Humanities Courses

To study the humanities is to study how humans make the world meaningful. It is to study the art, music, philosophy, literature, and languages with which cultures have contended with the challenges and approached the limits of human experience. At Harvard, fifteen departments and four undergraduate degree programs offer courses in the humanities.

The breadth of these offerings is exhilarating, but also potentially daunting. Fortunately, there are Harvard courses in the humanities designed especially for freshmen. They are taught by faculty members with a superb track record in teaching undergraduates. For students wishing to dive into the humanities, these courses are a great option.

Prof. Luke Menand

 

Humanities 10a: A Humanities Colloquium: From Homer to García Márquez

Louis Menand, Stephen Greenblatt, Alison Simmons, Davíd L. Carrasco, Melissa M. McCormick, Nicholas Boylston
Fall 2019, Tuesdays, 10:30-11:45am, plus section

2,500 years of essential works, taught by six professors. Humanities 10a includes works by Homer, Plato, Sappho, Murasaki, Rumi, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, Shakespeare, Descartes, Austen, Woolf and García Márquez, as well as the Bible and the Quran. One 75-minute lecture plus a 75-minute discussion seminar led by the professors every week. Students also receive instruction in critical writing one hour a week, in writing labs and individual conferences. Students also have opportunities to visit cultural venues and attend musical and theatrical events in Cambridge or Boston. 

Course Notes:
The course is open only to freshmen. Students who complete Humanities 10a meet the General Education distribution requirement for Arts & Humanities. Students who take both Humanities 10a and Humanities 10b fulfill the College Writing requirement. This is the only course outside of Expository Writing that satisfies the College Writing requirement. 

This course has a two-step lottery and application process. Enrollment is limited to 90. 

 

Humanities 10b: A Humanities Colloquium: From Joyce to Homer

Louis Menand, Leah Whittington, David Armitage, Samantha Matherne, David Elmer, Katharina Piechocki
Spring 2020: Tuesdays, 10:30-11:45am, plus section

2,500 years of essential works, taught by six professors. Humanities 10b is open only to students who completed Humanities 10a in Fall 2018. Humanities 10b includes works by Joyce, Nietzsche, Mary Shelley, Austen, Pascal, Marguerite de Navarre, Dante, Augustine, Sophocles, and Homer, as well as the Arabian Nights. One 75-minute lecture plus a 75-minute discussion seminar led by the professors every week. Students continue to receive instruction in critical writing one hour a week, in writing labs and individual conferences. Students also have opportunities to visit cultural venues and attend musical and theatrical events in Cambridge or Boston. 

Course Notes:
The course is open only to freshmen who have completed Humanities 10a. Students who take both Humanities 10a and Humanities 10b fulfill the General Education requirements for Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding and Culture and Belief as well as the College Writing requirement. This is the only course outside of Expository Writing that satisfies the College Writing requirement.