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Arts and Ideas in the Humanities (Major)

The Arts and Ideas in the Humanities Major is open to ALL LSA Students.

The Arts and Ideas in the Humanities Program offers a broad array of interdisciplinary courses in literature, the visual arts and music. Many courses focus on specific historical moments or contexts ranging from ancient times to the 21st century understood in global terms. Students are encouraged to encounter different cultures through their distinctive artistic production, and to develop the interpretive and analytical skills appropriate to an understanding of these works. Courses in visual studies, dance, studio art and music provide training in comparative analysis as well as in the actual practice of these art forms. By combining studio practice with the academic study of art, the Arts and Ideas curriculum enables students to understand global art production from three important perspectives:  thoughtful analytic engagement; historical depth; and in the active space of studio discovery.

Arts and Ideas in the Humanities courses stress interdisciplinary and comparative methodologies. Students investigate how different forms of art speak to one another: how they argue or agree, how they overlap or diverge in form and content. In addition, by combining theory with practice, many Arts and Ideas courses encourage students to reflect on the material origins of art.  To understand art at its deepest level, one must have some experience in its production. Through intensive discussion, writing, and studio practice, students become more sophisticated analysts, critical historians, and well-informed producers of culture.

Concentration Requirements

To major in Arts and Ideas in the Humanities, students combine three academic courses in history and theory with two courses focusing on visual studies, studio arts, dance, and music. To complete the concentration, students then construct an individualized program of specialized study in two areas of focus, a total of seven courses. In the specialized study portion of the Arts and Ideas Concentration, different area combinations are possible, depending on the interests of the student. Possible combinations include: philosophy and art history; literature and psychology; Southeast Asian studies and musicology; or African-American studies and photography.  The full program requires a minimum of 12 courses, or about 37 credit hours of work.

Faculty members who teach courses that students can integrate into an Arts and Ideas plan of study include:

Naomi André (classical music and opera, and issues surrounding gender, voice, and race)

Catherine Brown (medieval European literature & philosophy, media studies, Spanish language and literatures, mindfulness)

Mark Burde (medieval literature and culture, with a focus on parody and satire)

Hubert Cohen (film, biography)

Sascha Crasnow (arts and visual culture from the Islamic world)

Herbert Eagle (Russian and East European cinema, film theory, poetry, and controversial prose written under communism)

Beth Genné (historian of dance and art, and how dance reflects and interacts with its historical and cultural context)

Karein Goertz (Holocaust Literature, Cities and Modernism, Representations of Berlin, Literature of Walking, Literary Translation)

Elizabeth Goodenough (Children's literature and visual culture)

Cynthia Sowers (literature and the visual arts of Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, and aesthetics of totalitarianism)

Susan Pratt Walton (ethnomusicologist with research interests in Javanese gamelan music, gender studies, life history studies, and performance studies)

Jon Wells (slavery and antebellum American history)

Thomas Willette (Italian Renaissance and Baroque painting and early modern art-historiography)

Susan Crowell (Ceramics)

Katri Ervamaa (Foundations of music, chamber music, cello)

Michael Gould (drumset, contemporary percussion performance and pedagogy)

Xiaodong Hottmann-Wei (Chinese musical instruments)

Mark Kirschenmann (musical composition and improvisation, trumpet)

Ashley Lucas (theatre for social change and Prison Creative Arts Project)

Kate Mendeloff (drama, directing, theatre text-to-performance, Shakespeare in the Arb)

Toby Millman (Drawing and Printmaking)

Janet Hegman Shier (German culture, Deutsches Theater)

Martin Walsh (drama, theatre text-to-performance, dramaturgy)

Raymond Wetzel (Furniture and sculpture)

Isaac Wingfield (Photography)

Guest faculty join the RC faculty from time to time also, bringing their unique expertise to enrich our students. 

Find More information here.