Major and Minor Requirements
Interdisciplinary courses in the humanities have been created to foster the growth of a general, liberal education outside the confines of particular disciplines or departments. These courses, which cut across conventional disciplinary boundaries, are taught by faculty from different departments, and are designed to introduce students to major writers, thinkers, and artists of various cultural traditions. Classes are limited in size so that students may share through discussion their reactions to the works studied, relate them to their own lives, and attempt to judge their relevance to the contemporary world.
Comparative Humanities Major
Program Director: John C. Hunter
Coordinating Committee: Katherine M. Faull, Jay Goodale, Peter Groff, John C. Hunter, Stephanie Larson, Amy McCready, Roger Rothman, Harold Schweizer, James Shields, Carol W. White, Slava I. Yastremski
Professor: Katherine M. Faull
Associate Professors: John C. Hunter, Slava I. Yastremski
Assistant Professors: James Shields
The program in comparative humanities approaches Western traditions of ideas, history, literature, and art in an interdisciplinary fashion. Designed to reflect contemporary trends in humanistic scholarship, it examines issues and perspectives that conventional undergraduate disciplinary boundaries often preclude. These include the various ways in which the "Western tradition" has been constructed and represented, and the historical shifts in the way knowledge has been classified. Inasmuch as language and culture are central to this interdisciplinary project, students who declare a major in the comparative humanities are required to satisfy a language requirement.
The major consists of eight courses, a pass/fail oral examination and a demonstration of reading proficiency in a foreign language. The courses include:
- three period courses in humanities (HUMN 98 or HUMN 128, HUMN 150, and HUMN 250), which ground students in the broad outlines of the Western intellectual tradition. As W2 courses, HUMN 150 and 250 will teach analytical writing skills. All three courses will teach information literacy skills through mandatory research assignments in close consultation with the instructor and library staff. Public-speaking skills will be taught through the preparation for oral reports in HUMN 098/128 and 150 and an oral exam after HUMN 150 (see below).
- two interdisciplinary humanities seminars at the 300- or 400-level which encourage comparative studies across cultural, historical, and formal boundaries.
- two courses in comparative humanities or related humanities disciplines at the 200 level or above (approved by the student's major adviser or program director), one of which is in a non-European tradition. The following courses are strongly recommended.
ART 204 Castle, Cathedral, Cloister
ART 213 History of Western Architecture
CLAS 215 Classical Myth
CLAS 221 Heroic Epic
CLAS 224 Poetry of Passion in Greece and Rome
CLAS 231 Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean
CLAS 233 The Age of Alexander the Great
CLAS 236 The Age of Augustus
CLAS 237 Ethnicity, Gender and Identity in Antiquity
CLAS 247 Ancient Technology
CLAS 332 Classical Athens
EAST 212 Modern Japanese Literature in Translation
EAST 245 Consumption and Material Culture
EAST 251 Buddhism
EAST 256 Contemporary Japanese History
EAST 277 Social Darwinism: East and West
ENGL 226 Irish Studies
ENGL 240 Medieval English Literature to 1485
ENGL 258 Studies in Shakespeare (and Film)
ENGL 261 Studies in Restoration and 18th-century Literature
ENGL 270 Romantic Literature
ENGL 332 Film and Technology
FREN 336 Francophone Africa
HIST 227 American Intellectual History I
HIST 228 American Intellectual History II
HIST 231 Social History Early Modern Europe
HIST 248 Topics in Russian History
HIST 267 European Intellectual History I
HIST 268 European Intellectual History II
HIST 290 European Imperialism and Colonialism
HIST 330 European History: Reformations
HUMN 270 Methods of Interdisciplinarity
HUMN 272 Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities
HUMN 275 Greece and Turkey: East and West
LAMS 295 Topics: Retrospect 20th-century: Literature, Film, Culture
LING 220 Historical Linguistics
MUSC 204 History and Literature of Music
PHIL 206 Medieval Philosophy
PHIL 212 Philosophy of Art
PHIL 219 Problem of False Consciousness
PHIL 220 Philosophy of Science
PHIL 223 Philosophy of Religion
PHIL 230 Feminist Philosophy
PHIL 265 Controversies in Art
PHIL 266 Chinese Philosophy
PHIL 267 Islamic Philosophy
PHIL 269 Indian Philosophy
RELI 200 Buddhism
RELI 201 Islam
RELI 202 Hinduism
RELI 214 God, Nature, Knowledge
RELI 216 Philosophy of Religion
RELI 220 Comparative Ethics
RELI 221 God and Morality
RELI 243 Religions of South Asia
RELI 245 Religions of China
RELI 246 Religions of Japan
RUSS 250 Crimes and Punishment: 19th-century Russian Literature
SPAN 222 Spanish American Literature
SPAN 285 Latino/Latina Literature in the US
WMST 220 Introduction to Feminist Theory in Practice
- a thesis workshop or independent study for a senior thesis (HUMN 350 or HUMN 351), which gives students a chance to pursue focused research on a subject of particular interest to them. Discussion of the thesis topic must begin in the spring of the student's junior year and the topic must have attained final approval by the faculty adviser by the end of September of the senior year. The thesis project may be submitted to the Honors Council for consideration as an honors thesis but this is not required in order to complete the major. Successful completion of the thesis requirement (including an oral defence) counts as the Culminating Experience in comparative humanities.
- the oral examination is an integrative discussion covering all of the material in HUMN 098/128 and HUMN 150 and must be taken after completing both of these courses. It is graded on a pass/fail basis and offered at the end of every spring semester. Students who fail the exam may re-take it when it is next offered.
In keeping with the program's goal of exposing student to different modes of thought, the program asks students to demonstrate work in a foreign language in addition to the eight courses required for the major. Such competency can be attained by passing a one-credit course at the level of the fourth course or higher in a particular language sequence. Students also are encouraged to develop language competency elsewhere, as in summer school or abroad; however, all such programs must first be approved by the comparative humanities program director. Students whose native language is not English, or who are bilingual, are exempted from the language requirement.
A minor in comparative humanities consists of five courses: at least two must be from the core course sequence (HUMN 098/128, HUMN 150, and HUMN 250); at least one must be a 300- or 400-level HUMN seminar; any remaining courses may be selected from HUMN courses and/or the related humanities disciplines course list for the major printed above.
The program integrates parts of the Humanities Living Learning Community. The major is also especially suitable for students interested in broad study of the humanities and comparative studies, e.g., individuals otherwise focusing their education in the sciences and other non-humanities disciplines or students interested in advanced study of the humanities in graduate programs and seeking a balance of disciplinary and interdisciplinary studies for this purpose.
Students interested in the major are encouraged to contact the program director listed above as soon as possible to begin the advising process.