Humanities

Director of undergraduate studies: Paul Grimstad, Whitney Humanities Center, 53 Wall St., 432-7658; chair: Bryan Garsten, 320 York Street; humanities.yale.edu

The undergraduate program in Humanities provides students the opportunity to integrate 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. 

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 take two specially commissioned core seminars, usually co-taught by two faculty members from different, 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.

Courses for Nonmajors

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.

Requirements of the Major 

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 and approved by the director of undergraduate studies (DUS), and a one- or two-term senior essay. Majors are also required to keep an intellectual journal and are strongly encouraged to enroll in at least one term course in literature in a foreign language. 

Foundations Three broad surveys of foundational works in any cultural tradition are required, such as HIST 280, EALL 200, or RLST 189. One or two foundations courses must be in the classical tradition of Western Europe, such as Directed Studies, or ENGL 129 or CLCV 256.

Core seminars The major requires two core seminars, one in “Modernities” and one in “Interpretations.” Core seminars typically are 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 DUS.

Intellectual journal In an effort to spark integrative thinking across a student’s various courses and extra-curricular commitments, students are encouraged to log entries outlining particularly striking moments in their intellectual lives, whether in courses or outside of them, and are encouraged to keep track of questions they would like to pursue in their studies, insights they come across, and projects they envision for themselves in the future, including possible senior essay topics. Students must submit a minimum of one journal entry each semester to the DUS. At the completion of their studies, students will receive a hard copy of their journal.

Roadmap See visual roadmap of the requirements.

Senior Requirement

A one- or two-term senior essay is required (HUMS 491).

Advising

Students are expected to declare their intent to major in Humanities in a meeting with the DUS before their junior year.

Unique to the Major

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 DUS and the instructor.

Summer program in Rome Humanities majors who take the 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 website and the Yale Summer Session website.

REQUIREMENTS OF THE MAJOR

Prerequisites None

Intellectual journal A minimum of one journal entry every term 

Number of courses 14 term courses (incl senior essay)

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

Senior requirement Senior essay (HUMS 491)

The undergraduate program in Humanities is designed to integrate courses from across the humanistic disciplines into intellectually coherent and personally meaningful courses of study. Works of literature, music, history, philosophy, and the dramatic and visual arts are studied in conversation with one another and in relation to the history of ideas. All students 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 that students 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 should then take two specially commissioned core seminars, usually co-taught by two faculty members who come from different, complementary fields of study. 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.

In an effort to spark integrative thinking across a student’s various courses and extracurricular commitments, the Humanities program requires that its majors keep an intellectual journal. Students may log entries outlining particularly striking moments in their intellectual lives, whether in courses or outside of them, and are encouraged to keep track of questions they would like to pursue in their studies, insights they come across, and projects they envision for themselves in the future, including possible senior essay topics. Students must submit a minimum of one journal entry each semester to the director of undergraduate studies (DUS). At the completion of their studies, students will receive a hard copy of their journal.

FACULTY ASSOCIATED WITH THE PROGRAM OF HUMANITIES

Professors Jeffrey Alexander (Sociology), R. Howard Bloch (French), Edyta Bojanowska (Slavic Languages and Literatures), Leslie Brisman (English), David Bromwich (English), Ardis Butterfield (English), Rüdiger Campe (German), Francesco Casetti (Humanities), Deborah Coen (History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health, History), Stephen Davis (Religious Studies, History), Carolyn Dean (History, French), Carlos Eire (History, Religious Studies), Paul Freedman (History), Kirk Freudenburg (Classics), Bryan Garsten (Political Science), Marie-Hélène Girard (French), Emily Greenwood (Classics), Frank Griffel (Religious Studies), Martin Hägglund (Comparative Literature, Humanities), Christine Hayes (Religious Studies, Judaic Studies), Alice Kaplan (French), Jonathan Kramnick (English), Anthony Kronman (School of Law), Tina Lu (East Asian Languages and Literatures), Ivan Marcus (History, Religious Studies), Stefanie Markovits (English), Giuseppe Mazzotta (Italian), Samuel Moyn (History, School of Law),Robert Nelson (History of Art), Paul North (German), John Durham Peters (English, Film & Media Studies), Brigitte Peucker (German), Pierre Saint-Amand (French), Maurice Samuels (French), Steven Smith (Political Science, Philosophy), Nicola Suthor (History of Art), Gary Tomlinson (Music, Humanities), Shawkat Toorawa (Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations), Katie Trumpener (Comparative Literature), Jing Tsu (East Asian Languages and Literatures), Miroslav Volf (Divinity School), Kirk Wetters (German), Christian Wiman (Institute of Sacred Music), Ruth Yeazell (English)

Associate Professors Marisa Bass (History of Art), Paola Bertucci (History, History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health), Molly Brunson (Slavic Languages and Literatures), Robyn Creswell (Comparative Literature), Toni Dorfman (Adjunct) (Theater Studies), Emily Erikson (Sociology), Marta Figlerowicz (Comparative Literature, English), Moira Fradinger (Comparative Literature), Milette Gaifman (History of Art, Classics), Mick Hunter (East Asian Languages and Literatures), Jacqueline Jung (History of Art), Brian Kane (Music), Noreen Khawaja (Religious Studies), Pauline LeVen (Classics), Isaac Nakhimovsky (History), Joanna Radin (History of Science, Science and Medicine, and Public Health, History), Ayesha Ramachandran (Comparative Literature), Marci Shore (History)

Assistant Professors Lucas Bender (East Asian Languages and Literatures, Humanities), Marijeta Bozovic (Slavic Languages and Literatures), Thomas C. Connolly (French), Jessica Lamont (Classics), Joseph North (English), Giulia Oskian (Political Science), Jessica Peritz (Music), Christiana Purdy Moudarres (Italian), Maryam Sanjabi (French), Katrin Truestedt (German)

Senior Lecturers Peter Cole (Judaic Studies), Charles Hill (Humanities), William Klein (Humanities), Pauline Lin (East Asian Languages and Literatures), Stuart Semmel (History, Humanities), Kathryn Slanski (Humanities, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations), Norma Thompson (Humanities)

Lecturers Benjamin Barasch, Brianne Bilsky (Humanities), Dane Collins, Matthew Croasmun (Divinity School), Joseph Gordon (English), Alfred Guy (English), Virginia Jewiss (Humanities), Katja Lindskog (English), Ryan McAnnally-Linz, Terence Renaud (Humanities), Karin Roffman (Humanities, English), Daniel Schillinger, George Syrimis (Hellenic Studies), Adam Van Doren (School of Art)

Senior Lector Constantine Muravnik (Slavic Languages and Literatures)

Lector Simona Lorenzini (Italian)