Director of undergraduate studies: Norma Thompson, Whitney Humanities Center, 53 Wall St., 432-1313,; chair: Bryan Garsten, 53 Wall St., 432-0670, bryan.garsten@yale.edu


Professors Jeffrey Alexander (Sociology), Dudley Andrew (Film & Media Studies, Comparative Literature), Seyla Benhabib (Political Science), R. Howard Bloch (French), Harold Bloom (Humanities), Leslie Brisman (English), David Bromwich (English), Rüdiger Campe (German), Francesco Casetti (Humanities), Stephen Davis (Religious Studies, History), Wai Chee Dimock (English), Carlos Eire (History, Religious Studies), Benjamin Foster (Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations), Paul Freedman (History), Kirk Freudenburg (Classics), Bryan Garsten (Political Science), Phyllis Granoff (Religious Studies), Emily Greenwood (Classics), Frank Griffel (Religious Studies), Karsten Harries (Philosophy), Christine Hayes (Religious Studies, Judaic Studies), Carol Jacobs (German), Edward Kamens (East Asian Languages & Literatures), Alice Kaplan (French), Anthony Kronman (School of Law), Kathryn Lofton (Religious Studies, American Studies, History), Tina Lu (East Asian Languages & Literatures), John MacKay (Slavic Languages & Literatures), Stefanie Markovits (English), Paul North (German), Brigitte Peucker (German), Steven Pincus (History), Leon Plantinga (Emeritus) (Music), Joseph Roach (English, Theater Studies), John Rogers (English), Andrew Sabl (Ethics, Politics, & Economics) (Visiting), Maurice Samuels (French), Steven Smith (Political Science, Philosophy), William Summers (History of Medicine), Henry Sussman (German) (Visiting), Gary Tomlinson (Music, Humanities), Francesca Trivellato (History), Katie Trumpener (Comparative Literature), Jing Tsu (East Asian Languages & Literatures), Miroslav Volf (Divinity School), Anders Winroth (History), Ruth Yeazell (English)

Associate Professors Paola Bertucci (History, History of Medicine), Sarah Demers (Physics), Toni Dorfman (Adjunct) (Theater Studies), Martin Hägglund (Comparative Literature, Humanities), Karuna Mantena (Political Science), Andrew March (Political Science), Paul North (German), Marci Shore (History), Kirk Wetters (German)

Assistant Professors Rebekah Ahrendt (Music), Marijeta Bozovic (Slavic Languages & Literatures), Molly Brunson (Slavic Languages & Literatures), Thomas C. Connolly (French), Henry Cowles (History of Medicine, History), Emily Erikson (Sociology), Bella Grigoryan (Slavic Languages & Literatures), Christiana Purdy Moudarres (Italian), Isaac Nakhimovsky (History), Dixa Ramirez (American Studies)

Senior Lecturers Peter Cole (Judaic Studies), Ronald Gregg (Film & Media Studies), Charles Hill (Humanities), Stuart Semmel (History, Humanities), Kathryn Slanski (Humanities, Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations), Norma Thompson (Humanities), Christian Wiman (Institute of Sacred Music, Divinity School)

Lecturers Jeffrey Brenzel (Yale College), Karla Britton (Divinity School), Emily Coates (Theater Studies), Matthew Croasmun (Religious Studies), Amerigo Fabbri (Humanities), Hilary Fink (Slavic Languages & Literatures), Karen Foster (Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations), Mia Reinoso Genoni (History of Art), Virginia Jewiss (Humanities), Camille Lizarribar (Humanities), Judith Malafronte (Music), Thomas Miller (Humanities), Terence Renaud (Humanities), Karin Roffman (Humanities, English), Pamela Schirmeister (English), George Syrimis (Hellenic Studies)

The undergraduate program in Humanities guides students in integrating courses from across the humanistic disciplines into intellectually coherent and personally meaningful courses of study. Works of literature, music, history, philosophy, and the visual arts are brought into conversation with one another and with the history of ideas. Students in all classes can find options in the varied course offerings, from special seminars for first-year students to the Franke and Shulman Seminars for seniors. Many courses are open to nonmajors.

