Interdisciplinary Humanities (HMN) Minor Core Courses

The following courses are offered for this minor. Not all courses are offered every semester, therefore plan in advance.


200. Introduction to Humanities: Themes in Literature, Culture, and Film.  (3h)   An introduction through literature and film to the history, principles, and concepts of the Humanities.  This course will use as its framework the examination of such topics as dystopia and utopia, the influence of Classical principles on contemporary Western cultures, social justice and human rights in literature and film, and other topics central to the humanities.  Literary and film analysis will explore how cultural values and beliefs are expressed in media and writing, as well as how these beliefs are manifested in popular culture.  The course will include creative writing exercises that explore various literary tropes and humanities themes.  (D)

280. Comparative Studies in Classical & Biblical Traditions: Ancient. (3h)  Investigates the ancient foundations of European intellectual history.  Readings from the ancient Greek, Roman, Jewish, and early Christian traditions include works by authors such as Sophocles, Plato, Cicero, and Ovid, as well as selections from the Hebrew Scriptures and New Testament.

281. Comparative Studies in Classical & Biblical Traditions: Medieval & Modern. (3h)  Explores the complex role of the ancient Greek, Roman, and Biblical worldviews in the formation and development of European intellectual traditions in the medieval and modern periods.  Readings include works by authors such as Augustine, Aquinas, Machiavelli, Montaigne, Shakespeare, Kant, Dostoevsky, and Freud.

290. The Humanities through Film, Literature and Media.  (3h)  Using film, literature and media genres as tropes for analysis, this course explores new and innovative approaches to the humanities in the late 20th. and early 21st. century, including public humanities, digital humanities, and environmental humanities.  Parallel to these approaches, it examines cultural studies, interdisciplinary studies, and gender and sexuality studies as approaches for investigating social justice, environmental justice, and social action.

291. The Humanities and History: Intersections of Public History and the Public Humanities. (3h)  This course explores approaches to public engagement developed in humanities disciplines including public history and public humanities.  The course examines contributions of disciplines in the humanities and the liberal arts to civic discourse and to public engagement.  More specifically, it focuses on public history and public humanities projects that contribute to deepened understanding of communities and their histories, cultures, and narratives.  The course will culminate in the design and implementation of a local public humanities project.

292. The Environmentalist Paradigm, Eco-Feminism and Global Environmental Narratives.  (3h)  This course is a survey of the global spread of Environmentalism, with an emphasis on its evolution as a disciplinary field that includes eco-feminism and feminist perspectives on the environment.  Case studies and investigations of the roles of American women and their international counterparts in environmental history will be examined in the construction of global environmental narratives.

385. Special Topics. (1.5, 3h)  Selected themes and approaches to the study of human culture that bridge disciplinary and/or national boundaries.

386. Special Topics in Literature in Translation. (1.5, 3h)  Selected themes and approaches to the cross-cultural study of narrative.

387. Special Topics in International Film. (1.5, 3h)  Selected themes and approaches to the cross-cultural study of film.

388. Special Topics in Cultural Studies. (1.5, 3h)  Selected themes and approaches to the study of human culture that bridge disciplinary and/or national boundaries.

389. Directed Reading and Research. (1.5 h)  A research project in the humanities that pursues a topic studied in one of the courses of the minor and a synthesis of views from at least two traditional disciplines.

390. Directed Writing. (1.5h)  Capstone project in the minor. P- HMN 389.


Comparative Literature and Literature in Translation (these courses satisfy the Division II Literature requirement)

213. Studies in European Literature. (3h)  Texts studied are by such authors as Dante, Montaigne, Cervantes, Goethe, Dostoevsky, and Camus. (D)

214. Contemporary Fiction. (3h)  Texts studied are by such authors as Mann, Sartre, Unamuno, Fuentes, Moravia, and Voinovich. (D)

215. Germanic and Slavic Literature. (3h)  Texts studied are by such authors as Von Eschenbach, Hoffmann, Turgenev, Dostoevsky, Ibsen and Kafka. (D)

216. Romance Literature. (3h)  Texts studies are by such authors as Boccaccio, Calderón, Flaubert, Machado, de Assis, Gide, and Lampedusa. (D)

217. European Drama. (3h)  Texts studied are by such authors as Moliére, García Lorca, Pirandello, Schiller, Brecht, Ibsen, and Beckett. (CD, D)

218. Eastern European Literature. (3h)  Texts studied are by such authors as Moricz, Hasek, Bulgakov, Andric, Gombrowicz, Kundera, Ugresic, and Erofeev. (CD, D)

219. Survey of Japanese Literature. (3h)  Explores Japanese literature of the modern, and contemporary periods, with an introduction to Japanese cultural and social values.  Course topics include the framing in literature and film of narratives of Japanese cultural development and tropes of modernity in film, art, and culture. (CD, D)

