Major in Cultural Humanities

The major in Cultural Humanities takes the core requirement in HALC (Humanities: Arts, Literature, and Cultures) as an organizing principle for an interdisciplinary program that draws from core and affiliated HALC disciplines/departments and programs (Art and Art History, English, Performing Arts, as well as FLL departments and College interdisciplinary programs with significant investments in the cultural humanities [e.g., African American Studies, Comparative Literature, Film and Media Studies]). In keeping with the logic of the HALC requirement, with its dual focus on “the critical study of creative works and the creative exploration of critical ideas,” the major seeks to integrate course offerings in creative practices, broadly conceived, with those in analysis and interpretation. The major achieves verticality through a tripartite structure: a first level of HALC electives, drawn from across contributing disciplines; a second level of foundational courses, modeled on those in the English major, including one course in critical methods and a two-course historical survey; and a third level of advanced seminars in the Cultural Humanities, with significant potential for interdisciplinarity and innovative themes and topics. The major ensures breadth across the cultural humanities via a set of layered distribution requirements; distribution requirements will be identified by attribute tag, and it is possible for a single course to fulfill multiple distribution requirements if it is interdisciplinary in its focus or methodologies.

HALC course: core requirement/gateway into major

Students will take one course in Humanities: Arts, Literatures and Cultures (HALC) to fulfill the core requirement, typically in the second year of the program. This course will also function as the gateway to the Cultural Humanities major, and counts as one of the four HALC electives described below.

The major in Cultural Humanities requires ten (10) courses as follows:

Foundational Courses (3)

  • Critical Methods in the Cultural Humanities: A survey of critical methodologies and theoretical orientations from across cultural humanities disciplines.
  • History of Literature, Media, and Culture I and II: A broad, two-course, interdisciplinary historical survey. Modeled on the History of Literature, Media, and Culture sequence in the English major, but expanded to include works in the visual arts, music, and theater as well as literature, these courses will introduce a number of critical or representative texts, debates, developments and crises illustrative of the time periods studied. Texts, genres, and topics covered will vary depending on the instructor; emphasis is not on coverage but on the representative nature of the texts and topics covered.

HALC Electives (4)

Students will take at least four HALC electives, inclusive of the first course taken to fulfill the core requirement. These courses can be drawn from any of the participating departments/disciplines, and are designed to give students significant breadth of experience across the cultural humanities.

A non-exhaustive list of courses that fit in this tier and fulfill the HALC elective requirement:

  • Any of the introductory or intermediate courses in Art (e.g., Design I, Drawing I).
  • Any of the introductory survey courses (Ancient to Medieval; Renaissance to Modern; Modern) or intermediate electives in Art History.
  • Any lower-level electives in English.
  • Any of the core courses in music history and culture (Western Musical Tradition, Music in a Multicultural World, Jazz History; Rock History) or electives in music history and culture.
  • Any of the core methods courses (Play Analysis, Improvisation for Social Change, Adaptation and Performance of Literature), comparative studies courses (Cross-Cultural Performance Studies, World Theater History), or intermediate electives in Theater and Performance Studies.
  • Intermediate electives on literature and culture in translation from across FLL departments and programs.
  • Intermediate electives from College interdisciplinary programs with a significant focus on culture and cultural production (e.g., Intro to African American Studies or any of the intermediate electives within the Language, Literature, Arts, and Culture concentration in African American Studies; Intro to Women’s and Gender Studies, Introduction to Sexuality Studies).

Advanced Seminars in the Cultural Humanities (2)

Students take at least two advanced seminars in the Cultural Humanities. Roughly equivalent to 400-level courses in many of the main campus major programs. Potential for significant interdisciplinarity in themes or topics. Students may substitute additional advanced seminars for HALC electives with permission.

Senior Capstone (1)

Emphasis on mentored research, sharing of work in progress, and integration and reflection.

Distribution Requirements

In addition to the above 10 courses required in the Cultural Humanities major, students must also fulfill the following distribution requirement through HALC electives and/or advanced seminars.

Students must take at least one course in three of the following four areas:

  • One course in art, art history, or visual culture.
  • One course in music/sonic culture.
  • One course in theater and performance studies.
  • One course in creative practice/design.*

*To be understood broadly, to include courses in creative (fiction or non-fiction) writing, acting or improvisation, design or drawing, etc.

Courses fulfilling these distribution requirements will be designated with attribute tags; it is possible for a single course to fulfill multiple distribution requirements if there is significant interdisciplinarity in focus or methodological approach. The distribution requirement is designed to ensure that students achieve breadth across the various disciplines in the cultural humanities.