The Humanities program was established in 1962 as a synthetic, interdisciplinary approach to liberal education that combined formal lectures and smaller discussion groups in a survey of key texts. The current course offering, Connections and Conflicts in the Humanities I & II (HUM 103 and 104), surveys key texts from both the Western tradition and from beyond Europe and what used to be called "the West." For each year, there will be a particular theme that we will bring to bear for all the things we study. In 2017-18, the theme is revolution.
Why study the music, art, literature, philosophy, history, and sacred texts of cultures we know and inhabit as well as artifacts of cultures from distant chronological and geographical places that might be alien to our own? At Davidson, we believe that a liberal arts education requires a balance of courses from across the disciplines, including the humanities, in order for our graduates to have the greatest impact in their post-Davidson worlds. In the humanities, one can find a massive repository of ideas concerning the human experience. Some of the ideas will get expressed using words, others by using musical sounds, or dancers on a stage, or paint on a canvas, or celluloid flickers on a screen, or by objects in space.
Using examples from long ago and also closer to the present, we will emphasize the ways ideas have persisted and changed over time. Some of these conflicts and connections will spark hope and optimism while others might signal exhaustion at our inability to solve certain problems of how best to exist and co-exist. This two-course program teaches students to:
- understand and appreciate a wide array of humanistic texts, including things like music, novels, paintings, poetry, films, theater, sculptures, buildings and digital media
- observe patterns and create compelling connections between seemingly disparate texts
- speak and write with precision and persuasion
For more information about the Humanities program, please contact the Program Chair Scott Denham (firstname.lastname@example.org).