The major in Humanities asks students to begin with broad surveys of foundational works in at least two different cultural traditions, including at least one course on classical Western European texts. All majors in the Class of 2018 and subsequent classes take two specially-commissioned core seminars, each co-taught by two faculty members from different but complementary fields of study. After taking these core seminars, students in the major share a broad grounding in several cultural traditions, the experience of having grappled with the question of what "modernity" is, and the experience of having spent a term interpreting a single work (or small corpus of works) in great depth. Students then craft an area of concentration according to their interests and with the help of appropriate faculty members. The major offers breadth and interdisciplinary scope even as it encourages depth and intellectual coherence.

Requirements of the major for the Class of 2017 and previous classes Students in the Class of 2017 and previous classes may fulfill the requirements of the Humanities major that were in place when they entered the major, as described in previous editions of this bulletin.

Requirements of the major for the Class of 2018 and subsequent classes Fourteen term courses are required for the major, including three “foundational works” surveys, two core seminars, one course in each of four areas of study in the humanities (which may include the Franke and Shulman Seminars), four additional electives selected to complement the student's area of concentration (with approval of the director of undergraduate studies), and a one- or two-term senior essay. Majors in Humanities are strongly encouraged to enroll in at least one term course in literature in a foreign language. Students are expected to declare their intent to major in Humanities in a meeting with the director of undergraduate studies before their junior year.

Foundations Three broad surveys of foundational works in any cultural tradition are required, such as HIST 280, The Catholic Intellectual Tradition, EALL 200, The Chinese Tradition, or RLST 189, Introduction to Indian Philosophy. One or two foundations courses must be in the classical tradition of Western Europe, such as Directed Studies, or ENGL 129, Tragedy in the European Literary Tradition, or CLCV 256, Ancient Athenian Civilization.

Core seminars The major requires two core seminars, one in "Modernities" and one in "Interpretations.” Each core seminar is taught by a pair of faculty members from complementary disciplines. The two broad themes of the seminars remain consistent from year to year, but the material studied and the faculty members teaching change, allowing each class of students to explore the themes in different ways.

Areas of study in the humanities One course is required in each of four areas: literature; visual, musical, or dramatic arts; science in the humanities; and intellectual history and historical analysis. Courses may be drawn from any department or program in Yale College, with the approval of the director of undergraduate studies.

The Franke Seminar and the Shulman Seminar Sponsored by the Whitney Humanities Center and designed to speak across disciplinary lines to broad public and intellectual issues, the Franke Seminar and the Shulman Seminar each include a series of coordinated public lectures. The seminars are for enrolled students; the lecture series are open to the Yale and local communities. Humanities majors may enroll in a Franke or a Shulman Seminar with permission of the director of undergraduate studies and the instructor.

Summer program in Rome Humanities majors who take the spring-term course HUMS 444, The City of Rome, (or its equivalent, with instructor approval) and develop individual research topics to be pursued in Rome may apply for enrollment in a two-credit summer course offered by Yale Summer Session. Museums, archaeological sites, churches, piazzas, libraries, and the city itself are part of the classroom for the summer course. Further information is available on the Humanities program Web site and the Yale Summer Session Web site.


Prerequisites None

Number of courses 14 term courses (incl senior essay)

Distribution of courses 3 foundations courses; 2 core sems; 1 course in each of 4 disciplinary areas; 4 electives in concentration

Senior requirement Senior essay (HUMS 491)

Seminars for Freshmen

* HUMS 076a / HSHM 007a, Epidemics in Global Perspective William Summers

Interaction of epidemic diseases and society. The response of government, medicine, and the public to the threat or actual presence of widespread contagious diseases. The notion of major epidemics as one of the key contingencies of history, critically examined through contemporary medical, political, and literary accounts. The changing responses of societies and governments to epidemics as well as the reasons for those responses. Enrollment limited to freshmen. Preregistration required; see under Freshman Seminar Program.  HU, SO
MW 2:30pm-3:45pm

* HUMS 078a, Shakespeare and Music Judith Malafronte

The use of music in Shakespeare's plays, from the original stagings and seventeenth-century adaptations to modern productions. Consideration of operatic versions of the plays from the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. Includes a field trip to New York City. Enrollment limited to freshmen. Preregistration required; see under Freshman Seminar Program.  HU
WF 11:35am-12:50pm

Core Seminars

* HUMS 400a / FREN 399a / PLSC 316a, Modernities R. Howard Bloch and Steven Smith

An interdisciplinary study of philosophy, social thought, and some key literary works connected to two moments of modernity—the Enlightenment and the period of the "great upheaval" (1870–1915).  HU, SO
MW 9am-10:15am

