Chair of Literature Humanities: Prof. Christia Mercer, 707 Philosophy; 854-3190
HUMA C1001-C1002: Masterpieces of Western literature and philosophy. Popularly known as “Literature Humanities’’ or “Lit Hum,” this yearlong course offers Columbia College students the opportunity to engage in intensive study and discussion of some of the most significant texts of Western culture. The course is not a survey, but a series of careful readings of literary works that reward both first encounters and long study. Whether class work focuses on the importance of the text to literary history or on its significance to our contemporary culture, the goal is to consider particular conceptions of what it means to be human as well as the place of such conceptions in the development of critical thought.
The principal objectives of Literature Humanities are to teach students to analyze literary texts and to construct intellectual arguments. An interdepartmental staff of professorial and preceptorial faculty meets with groups of approximately twenty-two students for four hours a week in order to discuss texts by Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Herodotus, Thucydides, Aristophanes, Plato, Vergil, Augustine, Dante, Boccaccio, Montaigne, Shakespeare, Austen, Dostoevsky, and Woolf, as well as Hebrew Scriptures and New Testament writings.
Courses of Instruction
HUMA C1001-C1002 Masterpieces of Western literature and philosophy (4 points). Taught by members of the Departments of Classics, English and Comparative Literature, French, German, Italian, Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures, Philosophy, Religion, Slavic Languages, and Spanish; and members of the Society of Fellows. Major works by over twenty authors, ranging in time, theme, and genre from Homer to Virginia Woolf. Students are expected to write at least two papers, to complete two examinations each semester, and to participate actively in class discussions.