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Bachelor of Arts in Humanities

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Humanities Programs

Students have unusual freedom to select courses from a variety of departments. They can create integrated interdisciplinary programs and work closely with a faculty adviser. Majors may choose a track in civilizations in a global context, world literatures, or foundations of law in society. Depending on the track, majors may focus on a particular era or culture in Eastern or Western civilization, such as the Italian Renaissance or China during the Ming dynasty, from an interdisciplinary perspective. Or they may examine a theme or issue that cuts across disciplinary lines, such as classicism versus romanticism or ideas of war and peace.

Students should plan their studies within the general requirements and consult the director or associate director early in the major. During the senior year, the student enrolls in HWC 424 Senior Seminar in Humanities and Western Civilization for 3 credit hours and writes a substantial paper on a topic related to the major area. The adviser for this paper must be a faculty member with expertise in the field of the paper, chosen by the student in consultation with the chair. A second reader is then appointed.

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First- and Second-Year Preparation

Consult the program office or an adviser early. No specific first- or second-year courses are required.

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Requirements for the B.A. Major

The humanities major requires a total of 30 credit hours. Students must take courses in at least 3 humanities departments or programs with a minimum of 6 and maximum of 15 hours from one department (except HWC in which students take more than 15 hours). 18 of the 30 credit hours must be in courses numbered 300 or above.

The following courses (9 credit hours) are required of all majors.

  • HWC 110/HWC 111 Introduction to the Humanities
  • HWC 325 Theory and Method in Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities
  • HWC 424 Senior Seminar in Humanities and Western Civilization (Senior essay project)

All other courses taken toward the major must be approved by the HWC undergraduate coordinator.

Note: Sharing course work (credit hours) between any of the HWC major tracks and another major is restricted to 6 hours.

Courses with a blank (_____) at the end of their titles are typically topics or seminar courses that may be repeated for credit. Usually these courses offer different topics each time they are taught. Students should check with the course instructor about the requirements to take the course and what the topic will be when it is offered.

Graduation Plan

With careful planning and commitment to a full-time course load, you can graduate in 4 years. Download a sample 4-year plan for humanities.

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Track 1: Civilizations in a Global Context

This track studies aspects of the cultures of Western civilization and of one non-Western civilization (e.g. Africa, the Middle East, or Latin America). It provides the student with knowledge of diverse civilizations and methods for investigating their differences and commonalities. It requires 21 credit hours, including the following:

1. HWC 206 Contemporary Western Civilization

2. HWC 430 European Civilization in World Context: _____

3. At least 2 additional courses in aspects of the cultures of Western civilization, 1 of which must be an HWC course. This includes the study of movements and trends in thought, art, literature, beliefs, and events. It may focus on particular topic or epoch in a student’s area of interest. (A list of possible courses is below. Other courses may be selected in consultation with an HWC adviser.)

Cultures of Western Civilization Courses

  • AMS 310 American Culture, 1600-1876
  • AMS 312 American Culture, 1877 to the Present
  • CLSX 330 Greek Literature and Civilization, Honors
  • CLSX 340 Roman Literature and Civilization, Honors
  • HIST 322 The World of the Middle Ages
  • HIST 343 The Holocaust in History
  • HIST 425 History of the Mediterranean World, 1099-1571
  • HIST 513 Early Medieval Culture
  • HIST 515 The Crusades in Cross-Cultural Perspective
  • HWC 510 Science, Technology, and Society
  • HWC 530 Study of a Culture: _____
  • HWC 570 Men and Masculinities
  • HWC 575 The Body, Self, and Society
  • EURS 302 European Culture and Society 1945 to Present: Decline of Modernity and Rise of Postmodernism (Study Abroad)
  • FREN 152 France and the French
  • ITAL 335 Italy and the Italians I
  • PHIL 384 Ancient Philosophy
  • PHIL 386 Modern Philosophy from Descartes to Kant
  • REL 372 Religion in American Society
  • SLAV 340 Introduction to the Languages and Peoples of Russia and East-Central Europe
  • SLAV 502 Introduction to Russian Culture and Society: _____
  • SPAN 300 The Origins and Development of Spanish-American Culture
  • THR 380 Popular Culture: _____
  • WGSS 320 From Goddesses to Witches: Women in Premodern Europe
  • WGSS 321 From Mystics to Feminists: Women’s History in Europe 1600 to the Present

4. At least 3 courses in aspects of the cultures of the non-Western civilization selected. This includes, but is not limited to, any course at the 300-level or above from KU’s list of non-Western culture courses. (This must be in addition to the general education requirement of a non-Western culture course.)