* HUMS 401b / EALL 318b, Interpretations: The Dream of the Red Chamber Tina Lu and R. Howard Bloch

Close reading of the eighteenth-century Chinese novel The Dream of the Red Chamber in translation, with some attention to secondary and theoretical materials. The novel is used to examine humanistic questions, including what it means to read across cultures. Priority to Humanities majors.  HU
MW 11:35am-12:50pm

Humanities Electives

* HUMS 150a, Shakespeare and the Canon: Histories, Comedies, and Poems Harold Bloom

A reading of Shakespeare's histories, comedies, and poems, with an emphasis on their originality in regard to tradition and their influence on Western representation since the seventeenth century. Secondary readings included.  HU
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

* HUMS 151b, Shakespeare and the Canon: Tragedies and Romances Harold Bloom

A reading of Shakespeare's tragedies and romances, with an emphasis on their originality in regard to tradition and their influence on Western representation since the seventeenth century. Secondary readings included.  HU
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

* HUMS 152a, Poetic Influence from Shakespeare to Keats Harold Bloom

The complexities of poetic influence in the traditions of the English language, from Shakespeare to Keats.  HU
Th 1:30pm-3:20pm

* HUMS 153b, Poetic Influence from Tennyson and Whitman to the Present Harold Bloom

The complexities of poetic influence in the tradition of the English language, from Tennyson and Whitman to the present.  HU
Th 1:30pm-3:20pm

* HUMS 184a, Experiments in Twentieth-Century Literary Biography Karin Roffman

The history and practice of literary biography explored through groundbreaking experiments in form and theory. Ethics and responsibilities in the shifting relationship between biographer and subject. Complexities in research and writing, including multiple perspectives on the same event, contradictory archival evidence, and conflicting narrative truth. Focus on modern biographies and recent novels that examine the process of writing a life.  HU
MW 1pm-2:15pm

* HUMS 192b / HIST 299Jb, Intellectuals and Power in Europe Terence Renaud

The role of intellectuals in politics, with a focus on social, cultural, and political upheavals in Europe during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Whether intellectuals betray a higher spiritual calling when they enter politics or merely strive to put their own theories into practice. Modern answers to the question of why ideas and intellectuals matter.  HU
W 9:25am-11:15am

* HUMS 193b, Screening the Past Staff

An interdisciplinary study of cinematic representations of the historical past. Films that treat historical events realistically; others that deliberately present history as it did not happen. Standards that can be applied to judge history on the screen; lessons for evaluating history on the page.  HU

* HUMS 205a, Boundaries of the Body in Law and Literature Camille Lizarríbar

The representation of the human body in law and literature. Bodies as physical structures that inhabit multiple realms, including material, cultural, historical, and symbolic. Ways in which humans think about and give meaning to their bodies in relationship to themselves and to others. Additional sources include film, television, and journalism.  WR, HU
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

* HUMS 300b, Oratory in Statecraft Charles Hill

A seminar and practicum in oratory, the first tool of leadership. A study of oratory as it provides direction, builds support, and drives action on a strategic agenda. Analysis of speeches in antiquity, the early modern era, and the unique American voice: Edwards to Lincoln to King.  HU
TTh 2:30pm-3:45pm

* HUMS 310a, Aristotelian Statecraft Charles Hill

Connections between working practices and governance from Aristotle to Aquinas to Arendt. Statecraft as a practical art to be understood and informed by the structures and methods of agriculture, navigation, fishing, hunting, cooking, mountaineering, flying, athletics, and shipbuilding. Ways in which actions produce ideas transferable to such matters of statecraft as law and diplomacy.  HU
F 9:25am-11:15am

* HUMS 353a, The World of Augustine's Confessions Thomas Miller

A close study of the Confessions of Augustine. Additional readings by Vergil, Cicero, Paul, Plotinus, Tertullian, and Apuleius place Augustine’s work in the intellectual context of the waning of the Roman empire and the rise of Christianity.  HUTr
TTh 2:30pm-3:45pm

* HUMS 383b, Evidence in Humanistic Inquiry Norma Thompson and Mia Reinoso Genoni

Study of observation and judgment as the critical tools of humanistic inquiry. Textual exegesis of historical, philosophical, rhetorical, and literary works; visual analysis of paintings, prints, sculpture, architecture, and mixed media. Ways in which humans see, evaluate, and understand.  HU
Th 9:25am-11:15am