 221. Themes in Chinese Literature. (3h)  Examines selected themes in Chinese fiction and poetry with an emphasis on the modern and early modern periods.  Also listed as EAL 221. (CD, D)

222. Traditional Chinese Literature. (3h)  Surveys the history of the traditional Chinese narrative across a variety of genres and forms such as the classical anecdote, folktale, vernacular story, drama, and novel. Also listed as EAL 222. (CD, D)

223. African and Caribbean Literature. (3h)  Examines narratives strategies, themes, and socio-political concepts found in a selection of literary works by writers from Africa and the Caribbean to investigate the intersection of history and personal history, and the role of race, class, and gender in the construction of cultural identity in the colonial and the post-colonial context.  (LAC component available in French).  (CD, D)

250.A Survey of Arabic Literature in Translation. (3h)  Reading and discussion of selected fiction and non-fiction Arabic works in English translation.  A variety of genres and authors from early classical through the contemporary periods (A.D. 500 to the present) will be included.  Also listed as ARB 250.  (CD, D)

340. German Masterworks in Translation. (3h)  Examines selected works of German, Austrian, and Swiss fiction in English translation by such writers as Goethe, Schiller, Kafka, Mann, and Schnitzler.  Literary periods, genres, and authors vary according to instructor.  Also listed as GES 340. Fall.  (D)

341. Russian Masterworks in Translation. (3 h)  Reading and discussion of selected works from Russian literature in English translation by such writers as Gogol, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Bulgakov, and Solzhenitsyn.  Also listed as RUS 341.  (D)

391. German Women Writers. (3h)  Examines selected works by women authors.  Literary periods, genres, and authors vary according to instructor.  Also listed as GES 390 . (D)

394. German Myths, Legends, and Fairy Tales. (3h)  Study of German myths, legends, and fairy tales since the Middle Ages and their role in the formation of German national identity.  Also listed as GES 394.  (D)

395. The German Novel. (3h)  Introduces novels by German, Swiss, and Austrian authors.  Also listed as GES 396.  (D)


International Film Studies

235. German Film. (3h)  Survey of German cinema from the silent era to the present.  Also listed as GES 335.

252. Chinese Cinemas. (3h)  Provides a through examination of Chinese cinemas from Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, paying special attention to film’s aesthetic responses to historical catastrophe, political upheaval, and social transformation.   Examining film’s concerns with the narration of history raises further questions regarding national and cultural identity, popular culture and cinematic form, gender and sexuality, exile and diaspora, and revolutionary aesthetics.  Also listed as EAL 252.  (CD)

253. Japanese Film: Themes and Methods. (3h)  Explores themes, artistic visions, and techniques in a variety of film genres, from historical dramas to contemporary comedies and from realism to fantasy and science fiction.  Special focus is given to the films’ historical and political context.  Directors include Mizoguchi, Ozu, Kurosawa, and Miyazaki.  Also listed as EAL 253.  (CD)

273. Literature and Film from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Beyond. (3h)  Explores the specific cultural, political, historical, and aesthetic contexts that contributed to the development of Chinese language writings and film outside the mainland.  Also listed as EAL 272.  (CD)


Cultural Studies

225. Literature, Travel, and Discovery. (3h)  Explores various works, primarily in translation, from Homer to the present that focus on the relationship between travel and discovery, especially as travel establishes the ongoing connection between the sacred and the profane for both guest and host.

257.  Early 20th. Century Chinese Modernist Practices.  (3h)  Explores various modernist experiments in literature and the arts in the first half of the 20th. century.  Also listed as EAL 231. (CD)

262. Racism, Heterosexism, and Religious Intolerance.  (3h)  A comparative cultural examination through fiction and non-fiction sources, of the initiation, maintenance, and treatment of prejudice, with emphasis on American society from the Jim Crow era to the present.  Myths and facts, such as those related to Middle East unrest, will also be discussed.

270. Contemporary Japanese Culture .  (3h)  Selected topics in Japanese literature, pop culture, film, animation, and other forms.  May be repeated for credit when topic differs. P – POI.  Also listed as EAL 270.  (CD)

271. Mass Culture in Modern China. (3h)  Begins with an inquiry into the critical concept of mass and popular culture by looking at newspapers, posters, literature, film, and music, and tracing their sociopolitical, aesthetic, and effective impact on modern China.  Also listed as EAL 271.  (CD)

272. Literature and Ethics. (3h)  Consideration of historical and contemporary ethical issues expressed through various epochs and nationalities of literature.  Participants explore ethics through prose fiction as well as through poetry, drama, prose non-ficition, and other writings.  Representative authors, intentionally drawn from different cultures (sources in English or by translation) include: Shakespeare, Hawthorne, Austen, Browning, Dostoevsky, Silone, Nabakov, Miller, and Ishiguro.