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Track 2: World Literatures

This track offers literary-critical studies of both Western and non-Western literatures. It provides the student with knowledge of diverse literary traditions and methods for investigating their differences and commonalities. It requires 21 credit hours including the following:

1. 2 courses in the Masterpieces of World Literature series (HWC 304, HWC 308, HWC 312) plus 1 additional literature course chosen from the following:

  • The third HWC Masterpiece of World Literature course
  • Any other HWC literature course upon approval from an adviser
  • A course in American, British, or Irish literature (or any other English language or literature course)

2. 2 courses in the literature of a non-English-language European culture in translation (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, etc.). Students with reading knowledge of a European language are strongly encouraged to take 1 of the literature courses in the original language. (A list of possible courses is below. Other courses may be selected in consultation with an HWC adviser.)

Non-English-Language European Literature Courses

  • FREN 405 French Literature in Translation
  • HIST 420 Dante’s Comedy
  • HWC 500 Studies in: ____ (when topic is a non-English-language European literature)
  • GERM 420 German Literature in English Translation: _____
  • SLAV 144 Survey of Russian Literature in Translation
  • SLAV 516 Film Adaptations of Polish and Czech Literature

3. 2 courses in the literature of a non-Western culture in translation. Students with reading knowledge of a non-Western language are strongly encouraged to take 1 of the literature courses in the original language. (A list of possible courses is below. Other courses may be selected in consultation with an HWC adviser.)

Non-Western Literature Courses

  • AAAS 333 Introduction to Caribbean Literature
  • AAAS 340 Women in Contemporary African Literature
  • AAAS 355 African Theatre and Drama
  • AAAS 432 Francophone African Literature
  • AAAS 433 Islamic Literature
  • EALC 316 Modern Japanese Literature in Translation: 1868-1945
  • EALC 318 Modern Chinese Literature in Translation
  • HWC 500 Studies in: _____ (when topic is a non-Western literature)
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Track 3: Foundations of Law in Society

This track gives students an interdisciplinary background in diverse civilizations and provides an opportunity to explore the origins of legal traditions and the study of law in a global humanistic context. It may help students identify an interest in studying law but does not provide a guarantee of admission to law school. It requires 21 credit hours, including the following:

1. HWC 328 Law and the Legal Profession

2. HWC 430 European Civilization in World Context: _____

3. At least 2 additional courses in the cultures of Western civilization, 1 of which must be an HWC course.

4. At least 2 courses in foundations of law and civilization selected from relevant disciplines with approval of the HWC major coordinator.

Foundations of Law and Society Courses

  • POLS 511 The Judicial Process
  • POLS 617 The Congress
  • POLS 684 International Law: The State and the Individual
  • POLS 685 International Law: Laws of Armed Conflicts
  • ANTH 675 Anthropology of Law
  • PHIL 674 Philosophy of Law
  • HIST 653 American Constitutional History to 1887
  • HIST 654 American Constitutional History Since 1887
  • HIST 373 The Supreme Court and Religious Issues (REL 373)
  • EALC 594 Law and Society in Traditional China
  • LA&S 206 Indian Law and Legislation
  • LA&S 208 Tribal/Federal Government Relations
  • PCS 120 Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies
  • PCS 550 Classics of Peace Literature
  • PCS 555 Topics in Peace and Conflict Studies: _____
  • PCS 565 The Literature of Human Rights

5. 1 course in non-Western culture, chosen from KU’s list of approved non-Western culture courses. This course must be taken at the 300-level or above, in addition to the general education requirement of a non-Western culture course.

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