Humanities Residential College

Explore the relationship between abstract ideas and life as we live it.

Through a variety of courses that relate the classical tradition to the modern world; the sacred to the political; and the artistic to the technological, think across the boundaries between visual art, science, literature, philosophy, popular culture, and music.

Humanities College Student Staff

Kaitlyn Carduner, Resident Fellow

Kaitlyn Carduner, Resident Fellow

"I am so glad that I joined the Humanities College. It was really great living with a bunch of other students with interests that were similar to my own. Transitioning into college can be hard, but being in a residential college is an awesome opportunity for freshman to join a community and make new friends. Some of my closest friends are people I met in my freshman seminar. I'm looking forward to another year with Humanities!"

Hometown:  Cranbury, NJ
Major: biology

Nathan Aspinall, Junior Fellow

Nathan Aspinall, Junior Fellow

"Living in a Residential College has been the most central part of my experience Bucknell. By living with people with similar academic values and interests, I have been able to form special connections within the close community on my hall. Additionally, the activities and events put on by the Residential College, especially the weekly common hours, have added an engaging aspect to my academic experience that I would have been unable to experience in a traditional classroom setting."

Hometown: Berwyn, Pa.
Major: undecided

Penelope Daniel, Junior Fellow

Penelope Daniel, Junior Fellow

"Joining a Residential College was definitely one of the best decisions I made coming into Bucknell. Being able to have both academic and social experiences with the people living around me helped me transition to college and has allowed me to establish close friendships and enrich my learning. What I love about the Humanities Res College in particular is the fact that the humanities encompass a wide range of disciplines, so a diverse group of students from many different majors and academic interests are brought together to learn from one another and find out what we have in common."

Hometown: College Park, Md.
Major: linguistics and computer science

Emily Tevebaugh, Junior Fellow

Emily Tevebaugh, Junior Fellow

"Joining the Humanities Res College was one of the best decisions I could have made for my first year at Bucknell. I enjoyed discussing challenging questions and provoking topics with my peers at common hours and continuing the discussions even after leaving the classroom. I have gotten to know some really amazing people through the Res College system and recognize the impact it has on creating a strong sense of community on the halls and easing the transition into college. Every day I see the extent to which being a part of of the Humanities Res College is a truly invaluable experience and inspires those involved to learn a great deal about themselves and the world."

Hometown: Tewksbury, N.J.
Major: interdisciplinary studies in economics and mathematics

Humanities College Alumni

Foundation Seminar Course Choices

Selfies, Etc: Portraits in Photo

This course explores a type of visual art work that exists in all the cultures and in all historical periods after the Middle Ages, including our own; the portrait. It offers strong parallels and a rich tradition in the history of literature as well.

The seminar will consider the special characteristics of portraiture in the art and literature and how this form of creative expression has been used over many centuries to reflect psychological, social, historical, political, economic, allegorical, satirical, pop culture and other content. Examples from the visual arts will be considered with reference to contemporary literary sources, such as biographies, autobiographies, etc.

Post-Human Humanities

What happens when digital information technology, genetics, neuroscience, and a culture of cosmetic enhancement all get mixed together in the 21st century Western world? Among other things, you get an extensive debate about what it means to be human and what the "humanities" as a branch of learning can and should do.

This course will look at some vital questions (how do we define the "self"? What are its limits? What is the relation of individuals to the social groups in which they live?) in the context of these new scientific and cultural developments. Using a wide variety of materials (drawn from film, literature, visual art, popular culture, science, and elsewhere), we will examine issues like the status of privacy (is it even possible in a digitally-networked world?); how we construct our identities; and how changes in the way we consume media have affected how we understand their content.

Myth, Reason & Faith

This course is an introduction to the literature, religion, philosophy, and artistic expression of the Western world, beginning with the Greeks and Romans, continuing with the Hebrews, and ending with the emergence of Islam and the West. The texts that we will examine represent some of the most important currents of Western thought prior to the modern age; we will examine them in their historical contexts, and explore the complex question of how the thought of the past interacts with that of the present.

Among the issues that will recur in the semester will be: the nature of divinity, what it means to be human, the connection between spiritual beliefs and the material means through which they are expressed, the distinction between law and justice, the conflict between tradition and innovation, and the historical evolution of gender roles. Our starting point will be the realization that the “Western tradition” is not a unified, easily-described body of permanent truths, but a multi-faceted, heavily-contested, and historically-mutable body of provisional positions.


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