* HUMS 411b, Life Worth Living Staff

Comparative exploration of the shape of the life advocated by several of the world's normative traditions, both religious and nonreligious. Concrete instantiations of these traditions explored through contemporary exemplars drawn from outside the professional religious or philosophical spheres. Readings from the founding texts of Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Marxism, and utilitarianism.  HU

* HUMS 427b / ENGL 456b / JDST 316b / LITR 348b, The Practice of Literary Translation Peter Cole

Intensive readings in the history and theory of translation paired with practice in translating. Case studies from ancient languages (the Bible, Greek and Latin classics), medieval languages (classical Arabic literature), and modern languages (poetic texts).  HU
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

* HUMS 434a / CLCV 113a / NELC 230a, Mesopotamia's Literary Legacy Kathryn Slanski

Major works of ancient Near Eastern literature; relationships with literary traditions in the Hebrew Bible and ancient Greece. Readings include myths, epics, wisdom literature, love poetry, and humorous stories.  HU
Th 9:25am-11:15am

* HUMS 444b, The City of Rome Virginia Jewiss

An interdisciplinary study of Rome from its legendary origins through its evolving presence at the crossroads of Europe and the world. Exploration of the city's rich interweaving of history, theology, literature, philosophy, and the arts in significant moments of Roman and world history.  HU
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

* HUMS 453b / ENGL 414b, Utopia John Rogers

An examination of utopian fiction. Focus on works from early modern England, with some attention to more recent utopian writings. The genre's Platonic origins, its ties to early modern political philosophy, its role in the rise of the novel, and its legacy in science fiction. Utopian literature's abiding concern with issues of social discipline, religion, education, science, marriage, and sex.  WR, HU
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

* HUMS 464b, Self-Knowledge, Psychoanalysis, and Human Happiness Staff

Conceptions of self-knowledge and its relation to human happiness, with a focus on the writings of Sigmund Freud. Divisions within the soul and the prospects for integration; the psychoanalytic relation as a form of friendship; comparison of ancient and modern ideas of happiness. Preference to students who have completed Directed Studies or a comparable series of courses in ancient and modern philosophy.  HU

The Franke Seminar

* HUMS 454a / ENGL 308a / FILM 242a / LITR 398a, Interpreting Film Masterpieces Dudley Andrew and David Bromwich

Exploration of seven auteurs from Europe and Hollywood, 1937–1967. Assessment of methods that deepen appreciation of the films and the medium.  WR, HU
M 6:30pm-9:30pm; T 1:30pm-3:20pm

The Shulman Seminar

* HUMS 455b / PHYS 115b / THST 115b, The Physics of Dance Sarah Demers Konezny and Emily Coates

Critical investigation of introductory concepts in physics through the lens of dance. Topics in physics include the normal force, friction, Newton's laws, projectile motion, potential and kinetic energy, and conservation of energy. Topics in dance include aspects of dance history, contemporary artists who engage with science, and the development of movement studies. Class meetings include movement exercises. Prerequisite: basic trigonometry and algebra. Prior dance experience is not required.  QR, HU, SC
MW 1:30pm-3:20pm

Individual Research and Senior Essay Courses

* HUMS 470a and HUMS 471b, Special Studies in the Humanities Norma Thompson

For students who wish to pursue a topic in Humanities not otherwise covered. May be used for research or for directed reading under the guidance of one or more faculty advisers. In either case a term paper or its equivalent is required, as are regular meetings with the adviser or advisers. To apply, a student should present a prospectus and a bibliography signed by the adviser or advisers to the director of undergraduate studies. Enrollment limited to juniors and seniors majoring in Humanities.

* HUMS 491a or b, The Senior Essay Norma Thompson

Independent library-based research under faculty supervision. To register, students must consult the director of undergraduate studies no later than the end of registration period in the previous term. A written plan of study approved by a faculty adviser must be submitted to the director of undergraduate studies by November 20, 2015, if the essay is to be submitted during the spring term, by April 29, 2016, for yearlong or fall-term essays. A rough draft of the essay is due at noon on March 28, 2016, for spring-term essays or on October 30, 2015, for fall-term essays. The final essay is due at noon on April 11, 2016, for spring-term essays or on December 4, 2015, for fall-term essays; late essays will be penalized by a lower grade.  RP