Program in Humanistic Studies
- Eric S. Gregory
- William A. Gleason, English
- Barbara Graziosi, Classics
- Eric S. Gregory, Religion
- Tera W. Hunter, History
- Emmanuel H. Kreike, History
- Lital Levy, Comparative Literature
- Rosina A. Lozano, History
- Federico Marcon, East Asian Studies
- Laurence Ralph, Anthropology
- Marina Rustow, Near Eastern Studies
- Yelena Baraz, Classics
- Denis Feeney, Classics
- Moulie Vidas, Religion
The Program in Humanistic Studies, under the auspices of the Council of the Humanities, hosts introductory courses and advanced seminars that take explicitly interdisciplinary, comparative, and cross-cultural approaches to the humanities. Paying close attention to societal change, upheaval, and transformation, the team-taught year-long “humanities sequences” explore the interrelated events, ideas, texts, and artifacts of Western, Near Eastern, and East Asian cultures. In addition to offering broad interdisciplinary explorations for students in all divisions of the University, the program offers team-taught capstone seminars and a certificate in interdisciplinary studies in the humanities.
The certificate in Humanistic Studies is open to students from all concentrations who wish to design an interdisciplinary curriculum reflecting their specific interests. Students who have undertaken rigorous interdisciplinary study in their first two years may pursue further courses that reflect explicitly on the frontiers of disciplines, the bridges that connect them, and the insights that can be gained from approaching one field with the questions and methods of another. In addition to acquiring a strong base in their home departments, students in the program create links to one or more fields that can illuminate their work.
Students chart individualized pathways that can move across established disciplines and engage with emerging fields of study, such as film and visual studies, neuroscience, and medical, urban, and digital humanities.
Candidates for the program must complete, during their first two years, two interdisciplinary courses that provide a rigorous interdisciplinary approach to arts and culture over a span of historical time. Any 200- or 300-level HUM-designated course may serve as a prerequisite; applicants who seek to fulfill the prerequisites with other courses must submit syllabi of the two courses for which they are requesting approval.
Prerequisites might be: (1) Any two HUM-designated courses (e.g., HUM 346, Introduction to Digital Humanities); (2) HUM 216-217 or 218-219, Interdisciplinary Approaches to Western Culture; (3) HUM 233-234, East Asian Humanities; or (4) HUM 247-248, Near Eastern Humanities. Students are admitted to the program during the second semester of their sophomore year.
Plan of Study
In addition to the two prerequisites, students complete six additional courses, which may also be used to fulfill departmental requirements. Four of these six courses must be explicitly interdisciplinary in their approach and/or subject matter. The remaining two are chosen in consultation with the program adviser to coordinate with the student's individual plan of study. In these courses, students are expected to forge their own interdisciplinary connections and pursue them in their written work. One of the six courses is an interdisciplinary capstone seminar created specifically for certificate students. Students in the program must also complete either a senior thesis in their home departments with an interdisciplinary focus or an interdisciplinary research paper written specifically for the program.
Applicants to the program are encouraged to reflect on the meaningful connections they wish to forge and to propose a curriculum for their junior and senior years that combines the requirements of their home departments with the pursuits that best complement their interests. These individual paths are likely to group into five major trajectories:
1. Bridges within the humanities and arts
Students on this path deepen their study of one particular partnership among the possible combinations of religion, philosophy, history, literature, and the arts.
2. Bridges between the humanities and related social sciences
Students on this path focus on the intersections between a specific branch of the humanities and a neighboring field of anthropology, sociology, or politics.
3. Intercultural studies
Students might illuminate their study of one culture with comparative approaches to other areas of the world, for example, or study one or more regions through different methodologies. In this pursuit, they might benefit from participating in global seminars or other opportunities for study abroad.
4. Bridges between the humanities and the sciences
These students, while concentrating in the humanities or social sciences, might explore links to cognitive science or other sciences.
5. Digital approaches to the humanities
Students in this group might create new kinds of knowledge by examining some area with the resources and insights of computer science.
HUM 470 Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities
This team-taught seminar examines texts, objects, periods, and themes from an interdisciplinary perspective. The specific topic varies each year depending on the focus of the faculty team.