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Humanities Curriculum

General Information

In all courses given the humanities designation, students study the aesthetics of specific human works in various media and inquire into the meanings of human existence embodied or suggested there. The courses explore the varied historical and cultural contexts of such works to support the primary focus upon the integrity and artistic character of the works themselves. The instruction is interdisciplinary.


120 Masterworks of Western World
A study of a small number of works from the several arts, these may be from architecture, the graphic arts, literature and music. The intent is 1) to focus on the works themselves, their dialectics of form and content, and 2) to inquire into their historical cultural contexts, and 3) to explore the conditions and character of each achievement, both in its own setting and in its potential for more universal aesthetic power. Works will be chosen from the Western Tradition, from fifth century Athens, through Medieval, Renaissance and Modern Europe, to modern America.
Open to first and second year students. This course fulfills the Humanities (Division I A), Humanities (Division I B), or Arts (Division I C) distribution requirement, depending upon topic.
Attributes: Appropriate for First-Year, Humanities

220 Masterpieces of the Western World
This course will have the same syllabus as Humanities 120. Identical materials are covered and lectures given jointly. However, the course will have its own discussion groups, and a more advanced level of interpretive skills will be assumed both for group discussions and for evaluation.
Open to juniors and seniors.
Attributes: Humanities

Note: Students may take either course for credit but not both. Either course fulfills the Humanities distribution requirement.

The following course is offered in England:

109 London's History and Culture
A topics course which focuses upon the ways that history, literature, and the arts shape culture, using the city of London and its environs as a laboratory.
Taught in the Summer Semester in England only.