Curriculum


The first year

Students planning to complete the Humanities Gateway Program in three semesters take four Humanities Gateway courses during the first year (as well as two or three additional non-Gateway courses each semester). The required first-year sequence is as follows:

 

FALL SEMESTER

Humanities Gateway I: Ancient Texts and Western Traditions (2 credits total)

In the fall semester of their first year, students take two courses that introduce some of the foundational texts of the western traditions. Offering a broad introduction to the ancient biblical world, as well as to the interconnection of Greek and Roman history and culture, these two courses emphasize not only how ancient works were the product of specific historical conditions but also how these texts have subsequently become, in different ways at different points in history, touchstones of humanist inquiry. Selected readings may include the Hebrew Bible and New Testament, the literature of ancient Greece and Rome, and/or texts of philosophical debate, as well as more contemporary works that illuminate the role these ancient texts have played in ongoing and ever-evolving articulations of the nature of human experience. The assignments for this writing-intensive sequence will emphasize the development of close reading and analytic skills. [HMTS101 is designated as fulfilling the First Year Seminar and the Writing Intensive I requirements.]

 

SPRING SEMESTER

Humanities Gateway II: The Intellectual and Cultural Foundations of Europe (2 credits total)

In the spring semester of their first year, students take two courses that draw upon their study of ancient texts in order to consider, in more depth, how those ancient texts played their part in the foundation and development of European culture from the period of Late Antiquity through the Middle Ages and Renaissance. These two courses introduce students to key topics in medieval and renaissance studies, such as the productive tensions between faith and reason; tradition and innovation; self and society. Selected readings may include religious texts from Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions; historical accounts of the development of civic, courtly, and national identities; and/or texts in the genres of autobiography, philosophy, mystical writing, travel narrative, romance, popular drama, scientific treatise, or epic. The assignments for these two courses are both writing- and research-intensive, and encourage students to consider the role different types of texts play in the creation of different definitions of human community.

 

The sophomore year

Students planning to finish the Humanities Gateway as sophomores enroll in two courses in the second year (while also taking six or seven non-Gateway courses). The designated second-year courses are:

 

FALL SEMESTER

Humanities Gateway III: Modern Europe and the World (2 credits total)

In the fall semester of their sophomore year, students enroll in two courses that focus on modern European society, culture, art, literature, and politics. In these two courses, students examine, from different disciplinary perspectives, the evolution of European society from the 18th to the 20th centuries and beyond. Selected topics may include the interaction of history with literature and other art forms, and the changing role of the creative artist in society; the causes and consequences of the Industrial, French, and Russian revolutions; the struggle between liberalism and authoritarian movements; the transformations wrought by the two world wars; and the complex relationship of different European definitions of “modernity” to post-modern and global realities. Culminating assignments will encourage students to draw connections between modern texts and issues and the ancient, medieval, and early modern texts and ideas that precede them, with an emphasis on how concepts central to western thought have developed and changed over time.

 

The five- and six-semester options

Students may obtain permission to distribute the Humanities Gateway sequence over as many as five or six semesters. These options enable them to take more non-Gateway courses during their first two years of enrollment at the College.

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