285. Culture and Religion in Contemporary Native America. (3h)  Interdisciplinary survey of American-Indian cultures, including the arts and literature, religions, and historical changes.  Emphasizes the impact of the Conquista, encounters with Northern Atlantic societies, and contemporary developments.  Also listed as REL 265 and AES 265. (CD)

320. Fathers and Daughters. (3h) Explores father-daughter relationships in contemporary American society through an interdisciplinary lens of film, literature, music, theater, media, and social science research. P – sophomore standing.

338. Music and Political Power. ( 3h)  Explores the intersection of music and politics on a global scale.  From American workers’ protest songs, to the musical forces in the anti-war and Civil Rights movements, to the New Song movement in Latin America, participants examine music as a rhetorical commentary on power.  The course will challenge students to see the role of music in shaping culture, affecting attitudes, and uniting or dividing people.  The seminar will emphasize interdisciplinary and cross-cultural approaches to musical expression.  Also listed as MUS 249.

365. Humanity and Nature. (3h)  Examines humanity’s relationship with nature from a variety of perspectives: philosophical, scientific, religious, political, legal, and aesthetic.  To that end, this course focuses on how various humanistic perspectives articulate a sustainable and viable relationship with nature.  The class engages selected religious, classical, and philosophical texts; works of visual art; selected discussions of ecology and human responsibility.  Also listed as HON 265.

367. Contemplative Traditions in Christianity. (3h)  Historical study of contemplative traditions with special attention to interdisciplinary approaches.  Also listed as REL 367/667.

370.Medicine and the Humanities. (3h)  Scholars from the Reynolda and Bowman Gray campuses lead a seminar on ideas and questions at the intersection of medical science and the humanities.  Topics include medical history; the expression of disease in literature and art; the ethics of genetics research; the interplay of religion and medicine; and the economics of health care.

374. Humanities and Family Law: Child Custody Research and Issues.  (3h)  Examines the research and explores the controversies regarding child custody in the United States and other Western countries from an interdisciplinary perspective, incorporating exploration of law, psychology, sociology, and documentary film.  The course will provide first-hand experience observing custody hearings in family court and interacting with lawyers, judges, and other professionals who are involved in making custody decisions.  P- sophomore standing.

380. Literature, Film, and Society. (3h)  Study of major selected works of literature, mainly American; of the films which have been based upon them; and of the social and political context in which they were read and seen.  Texts include novels, stories, and plays by such writers as Dreiser, Lewis, Warren, Steinbeck, Hellman, Harper Lee, Wright, and Walker.  P- junior standing.

398. Intellectual History of Weimar. (3h)  Examines the philosophical, political, and literary works that gave rise to the mythical status of Weimar as the intellectual heart of Germany.  Students read selected works by Luther, Goethe, Schiller, Fichte, and the Jena Romantics.  Includes an optional week-long excursion to Weimar, Germany.  Also listed as GES 397. (D)


Study Abroad Courses

160. Contemporary Venetian Experience. (1.5h)  Social, artistic and environmental aspects of life in contemporary Venice.  Includes site visits, guest lectures, and interviews with Venetians.  Taught only in Venice.  Pass/Fail.

180. Contemporary London Experience. (1.5h)  Social, political, cultural, and environmental factors of life in London today.  Taught only in London.  Pass/Fail.

190. Contemporary Viennese Experience. (1.5h)  Social, cultural, and environmental factors of life in contemporary Vienna.  Includes site visits, guest lectures, and interviews with Viennese.  Taught only in Vienna.  Pass/Fail.

183. Contemporary Argentine Experience. (1.5h)  Social, political, cultural, and environmental factors of life in Argentina today.  Taught only in Argentina.  Pass/Fail.

186. Contemporary Chilean Experience.  (1.5h)  Social, political, cultural, and environmental factors of life in Chile today.  Taught only in Chile.  Pass/Fail.

224. Cross-cultural Encounters in Morocco. (3h)  Interdisciplinary study of Moroccan culture, both past and present, and an introduction to a country whose history and geo-political situation are unique within the Arab region.  Group excursions to sites of cultural and historic significance.  Offered only in Fez, Morocco, during the summer session.

228. Viennese Culture from 1860 to 1914. (3h)  Study of late 19th. and early 20th. century in Vienna as reflected in the matrix of the city’s civic and artistic life.  Offered only in Vienna.

232. Italy in Literature. (3h)  Readings and discussions in fiction, drama, and poetry that highlight trends and genres in Italian literature from the Middle Ages through contemporary times, and/or literature that features Italy as seen through the eyes of foreigners.  Taught only in Venice.

342. Japan in Perspective. (3h)  Readings in accounts of Japan by Western visitors from the 19th. century to the present, e.g., Heard, Bird, Booth, Reid, and writing of reflective essays on student responses to their experiences with Japan and Japanese culture.  Taught only in Japan.