Skip to Content

Search: {{$root.lsaSearchQuery.q}}, Page {{$}}

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

I. How to Think in the Arts and Humanities: 6 credits

All majors are required to take 6 credits of How To Think courses, preferably in a balance of Arts and Humanities topics. 

RCHUMS 201: How to Think (Humanities)

RCHUMS 202: How to Think (Creative Arts) 

II. Core Humanities: 6 credits

Must be fulfilled with the following courses primarily designed to treat at least two art forms.

RCHUMS 290: The Experience of Arts and Ideas of the 20th Century

RCHUMS 291: The Experience of Arts and Ideas of the 19th Century

RCHUMS 304: Time, History, Arts, and Culture

RCHUMS 305: Art & Resistance 

RCHUMS 306: History of Writing

RCHUMS 309: Premodern Sources and Modern Culture

RCHUMS 312: Central European Cinema

RCHUMS 319: Topics in Film

RCHUMS 334: Topics in Humanities

RCHUMS/ENVIRON 337: Children Under Fire: Narratives of Sustainability

RCHUMS 338: Growing Up Near the Great Lakes: Reading and Writing Landscapes of Childhood

RCHUMS 342: Representing the Holocaust in Literature, Film and the Visual Arts

RCHUMS 387: Renaissance Drama

RCHUMS/ASIAN 373: The Performing Arts in South and Southeast Asia

RCHUMS 410: Advanced Arts and Ideas seminar

III. Core Arts: 6 credits

Courses fulfilling this requirement may be chosen from offerings at the RC and across the University at the 200 level or above, including those from the RC Visual Arts, Music, and Drama programs.

Choose these courses in consultation with the Arts & Ideas advisor. Make an appointment here.

IV. Focus: 15 credits

Courses fulfilling this requirement converge around a single art form in deep historical and theoretical context, or two art forms in relation to each other. The rationale informing course selections in this section must be approved by the Arts & Ideas advisor.

Courses may be chosen from among offerings in RCARTS, RCHUMS, RCMUSIC, and across the university at the 300-level or above. RC Language Readings courses may be counted in this section. With advisor approval, courses taken abroad may also count. Make an advising appointment here.

V. Cultural and Historical Perspectives Requirement

Of the total coursework in sections I-IV above, at least one course must have a significant focus on the world before 1900 and at least one (separate) course must have a significant focus outside the English-speaking or European worlds.

Courses fulfilling this requirement are to be determined in consultation with the Arts & Ideas Advisor. Make an advising appointment here.

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)
  • Hubert Cohen (film, biography)
  • Sascha Crasnow (arts and visual culture from the Islamic world)
  • 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)
  • Kate Mendeloff (drama, directing, theatre text-to-performance, Shakespeare in the Arb)
  • Toby Millman (Drawing and Printmaking)
  • 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.