Humanities 10a and 10b; Humanities Colloquia: From Homer to García Márquez and From Joyce to Homer

Hum 10a: Davíd Carrasco (Anthropology/Latin American Studies), Stephen Greenblatt (English), Jay Harris (Religion/Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations), Jill Lepore (History), Deidre Lynch (English), Louis Menand (English)

Hum 10b: Stephen Greenblatt (English), Jay Harris (Religion & Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations), Sean Kelly (Philosophy), Louis Menand (English) Melissa McCormick (East Asian Languages & Civilizations), Leah Whittington (English)

This course is designed as a year-long introduction to the humanities. Starting with Homer’s Odyssey, the course explores works of literature, philosophy, and the arts that still speak to us today. How is that possible? Why do we care about the myths and theories and stories of people we will never know? In part, because whether they explore something as grand as the relation between the human and the divine or something as quotidian as the random thoughts that pass through someone’s mind in the course of a single day, each of these works teaches us something about what it is to be a human being. The works are loosely connected thematically and, in some cases, intertextually. (Joyce’s Ulysses, for example, is organized according to chapters of Homer’s Odyssey and refers back to a number of the previous texts.) As we will see, working at a fast pace through works that range over 2500 years brings into focus both persisting and changing ways of understanding human life.

The course is both reading and writing intensive. It covers a different work almost every week. In addition to a weekly lecture, students will participate in a weekly 90-minute seminar limited to 15 students and led by a faculty member. There will also be a weekly hour-long writing lab led by a teaching fellow. Assignments will include weekly writing exercises, frequent writing workshops, one-on-one meetings with a teaching fellow, and a sequence of essay assignments that aim to develop the writing skills you will need across the curriculum. Students will also have the opportunity to attend performances, visit art museums, and participate in other activities outside of the classroom. The goal is to bring the world of literature, philosophy, and the arts to life.

Freshmen who have been recommended for Expos 20 may take the full year of Hum 10a/b for Expos credit.  

One semester of the course satisfies the General Education requirement in Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding. Students who take both semesters also receive credit for the General Education requirement in Culture and Belief.