Humanities

humanities.northwestern.edu

Humanities courses—known as “HUM” in CAESAR—are offered by the Kaplan Humanities Institute (“Kaplan”). With the exception of particular courses for first-year students, they are open to all students—from any year, any school, any major—at Northwestern.

The humanities are a broad and interdisciplinary collection of fields that differ from the physical, biological, and certain of the social sciences by concentrating on the study and interpretation of human thought and culture. The humanities include literature, philosophy, history, law, art, and music, as well as other cultural forms and practices such as film, dance, theater, television, media, and religion. Certain scholars in sociology, psychology, anthropology, and political science also pursue humanities research.

The humanities explore assumptions about how we make sense of our complex and globalized world. Studying them permits us to examine ourselves and what it means to be human—here and now, as well as elsewhere and in the past. The humanities foster a critical perspective on human artifacts and records of human experience (verbal, visual, aural), enabling us to learn, through a combination of interpretative and analytical research, how to think creatively about questions that often do not have set answers.

Humanities courses offered by Kaplan feature themes that span the humanities and other domains; link the classroom to the world beyond through experiential field study; feature team-taught offerings; and combine inquiry with digital tools to allow students to go beyond textual sources to integrate multimedia, content analysis, and user interfaces into humanities subjects. Each course may feature unique methods, but all humanities courses emphasize critical reading, speaking, and writing skills; examine subjects from multiple perspectives; and provide training in synthesizing competing forms of evidence and developing complex opinions and arguments.

Humanities courses are open to students from any school at Northwestern (the only exception is that Weinberg College First-Year Seminars are only open to Weinberg students). Many of the classes are small-enrollment, 300-level seminars taught by faculty from every humanities discipline, from history to philosophy, African American studies to performance studies, and dozens of departments in between. These seminars tend to be one-of-a-kind offerings that are geared to students in their sophomore to senior years. But Kaplan also features several popular lecture courses, offered most years, that welcome first-years through seniors and are taught by award-winning professors (see HUM 205-0, HUM 220-0, HUM 225-0 and HUM 260-0). Very few humanities courses have prerequisites, and most fulfill distribution requirements.

Kaplan Global Humanities Labs are quarter-long seminars that feature an international field study component. And the Humanities Plunge is a spring break immersion in Chicago’s theatre, art, music, architecture and dance, guided by artists and scholars to help students learn to analyze and interpret these cultural riches.

A note: Many students think that humanities courses are only open to Kaplan Humanities Scholars; not so! Kaplan encourages and welcomes students from any major or field of study to enroll in humanities courses. Humanities training—in deliberation, analysis, and judgment—enables students to process the human experience from varied perspectives, which is valuable preparation for any scholarly or career pursuit.

Humanities courses are labeled "HUM" in CAESAR. Specific class offerings in a quarter are fitted under the broad umbrella course categories listed in the humanities course list (for example, HUM 370-X or HUM 325-X). Class descriptions are available on CAESAR; information is also available on the Kaplan website. Many HUM courses are one-of-a-kind, so they are only offered once in a student's career at Northwestern. And HUM lecture courses may not always be offered in the same quarter from year to year, so make sure to check CAESAR each quarter for specific class descriptions.

Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities

The Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities is committed to disseminating humanities research and providing opportunities for faculty, students, and the broader community to explore issues, examine beliefs, and engage in interdisciplinary dialogue about human thought and culture. As a site for exchange and connection across the humanities, sciences, and social sciences at Northwestern, we are dedicated to fostering critical, creative, and scholarly discussions about what it means to be human, across time and space. Each year, the Kaplan Institute sponsors fellowship competitions to support humanities faculty and student research; hosts a range of dynamic performances, workshops, and talks; supports quarterly artists in residence; and organizes an innovative curriculum of classes positioned at the intersection of humanities disciplines.

The Kaplan Humanities Institute coordinates humanities courses, the Kaplan Humanities Scholars Program, and the humanities minor.

HUM 100-1-BR Introduction to Critical Thinking in the Humanities and Social Sciences (0.5 Unit)   For participants in Bridge I summer program. Commonalities and distinguishing features of critical thinking in humanities and social sciences. Emphasis on analysis and argumentation. Taken with MATH 100-BR.

HUM 100-2-BR Asking - and Answering - Questions in the Humanities and Social Sciences (1 Unit)   For participants in Bridge I summer program. How to determine the appropriate scope of a research paper, how to begin research, and related skills in humanities and social sciences. Prerequisites: MATH 100-BR and HUM 100-1-BR.

HUM 101-6 First-Year Seminar (1 Unit)   WCAS First-Year Seminar

HUM 102-6 First-Year Seminar (1 Unit)   WCAS First-Year Seminar

HUM 105-0 The Humanities Plunge (0.5 Unit)   A half-credit course over spring break immersing students in Chicago's cultural riches. Events and tours are introduced and contextualized by field experts.

HUM 205-0 The World of Homer (1 Unit)   Introduction to the history and material culture of Iron Age Greece. Society, economy, art, and archaeology of the Greek world that gave rise to the Homeric epic. CLASSICS 210-0 and HUM 205-0 are taught together; may not receive credit for both courses. Ethics Values Distro Area Historical Studies Distro Area Interdisciplinary Distro - See Rules Literature Fine Arts Distro Area

HUM 210-0 Humanities in the World I (1 Unit)   Literature Fine Arts Distro Area

HUM 211-0 Humanities in the World II (1 Unit)   Historical Studies Distro Area

HUM 220-0 Health, Biomedicine, Culture, and Society (1 Unit)   Broad introduction to controversies surrounding health and biomedicine by analyzing culture, politics, values, and social institutions. HUM 220-0 and SOCIOL 220-0 are taught together; may not receive credit for both courses. Ethics Values Distro Area Interdisciplinary Distro - See Rules Social Behavioral Sciences Distro Area

