Trinity College’s Humanities Gateway Program engages outstanding students in the interdisciplinary study of  key themes and problems in human society. Students take a sequence of four seminars (over the course of the first year) that focus on a specified theme, with a focus on the ways in which history and literature, as well as religious and philosophical ideas, can help us engage with these issues.

The program builds upon the premise that the skills most highly valued in students who study the liberal arts – their strong writing skills and facility for verbal communication, as well as their capacity to think critically and synthesize complex ideas – are best developed from the outset of a student’s career, and in small seminar settings that encourage engagement with texts and traditions that grapple with defining facets of human experience.

The Thematic Focus for 2020-2021 will be Action and Reflection.

The two fall courses will focus on the action of those we deem heroes, and on changing conceptions of the heroic from classical and biblical antiquity to the present day.

The two spring courses will focus on literary and philosophical writings that exemplify and also challenge the power of reflection – with particular focus on how the privileging of rational thought has served as both a tool and a weapon in a western tradition.

Over the course of these two intensive semesters, students will reflect upon how their conceptions of the heroic and their faith in the power of reason have come into being – and perhaps at times even come into conflict with each other.


Humanities Gateway