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HUMA 501. Gateway to the Humanities (3)

This first course in the Humanities masters degree program introduces students to the interdisciplinary area referred to as “the humanities.” Students will read and work in subfields, developing knowledge and overall understanding about the range of subject matter in the humanities–as well as the conversations about its traditions and evolution–and about the methods of inquiry that characterize it.

HUMA 510. The Sacred (3)

An examination and critique of the idea that there is a “sacred.” Exploring influential concepts of the sacred, the course analyzes some representative historical efforts to institutionalize the sacred in symbols, myths, rituals and spaces that influence people’s lives and choices. Finally, the course analyzes two conflicting trends of the present day: on the one hand, efforts to recover a more authentic sacred by cutting loose from institutional religion; and, on the other hand, efforts to use institutional religion as a base for revolutionary social change.

HUMA 520. The Self: Body and Mind (3)

This is a course introducing students in the Humanities master’s program to the history of ideas focusing fundamentally on the study of ourselves, our bodies and our minds from a variety of perspectives. Students will consider conceptualizations of the body, conceptualizations of the mind (psyche, spirit, soul, animus/a), and conceptualizations of the relationship between body and mind.

HUMA 530. Family and Life Cycle (3)

Through the lenses of literature, art, philosophy and history, the fourth course explores the nature and place of family and the lifecycle in a human’s sense of self, identity, values and understanding of life’s purpose, understanding these in part as cultural constructions that vary according to historical time and geographic place.

HUMA 600. Identity, Meaning and Culture (3)

This course will address the manner in which culture creates meaning by examining texts from literature, film, philosophy, cultural studies and ethnic studies. The starting concept will be that culture produces ideas and that ideas are linked to power struggles. Culture is a field of contending ideas and historical contingencies, and the task will be to examine it in the arenas of its historical expression.

HUMA 610. Space, Place and Geography: Mental Mapping (3)

This course examines how the conceptualization of space and place have contributed to a variety of different cultural understandings of the human condition. The course looks at the conceptions underlying the creation and representation of space and the role of landscape in determining the human condition. The course attempts to assess why differing conceptions of space have led to changes and conflicts in and between societies, whether through internal diachronic change or through contact between different cultures.

HUMA 620. Science and Magic (3)

In this course, the focus of the humanities lens is on the putative divisions between what is defined as “science” and what is seen as “magic” in studies of human inquiry and discovery. The present course foregrounds the old and continuing tensions between ideas referred to as magical on the one hand and scientific on the other and of how such divisions originate and operate both within and across cultures. At stake is our understanding of the question of how epistemic authority creates these categories–whether or not it favors such binary oppositions in general and why–and of how such boundaries shift both in individual and cultural realms. Because each contributes to the shaping of our inquiries and understanding about the world(s) around us, it seems critical to examine how the very categories themselves develop and what the function of such divisions are, within and across cultures.

HUMA 630. Nation and Empire, Law and Government (3)

This course examines the formation of the modern nation-state in 17th and 18th century Europe. Exploring the origins of nation-states in ethnic, linguistic, cultural and other identities and the principles that hold them together (e.g., moral, religious and legal systems), the course will focus in particular on how they are constructed or problematised textually through art, literature and philosophical critique. The course will include extensive analysis and critical evaluation of the impact of the modern state on other societies, with particular attention to colonialism, imperialism and globalization. The course will end with a discussion of precursors, successors and alternatives to the nation-state as a form of political organization.

HUMA 640. Norms and Knowledge (3)

This course will examine questions of knowledge, norms and values as they are represented in philosophy, literature, religion and cultural studies. It traces the development and transformation of these norms and considers the manner in which ideas and ways of knowing change with time and across cultures and different forms of representation. It examines how knowledge is defined and constructed by particular societies and cultures, as well as how knowledge is characterized, configured and reconfigured by social groups, institutions and individual thinkers and artists.

HUMA 650. Capstone: The Good Life (3)

The final course reflects on the programmatic theme, captured in Socrates’ dictum that “The unexamined life is not worth living.” HUMA 650 is an examination of and reflection on that which may matter in order to live a good life, with special emphasis on how particular worldviews (specially those the participants’ might identify as their own) may contribute to shape both what we perceive to be the good life and the means we should adopt in order to attain it. This is the capstone course for the M.A. in the Humanities program.

HUMA 696A. Directed Comprehensive Studies (1)

Prerequisites: Graduate standing; Admission to candidacy. HUMA 696A prepares students to write their final comprehensive exams as well as to meet the writing requirements of the program. The comprehensive exam itself (HUMA 697) is completed during the semester in which students complete all of the requirements for the degree. (Credit/No Credit only)

HUMA 696B. Directed Comprehensive Studies (1)

Prerequisites: Graduate standing; Admission to candidacy. HUMA 696B prepares students to write their final comprehensive exams as well as to meet the writing requirements of the program. The comprehensive exam itself (HUMA 697) is completed during the semester in which students complete all of the requirements for the degree. (Credit/No Credit only)

HUMA 697. Comprehensive Exam (1)

Prerequisite: Graduate standing. Students will work toward the completion of the comprehensive examination with guidance from faculty. Comprehensive exams are completed during the semester in which students complete all the requirements for the degree. (Credit/No Credit only)

HUMA 699. Graduate Independent Study (3)

Prerequisites: Consent of instructor; Consent of director of the graduate program; Consent of department chair. Maximum of 3 units may be applied to the student’s program. May be substituted for one course with program director’s permission.