Undergraduate Courses

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Fall 2017 Undergraduate Humanities Courses

Trojan HorseHUM 205: The World of Homer
(CLASSICS 210-0)
Ann Gunter (Art History, Classics, and Humanities)
TuTh 9:30 - 10:50 am

Fulfills Distro 4 (Historical Studies), 5 (Ethics and Values), or 6 (Literature and Fine Arts)

What do we know of the world inhabited by the heroes of Homer’s epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey? Do the poems describe a largely imaginary realm created by their author, or do they reflect a particular period of ancient Greek history—and if so, which one? This course explores the society, economy, and culture of Iron Age Greece with special emphasis on the Geometric and early Archaic periods, emphasizing what scholars have learned through archaeological discoveries along with study of the poems themselves. Topics include the excavations at Troy, Athens, and other sites; contacts with Egypt and the Near East and colonization in the Mediterranean world; trade, exchange, and the technology of travel; literacy and oral tradition; political communities and warfare; religion, burial practices, and the art of ritual and commemoration.

Pussy Riot in Red SquareHUM 260-0: Russian Culture in Revolution: From Lenin to Putin
(SLAVIC 255-0 / HISTORY 200-0)
Team taught by:John Bushnell (History), Clare Cavanagh (Slavic), Jordan Gans-Morse (Political Science), Simon Greenwold (Slavic PhD 2001; WCAS Associate Dean), Christina Kiaer (Art History), Ilya Kutik (Slavic), Saul Morson (Slavic), Inna Naroditskaya (Musicology), Sasha Novozhenova (Art History), Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern (History), and Dassia Posner (Theatre)

TTh 3:30 - 4:50 pm

Fulfills Distro 4 (Historical Studies), 5 (Ethics and Values), or 6 (Literature and Fine Arts)

2017 is the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. To make sense of the significance of this anniversary, this unique course provides an introduction to modern Russia’s rich cultural history, from the revolutionary fervor of the 1920s to Stalinist repression, from the vitality of official and unofficial art during the post-Stalin “thaw” to the new artistic revolutions that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union. We will grapple with fundamental questions such as how historical and political contexts shape the arts, how the arts have been and can be used to imagine new worlds, how foreign ideologies interact with national cultures, and how scholars’ distinct disciplinary tools and frameworks shape their approaches to the study of Russia’s history, politics, and artistic culture.

HUM 325-4-20: Digitizing Folk Music Historyberkely folk festival performers
(HISTORY 395-0, AMER_ST 310-0)
Michael Kramer (History)
MW 3:30 - 4:50 pm

Fulfills Distro 4 (Historical Studies)

The United States folk music revival is typically thought of as an antimodern movement with acoustic guitars, camp fires, and "Kumbaya" politics. To study it through digital means, however, reveals important connections between the history of the revival and issues of technology, culture, and politics in the modern world. To investigage these connections, we'll examine this revival through readings, audio listening, documentary films, seminar discussions, and extensive digital analysis. We'll probe what was at stake in the folk revival in relation to American culture and politics; questions of race, class, gender, age, and region; and music-making, memory, and power. No previous digital or musical training is required for the course.

front view of The Field Museum in ChicagoHUM 325-6-20: Ancient Rome in Chicago
(CLASSICS 390-0-1)
Francesca Tataranni (Classics)
M 3:00 – 4:50 pm
W 3:00 – 4:20 pm

Fulfills Distro 6 (Literature and Fine Arts)

Ancient Rome is visible in Chicago — walk the city and learn to “read” the streets, buildings, and monuments that showcase Chicago’s engagement with the classical past! You’ll gain digital mapping and video editing skills as you collaborate on a virtual walking tour mapping Chicago’s ongoing dialogue with antiquity. With a combination of experiential learning and rigorous research methodologies, you’ll explore architecture, history, visual arts, and urban topography in this quintessential modern American city.

Territory of Hawaii mapHUM 370-3: Race and Indigeneity in the Pacific
(ASIAN_AM 303-0 / AF_AM_ST 380-0)
Nitasha Sharma (African American Studies, Asian American Studies, Performance Studies) and Hi‘ilei Julia Hobart (Native American and Indigenous Studies)
TTh 2:00 - 3:20 pm

Fulfills Distro 3 (Social and Behavioral Sciences)

NOTE: This course includes travel to Honolulu, Hawai‘i, the week before fall quarter begins (Sept. 10-17, 2017). Enrollment in this class is by application only. The application deadline is May 10, 2017. Full details are here: http://www.humanities.northwestern.edu/undergraduate/Courses/race-and-indigeneity-in-the-pacific.html

Since the so-called Age of Discovery, the Pacific has been conceptualized as a crossroads between the East and the West. By the twentieth century, places like Hawaiʻi came to be idealized as harmonious multicultural societies. This class examines how race and indigeneity are constructed within the Pacific using an interdisciplinary approach. Drawing from works within indigenous studies, ethnic studies, and critical race studies, students will address themes of sovereignty, settler colonialism, diaspora, and migration in order to interrogate and problematize the concept of the multicultural ‘melting pot’ across time. We focus on the impacts of U.S. plantation economies, militarism, and tourism in shaping the triangulation of indigenous, Black, and Asian groups in Hawai‘i and across the Pacific.

detail from Mummy PortraitHUM 370-4-20: Materials Science and Socioeconomics of Portrait Mummies from Ancient Fayum
(MAT_SCI 395-0-20 / CLASSICS 390-0-3)
Taco Terpstra and Marc Walton
MW 11:00 am - 12:20 pm

Fulfills Distro 4 (Historical Studies)

In this unique one-time seminar, we will look at the role scientific examination plays in investigating the production of ancient Egyptian mummy portraits and how these objects fit into the larger socioeconomic context of Roman Egypt in the 2nd century CE. These explorations will be presented in an exhibition at the Block Museum of Art (Paint the Eyes Softer: Mummy Portraits from Roman Egypt) during Winter 2018. Students will have the opportunity for hands-on work in a laboratory environment with an actual mummy from this period to assess how it was made, used, buried and what these data mean in a wider archaeological context. Students will gain insight into and actively contribute to exhibition layout and interpretation, and publicly share their research through a public program in winter 2018.

Roman collared slavesHUM 370-4-21: Slavery, Religion, and the Philosophy of Freedom in Ancient and Modern Times
(RELIGION 379-0 / PHIL 361-0)
Mark Alznauer

Fulfills Distro 4 (Historical Studies)

This course examines one of the most important ideals of our time—freedom—within the context of slavery and religion. Rather than assuming slavery and freedom are unrelated opposites, this class focuses on the relationship between freedom and slavery within the context of religion and philosophy from ancient to modern times. Four general periods receive focus: antiquity, medieval, early modernity, and developments since the nineteenth century. The course readings will focus on key themes that include: the role of slavery and freedom in religious traditions; Hegel’s conception of freedom and slavery; the Haitian Revolution; slavery and abolition; the causal relation between slavery and freedom; gender and reform movements and their relation to slavery and feminism; the sex-trade and slavery; and recent movements for abolition democracy.