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HUMN 1020-6   Introduction to the Humanities
Giulia Bernardini/Alexandra Eddy

This course provides an analytical, chronological, comparative and integrated study of works in literature, music and visual arts from the Baroque to contemporary eras. While students are reading Racine and Moliere, for example, the art and music lectures examine the architecture of Versailles and compositions of Lully and other court composers. In the appropriate context with the literature, such composers as Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, and Stravinsky are studied, along with such artists as Fragonard, Goya, Monet, and Picasso. This course is approved for arts and sciences core curriculum in 2 areas: historical context or literature and the arts.

HUMN 2145-3   African America in the Arts
Stewart Lawler

In Africa, they say, “If Elvis is King, then James Brown must be God!” I bet they think the same thing now of Tupac Shakur. Yet even Bill Cosby says he can’t understand the way urban Black youths dress or speak. There is a Guinean proverb that links knowledge and love: “We cannot love that which we do not know.” The aim of this course is to achieve this dual task, focusing especially on Black folk, vernacular, and popular culture.

African American culture is a performative culture with roots in Africa. We will assume that this African culture was transmitted to and transformed in America. We will assume that African cultural practices survived and were passed down and that the elaborate and complex world views or cosmologies encoding social, political, and cultural ideas and systems survived inside these performative practices.

We will examine African American expressive culture as polygenre, polyvocal, polyfocus performance. We will also examine African American arts in a full complex cultural context that avoids and even demolishes any stereotyping and is in cultural clash against a myopic mainstream culture. Finally, we will examine how African American culture aspires to the West and Central African understanding that can be summarized as Performance for Power and the Power of Performance. Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: cultural and gender diversity or United States context.


HUMN 3092-3   Krishna in South Asian Literature and Culture
Phillip Lutgendorf

For more than two millennia, the alluring figure of Krishna – the dark-skinned flute-player – has been central to the religious experience of many Indians. His diverse roles as mischievous divine child, adolescent cowherd, and adult statesman and philosopher have been celebrated in poetry and prose, painting and sculpture, and through music, dance, and drama. Using literary and visual sources as well as performances, this course explores multiple facets of Krishna’s character as experienced by his devotees, paying special attention to Indian interpretations of the erotic imagery that are so prominent in his story, and to the figure of Radha, Krishna’s mistress and beloved. Featured texts, most of which are translated from Sanskrit, Bengali, and Hindi, include Book Ten of the Bhagavata Purana, the spiritual classic Bhagavad-Gita, Jayadeva’s song-cycle Gita Govinda, and Journey Through the Twelve Forests, a modern Westerner’s lyrical yet scholarly account of a walking pilgrimage through the landscape of Krishna’s youth, as well as excerpts from anthologies of the devotional songs of celebrated pre-modern saint-poets. Several documentary and feature films will be screened during class sessions. Requirements include a series of short “reaction papers” (roughly every other week), a concluding research paper, and a final exam. This course assumes no prior knowledge of India or Hinduism, and is intended to supplement existing courses in East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Religious Studies, and Anthropology. Same as HNDI 3831.

HUMN  3093-3   Topics in Humanities: Murder, Mystery, Meaning
Christopher Braider
The course explores detective fiction, with special emphasis on the murder mystery, from ancient Greece and Shakespeare through the Romantics (E.T.A. Hoffman, Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe) to the post-Romantic “modernities” of such crucial representatives as Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Raymond Chandler, John Le Carré, and Walter Mosley. Themes include the genre’s links to the “uncanny” and the “fantastic,” its experiments with semiotic, hermeneutic, and Freudian models of reading, and its telltale relation to the buried forms of violence defining its wider social context. Restricted to sophomores/juniors/seniors.

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 frontline 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: Music and the Romantic Imagination
Alexandra Eddy

Against the background of nineteenth-century literary effusions about music, we will explore the work of early Romantic composers, often writers of words themselves, always absorbed by the universe of inner emotions and the endless possibilities of the imagination. Among the musical works we will study: Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony; Weber’s Romantic opera Der Freischütz; Mendelssohn’s Fingal’s Cave Overture; Schubert’s song cycle Die Winterreise; Robert Schumann’s piano set, Papillons; Berlioz’sSymphonie fantastique and his symphonies based on Shakespeare and Byron. Among the literary sources: writings by James Macpherson, Schiller, Schlegel, Schopenhauer, Jean Paul, Byron, E.T.A. Hoffmann, Robert Schumann, Weber, and Berlioz. Restricted to sophomores/juniors/seniors.

