of different theories of narrative, we will attempt to answer these questions by closely analyzing how narrative structure informs perception as well as how perception has changed over the course of the past century.  Authors to be studied include Woolf (Mrs. Dalloway), Faulkner (Absalom, Absalom), Borges (selected stories), Nabokov (Lolita), Reed (Mumbo Jumbo), Carter (selected stories from The Bloody Chamber), Calvino (If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler), Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale), and Spiegelman (Maus I).  Theoretical readings will consist of selections from Benjamin, Bruner, Chatman, Jameson, Prince, and White.  We will also view and analyze one film (Pan’s Labyrinth).  Prerequisites HUMN 2000 or Juniors/Senior standing.

HUMN 3321-3   Culture and Literature of Ancient China
M.A. Richter

Focuses on the religious, cultural, philosophical, and literary aspects of ancient Chinese civilization (1500 B.C. – A.D. 200).  Special attention is paid to foundational works that influenced later developments in Chinese culture.  All readings are in English. Recommended prerequisite EALC 1011 or CHIN 1051.  Same as CHIN 3321.

HUMN 3702-3   Dada and Surrealist Literature
Patrick Greaney

Surveys the major theoretical concepts and literary genres of the Dada and Surrealist movements.  Topics include Dada performance and cabaret, the manifesto, montage, the readymade, the Surrealist novel, colonialism and the avant-garde, and literary and philosophical precursors to the avant-garde.  Taught in English.  Same as GRMN 3702. This course is approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: literature and the arts.

HUMN 3841-3   Modern Japanese Literature in Translation
Surveys the major works, authors, and genres of literature from the late Meiji period and 20th century in their historical and cultural contexts.  Attention is given to various approaches of literary analysis and interpretation.  Taught in English.  Recommended prerequisite JPNS 1051.  Same as JPNS 3841.  Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: critical thinking.

HUMN 4110-3   Greek and Roman Epic
John Gibert

Students read in English translation the major epics of Greco-Roman antiquity such as the IliadOdysseyArgonauticaAeneid, and Metamorphoses. Topics discussed may include the nature of classical epic, its relation to the novel, and its legacy.  No Greek or Latin required.  Same as CLAS 4110Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: literature and the arts.

HUMN 4135-3   Art and Psychoanalysis
Paul Gordon

Explores psychoanalytic theory as it relates to our understanding of literature, film, and other arts.  After becoming familiar with some essential Freudian notions (repression, narcissism, ego/libido, dream work, etc.), students apply these ideas to works by several artists (e.g., Flaubert, James, Kafka, Hoffmann, and Hitchcock).  Same as FILM 4010. Prerequisite, HUMN 2000 or junior/senior standing.  Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: literature and the arts.

HUMN 4150-3   The Decameron: Age of Realism
Cosetta Seno Reed

Analyzes the rise of realism in 13th and 14th century Italian literature and parallel manifestations in the visual arts.  Focuses on Boccaccio’s Decameron and contemporary realistic prose and poetry with emphasis on gender issues and medieval cultural diversity.  Taught in English.  Prerequisite, junior standing or instructor consent.  Same as ITAL 4150. Approved for arts and science core curriculum: literature and the arts, or cultural and gender diversity.

HUMN 4155-3   Philosophy, Art and the Sublime
Paul Gordon

“Perhaps the most sublime utterance is that inscribed on the temple of Isis: “I am all that is, that was, and that will ever be; no mortal has lifted my veil.” (Kant)  In this course we will examine theories of the sublime and apply those same theories to various works of art. Beginning with Longinus, we will then move to the beginning of modern discussions of the sublime in Burke and Kant before proceeding to the “golden age” of sublimity, 18-19th century German and English romanticism.  After a study of sublimity in Goethe’s Faust we will then turn our attention to the writings of the English romantic poets (Shelley, Wordsworth, Coleridge), as well to the early 19th-century novel, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.  After an examination of the sublime paintings of Turner (and his predecessors) we will move, in the final section of the course, to an examination of the survival of the sublime in the 20th century paintings and films of Barnett Newman, Georgia O’Keefe, Werner Herzog, and John Carpenter.  This course is approved for arts and sciences core curriculum in 2 areas: critical thinking or ideals and value. Prerequisite HUMN 2000 or Jr/Sr standing.  Restricted to Humanities majors.

HUMN 4811-3   19th Century Russian Literature
Vicki Hendrickson

The 19th century was a turbulent time in Russian society, and nowhere are the heated debates over the future and welfare of the country more acutely revealed than in the literature produced in that period.  Such issues as “the women question,” the liberation of the serfs, radicalism, and nihilism all find expression through the various writers who dominated the literary scene – Pushkin, Gogol, Lermontov, Turgenev, and Dostoevsky, among others.  This course is intended to introduce students to not only the social movements, but the cultural movements as well.  Aside from the topics listed above, we will explore the sentimentalism and romanticism that reflected the Western influence on the Russian novel in the first half of the 19th century, and move on to the novels of realism exemplified by the literary giants of the second half of the century.  Grades for the course will be determined by quizzes, short papers, and a final, as well as participation in class discussions.  No prior experience with Russian language or literature is required.  Same as RUSS 4811-001.  Approved for the arts and sciences core curriculum: literature and the arts.