Humanities is an interdisciplinary major coordinated by the Letters Collegium. Working together, the student and Mentor design a ten course program using the methodology of a core Letters discipline (American studies, classics, history, literature, philosophy, political science, film studies, or religious studies), supplemented with courses from complementary disciplines and integrative humanities courses. A minimum of five courses must be from the core discipline; the other courses may be drawn from complementary disciplines. At least five courses must be at the 300 level or above. In addition to the ten-course program, students are required to take a Senior Comprehensive exam designed and evaluated by no fewer than three Letters Collegium faculty.

Students who complete the humanities major demonstrate the following competencies:

  • knowledge of the significance of the humanities as an interdisciplinary field of study and endeavor, and of the interconnections between the different humanities disciplines
  • knowledge of content in the core discipline
  • ability to understand and use the methods of the core discipline
  • ability to conduct research and engage in scholarly writing, including mastery of the accepted style of documentation in the core discipline
  • ability to engage in effective oral communication.


HU 101H: Race & Sex Across Cultures
In this course we explore the history of ideas about race and sex cross-culturally, including social adaptations and political exploitations of those ideas, and on-the-ground experiences of being raced and sexed.

HU 120E: Ecocriticism & Environmental Ethics
An introduction to both environmental ethics and to the interpretation of film and literature from an environmental perspective and an examination of the connections between literary ecocriticism and philosophical environmental ethics.

HU 301G: Ancient Barbarians
Uses modern theory to explore representations of "barbarian" peoples in various ethnographic texts from ancient Mediterranean and Asian traditions. Mellon Research Seminar in the Humanities; enrollment by professor's signature only.

HU 306H: Mediated Identities
This seminar engages with representations of race, class, gender, and sexuality in moving image, audio, gaming, and online media as examples of how visual rhetoric shapes identity. This course is part of the Mellon Foundation-sponsored "New Frontiers in the Humanities" program.

HU 320H: Art and Interpretation: "Strange Bedfellows"
Explores boundaries between the world of art and the world of humanistic interpretation in writing, performing arts/theatre, critical reviewing and aesthetic theory. Mellon Humanities Research Seminar; enrollment by instructors' permission.

HU 499: Senior Thesis