HUMN 3104-3   Film Criticism and Theory
Clark Farmer

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 4004-3   Topics in Film Theory: Realism and Reflexivity
Bruce Kawin

A study of classical theory, emphasizing the issue of realism (including the differences between film and reality, what happens when an object is photographed, whether film is inherently photographic, psychological reality, etc.), and the effects of narrative framing, emphasizing contemporary theories of reflexive aesthetics and structures (including films by Kurosawa, Bergman, and Godard and studies of works that appear to be aware they are works of art or may appear to have narrating minds).Restricted to senior HUMN/FILM/FMST majors. Prerequisite FILM 3104 or instructor consent. Same as FILM 4004 and ARTF 5004. This course is approved for Arts & Sciences core curriculum: critical thinking.

HUMN 4060-3   Reading Theory
Henry Pickford

This course will examine the place of theory within 20th century critical discourse. It will explore the extent to which every theoretical text is constituted around a central difficulty in the concept of theory itself. Readings from Freud, Benjamin, Lévi-Strauss, Genette, Derrida, Butler, Bhabba, and de Man. Prerequisite: HUMN 2000 or junior/senior standing. This course is approved for Arts & Sciences core curriculum: critical thinking.

HUMN  4093-3  Advanced Topics in Humanities: The Art of Travel
Shirley Carnahan

This course is an interdisciplinary one intended to examine the art of travel: not where to go and what to do, but rather philosophical concepts about why people travel. Likely areas of discussion will include Exploration, Discovery, Escape, Pilgrimage, the Grand Tour, Expatriotism, Exile, Nomadism, Armchair Travel, and the Sense of Home. Materials will include books by travel writers, novels, films, essays, short stories, art, music, and historical documents. Prerequisite: HUMN 2000 or junior/senior standing.


HUMN 4093-3   Advanced Topics in Humanities: The Idea of Art
Claire Farago

In what ways do artistic representations mediate actual social identities? Is art a “when” rather than a “what”? How does “art” function in the contemporary era of a neo-colonial global economy dominated by transnational corporations? What differentiates “high art” from tourist souvenirs or from commodities in general? What has been and what should or could be the role of artists, art historians, and cultural critics in maintaining or collapsing distinctions between these categories? These fundamental questions about the effects of the kinds of knowledge that art produces will be explored through a series of readings dealing with art and social identity. This course examines art as a form of knowledge production in a contemporary framework of thought about the ethical responsibilities of intellectuals to society. Using a variety of analytical strategies, the course is organized around class discussion and course readings. Prerequisite: HUMN 2000 or junior/senior standing. Meets with ARTH 4919-003.

HUMN 4110-3   Greek and Roman Epic
Dick Rohmann

Students read in English translation the major epics of Greco-Roman antiquity such as the Iliad, Odyssey, Argonautica, Aeneid, 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 4110. Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: literature and the arts.

HUMN 4150-3   Decameron: Age of Realism
Valerio Ferme

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. Same as ITAL 4150. Prerequisite: junior standing or instructor consent. Approved for arts and science core curriculum: literature and the arts, or cultural and gender diversity.

HUMN 4502-3   Nietzsche: Literature and Values
Adrian Del Caro

Emphasis is placed on Nietzsche’s major writings spanning the years 1872 – 1888, with particular attention to the critique of Western values. A systematic exploration of doctrines, concepts, and ideas leading to the values of creativity. Restricted to sophomores/juniors/seniors. Same as GRMN 4502. Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: ideals and values.

HUMN 4555-3   The Arts of Interpretation
Paul Gordon

Introduces various hermeneutical methodologies (literary/philosophical criticism, biblical exegesis, art history, etc.) with which to examine the question of interpretation. Methodologies are studied in close conjunction with particular works of art. Prerequisites: HUMN 2000 or junior/senior standing. Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: critical thinking.


HUMN 4730-3   Italian Feminisms: Culture, Theory and Narratives of Differences
Cosetta Seno Reed

Studies Italian women writers, artists, and film makers of this century. Literary and visual texts are analyzed in dialogue with readings of leading Italian gender theorists. Italian history and culture is reread by following the development of a discourse about women. Taught in English; readings in Italian for Italian majors. Same as ITAL 4730. Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: cultural and gender diversity, or literature and the arts.

HUMN  4821-3   20th Century Russian Literature & Arts
Rimgaila Salys

Interdisciplinary course emphasizing the influence of art in 20th century Russian literature. Follows the changing cultural landscape from the time when Russia was in the vanguard of modern European literature to the gradual cultural relaxation that culminated in perestroika and glasnost. Same as RUSS 4821. Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: literature and the arts.