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HUMN 1010-6      Introduction to Humanities I
Giulia 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.  Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: 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/Anthony Abiragi

Humanities 2000 will be team-taught by various members of the 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 3092-3      Studies: Literature, Law and Torture – CANCELLED
Anthony Abiragi

This course will concentrate on representations of confession in works from diverse national literatures. An introductory session devoted to Foucault’s genealogy of confession will reveal that confession as we think of it today is essentially of Christian provenance and quite different from ancient Greek practices of speaking of oneself. Accordingly, our first primary text will be Augustine’s Confessions from which we will isolate the diverse kinds of speech acts that characterize confession as a rhetorical form. Our reading of Augustine will allow us to determine how more modern, juridical representations of confession rely on a persistent, largely secularized religious rhetorical structure. From a psychoanalytic perspective, we will ask to what extent confession is related to the experiences of shame, guilt, and indebtedness to others, and to what extent psychoanalysis itself is a confessional discourse. Finally, we will study the phenomenon of torture throughout the semester and therefore the strategic use of pain in confession. Primary readings will consist of the works Dostoevsky, Kafka, Sartre, Blanchot, Camus, Coetzee, the Chilean writer Eltit, and (time permitting) the Argentine writer Piglia. In addition to the theoretical writings of Foucault, we will draw the works of Peter Brooks, Judith Butler, Jacques Derrida, Paul Ricoeur, and Elaine Scarry. Course requirements: weekly writing assignments; one in-class presentation; one in-class response to a peer’s presentation; one final paper of approximately ten pages.


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

From 1848 to 1914, France experienced intense socio-political tension and transformation. As imperial and republican forces struggled 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. The artists of the avant-garde – painters, musicians, and authors – attempted to translate this new state of modernity into their chosen media. This class will study the Parisian avant-garde – its artistic and literary 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. Restricted to juniors/seniors.


HUMN 3104-3      Film Criticism and Theory
Jennifer Armstrong

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 3841-3      Modern Japanese Literature in Translation – CANCELLED

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 4060-3      Reading Theory
David Ferris

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.  Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: critical thinking.


HUMN 4082-3      Nineteenth Century Art and Literature
Anthony Abiragi

Interdisciplinary study of English fiction and poetry together with related movements in visual arts.  Prereq., HUMN 2000 or junior/senior standing.


HUMN 4130-3      Greek and Roman Comedy
Carole Newlands

Studies Aristophanes, Plautus, and Terence in English translation.  No Greek or Latin required.  Same as CLAS 4130.  Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: literature and the arts.


HUMN 4131-3   Greek and Roman Novel
Andrew Cain

Studies several surviving complete Greek novels from classical antiquity and three Latin novels. Two medieval romances will also be read. Readings in English translation. No required prerequisite, but a previous course in classical literature or myth is recommended. Same as CLAS 4140/5140.


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 4140-3      The Age of Dante: Readings from the Divine Comedy
Valerio Ferme

Focuses on close reading of Dante’s poetry with emphasis on the intellectual, religious, political, and scientific background of the medieval world. Taught in English. Prereq., junior standing or instructor consent.  Same as ITAL 4140.  Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: literature and the arts.


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. Prerequisite HUMN 2000 or Jr/Sr standing. Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: critical thinking; ideals and value.


HUMN 4504-3      Goethe’s Faust
Helmut Müller-Sievers

We emphasize Goethe’s Faust parts I and II, but the course begins with Marlowe’s reworking of the original Faust material, includes Byron’s Manfred and selections from Dostoevsky and Nietzsche, before concluding with Thomas Mann’s novel Doctor Faustus.  The Faust theme has intrigued students of literature and thought for many centuries, and it serves as a metaphor for the modern condition.  How does one assign a value to the human soul, if Christianity is not accepted as the supreme authority?  What happens to notions of the good life in the age of Enlightenment?  How are human beings disposed to conceive of their essence “after the death of God?”  How does evil manifest itself in the twentieth century?  How does the dualism of the here and now versus the here-after influence humanity’s habitation of the Earth? Same as GRMN 4504.  Approved for the arts and sciences core curriculum: literature and the arts.


HUMN 4811-3      Nineteenth Century Russian Literature
Vicki Grove

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.  Approved for the arts and sciences core curriculum: literature and the arts.


HUMN 4835-3      Literature and Social Violence
Cathy Comstock

This seminar focuses on both literary and non-fictional texts about social violence, comparing the understanding and effects made possible through different media, including film in some cases.  We’ll study gang culture, homophobia and AIDS, the effects of racism and poverty on gutted-out neighborhoods and school systems, and the politics of hunger.  We’ll also look at sources of great hope and positive action, such as The Freedom Writers’ Diary, and other ways in which both art and social action can make a transformative difference.  All this is combined with volunteer work in community agencies, since the personal experience with the effects of social violence helps us to understand the class materials—and our culture overall—more deeply.

The ability to write fairly well is highly suggested, since we will be learning how to do discourse analysis of the language of both the texts and our society.  In this way the class will focus especially on our methods of making meaning and how those meanings act to maintain or transform our cultural structures.

The class texts include Do or Die, Angels in America, The Bluest Eye, Freedom Writers’ Diary, Savage Inequalities, Gandhi the Man and Tortilla Curtain.  Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: contemporary societies.

Service Practicum for HUMN 4835 (optional but preferred), HUMN 3935: The optional outreach work for the course can be taken for an additional one credit hour (requiring 2-3 hours of service a week), or for an additional 3 credit hours (an internship requiring 8 hours of service a week), resulting in a total number of  either 4 or 6 hours of credit.