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Arts and Ideas in the Humanities (Major)

In Arts and Ideas in the Humanities, students encounter global cultures through their distinctive artistic production and develop the interpretive and analytical skills to understand these works. Courses draw on interdisciplinary and comparative methodologies.

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

Courses & Requirements

Many courses—in art history, dance, literature, music, and visual arts—focus on specific historical moments or contexts, ranging from ancient times to the 21st century. To understand art at its deepest level, one must reflect on its material origins and have some experience in its production: the Arts & Ideas curriculum provides training in the actual practice of these art forms. Students thus gain an understanding of global cultural production from three key perspectives: thoughtful analytic engagement; historical depth; and studio discovery.

Through intensive discussion, writing, and studio practice, students become more sophisticated analysts, critical historians, and well-informed producers of culture.

  • Prerequisites: None
  • Requirements: Minimum Credits 33

Arts & Ideas Overview

LSA Honors Subplan & Thesis

To be eligible for an LSA Honors subplan in Arts & Ideas, students should have a cumulative grade point average of at least a 3.4, and a 3.5 grade point average in courses counting toward the major.

Students who elect an Honors degree will write an Honors Thesis during the final year of their course work. More information about electing an Honors Thesis can be found here.

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

  • Elissa Bell Bayraktar (literature and visual culture, 18th-20th c.; French) 
  • Audrey Becker (drama, medieval and early modern studies, Shakespeare, history of English language, Celtic literature)
  • Catherine Brown (medieval European literature & philosophy, media studies, Spanish language and literature, mindfulness)
  • Mark Burde (medieval literature and culture, with a focus on parody and satire)
  • Susan Crowell (Ceramics)
  • Herbert Eagle (Russian and East European cinema, film theory, poetry, and controversial prose written under communism)
  • Katri Ervamaa (Foundations of music, chamber music, cello)
  • Karein Goertz (Holocaust Literature, Cities and Modernism, Representations of Berlin, Literature of Walking, Literary Translation)
  • Jennifer Goltz-Taylor (voice performance; analysis of race/gender/meaning in popular music and musical theater; music in the humanities)
  • Elizabeth Goodenough (Children's literature and visual culture)
  • Deb Gordon-Gurfinkel (Engaged Learning, the expressive arts and community engagement)
  • 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)
  • Margaret Mansfield (art history, book history, material culture, and early modern globalization)
  • Toby Millman (Drawing and Printmaking)
  • Renée Ragin Randall (world literature, Global South, trauma studies, critical theory)
  • Rebecca Schwartz (dance-music relationships; physical motion and 19th- and 20th-century culture)
  • Jon Wells (slavery and antebellum American history)
  • Raymond Wetzel (Furniture and sculpture)
  • Isaac Wingfield (Photography) 
  • Michael Zhai (translation, poetry, Chinese literature, history and philosophy, European classical music)


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