HUM 225-0 Media Theory (1 Unit)   Comprehensive introduction from a humanistic perspective to theories about the nature of media and the role of technology in modern culture. ART_HIST 375-0 and HUM 225-0 are taught together; may not receive credit for both courses. Literature Fine Arts Distro Area

HUM 260-0 Humanities Explorations (1 Unit)   Lecture course, often team-taught, that explores social, ethical, and political big questions-e.g., the nature of love, the value of reading, relativity in science and culture, ways to model "choice" across the humanities-from different disciplinary perspectives. May be repeated for credit with change of topic. Ethics Values Distro Area Interdisciplinary Distro - See Rules Literature Fine Arts Distro Area

HUM 310-3 Global Humanities Lab (1 Unit)   Investigation of an international humanities topic through experiential learning and offsite research; focus on how different cultures process and understand the artifacts of human cultures and their values. Course number indicates distribution requirement area in which a course counts. May be repeated for credit with change of topic. Social Behavioral Sciences Distro Area

HUM 310-4 Global Humanities Lab (1 Unit)   Investigation of an international humanities topic through experiential learning and offsite research; focus on how different cultures process and understand the artifacts of human cultures and their values. Course number indicates distribution requirement area in which a course counts. May be repeated for credit with change of topic. Historical Studies Distro Area

HUM 310-5 Global Humanities Lab (1 Unit)   Investigation of an international humanities topic through experiential learning and offsite research; focus on how different cultures process and understand the artifacts of human cultures and their values. Course number indicates distribution requirement area in which a course counts. May be repeated for credit with change of topic. Ethics Values Distro Area

HUM 310-6 Global Humanities Lab (1 Unit)   Investigation of an international humanities topic through experiential learning and offsite research; focus on how different cultures process and understand the artifacts of human cultures and their values. Course number indicates distribution requirement area in which a course counts. May be repeated for credit with change of topic. Literature Fine Arts Distro Area

HUM 325-3 Humanities in the Digital Age (1 Unit)   Innovative and collaborative ways to incorporate technology into humanistic study. Ways to digitize text, image, sound, and/ or video for analysis. Course number indicates distribution requirement area in which a course counts. May be repeated for credit with change of topic. Social Behavioral Sciences Distro Area

HUM 325-4 Humanities in the Digital Age (1 Unit)   Innovative and collaborative ways to incorporate technology into humanistic study. Ways to digitize text, image, sound, and/ or video for analysis. Course number indicates distribution requirement area in which a course counts. May be repeated for credit with change of topic. Historical Studies Distro Area

HUM 325-5 Humanities in the Digital Age (1 Unit)   Innovative and collaborative ways to incorporate technology into humanistic study. Ways to digitize text, image, sound, and/ or video for analysis. Course number indicates distribution requirement area in which a course counts. May be repeated for credit with change of topic. Ethics Values Distro Area

HUM 325-6 Humanities in the Digital Age (1 Unit)   Innovative and collaborative ways to incorporate technology into humanistic study. Ways to digitize text, image, sound, and/ or video for analysis. Course number indicates distribution requirement area in which a course counts. May be repeated for credit with change of topic. Literature Fine Arts Distro Area

HUM 370-3 Special Topics in the Humanities (1 Unit)   Intensive seminars in cutting-edge research on interdisciplinary issues. Course number indicates distribution requirement area in which a course counts. May be repeated for credit with change in topic. Social Behavioral Sciences Distro Area

HUM 370-4 Special Topics in the Humanities (1 Unit)   Intensive seminars in cutting-edge research on interdisciplinary issues. Course number indicates distribution requirement area in which a course counts. May be repeated for credit with change in topic. Historical Studies Distro Area

HUM 370-5 Special Topics in the Humanities (1 Unit)   Intensive seminars in cutting-edge research on interdisciplinary issues. Course number indicates distribution requirement area in which a course counts. May be repeated for credit with change in topic. Ethics Values Distro Area

HUM 370-6 Special Topics in the Humanities (1 Unit)   Intensive seminars in cutting-edge research on interdisciplinary issues. Course number indicates distribution requirement area in which a course counts. May be repeated for credit with change in topic. Literature Fine Arts Distro Area

HUM 395-0 Humanities Seminar (1 Unit)  

Interdisciplinary course offered by a changing roster of humanities faculty. Topics have included cities as modern utopia/dystopia in Europe, Asia, and America; the afterlife of Marxism; the politics of reputation; being animal, being human.

HUM 397-0 Exhibiting Antiquity: The Culture and Politics of Display (1 Unit)   Examination of the construction of Mediterranean antiquity through modes of reception since 1750. Analysis of programs of collecting and display and the intersection of institutional and scholarly agendas. ART_HIST 318-0, CLASSICS 397-0 and HUM 397-0 taught together; may receive credit for only 1 of these courses. Historical Studies Distro Area Interdisciplinary Distro - See Rules Literature Fine Arts Distro Area

HUM 398-1 Senior Humanities Seminar (0.5 Unit)   Two consecutive quarters (fall and winter) during which students work on a senior humanities project under faculty mentorship and within the interdisciplinary community of the Kaplan Humanities Institute. Prerequisite: selection as a Franke Undergraduate Fellow.

HUM 398-2 Senior Humanities Seminar (0.5 Unit)   Two consecutive quarters (fall and winter) during which students work on a senior humanities project under faculty mentorship and within the interdisciplinary community of the Kaplan Humanities Institute. Prerequisite: selection as a Franke Undergraduate Fellow.

HUM 399-0 Independent Study (1 Unit)   Individual projects with faculty guidance. Open to junior and senior minors. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.