As the world enters the 21st century, flexibility in career goals and the ability to adapt to change will be essential to success. Great human questions are never addressed from narrow perspectives. Studies in the humanities challenge students to creatively engage issues and to devise innovative answers. Thus prepared, graduates will be able to adapt to the changing circumstances of the modern world.
Verbal and nonverbal texts are situated historically, socially, intellectually, produced and consumed at particular times, with particular cultural, personal, gender, racial, class, and other perspectives. The following interdisciplinary categories available for special topics therefore indicate pedagogical perspectives rather than fixed categories.
HUM 396 Cultural Studies Special Topics
Courses taught under this heading focus on the way social relations of power are constructed in and by cultural practices and the workings and consequences of those relations and practices. These courses examine through verbal and non verbal texts what seems natural and familiar in order to unmask these representations and to critically examine the implications of these cultural practices in everyday life.
HUM 397 Ethnic Studies Special Topics
Courses taught under this heading focus on the distinctive social, political, cultural, linguistic and historical experiences of ethnic groups in the United States. These courses explore through verbal and non verbal texts the ways places are represented as home, exile, or myth, and how these representations affect the sense of self, gender, family, community, history, memory, and nationalism. Additionally, special topics courses taught in this category include those grounded in postcolonial theory, i.e., examining texts as an assertion of power against colonialism and as agencies for exploring experimental or alternative forms of artistic expressions.
HUM 398 Gender Studies Special Topics
Courses taught under this category focus on the construction and role of gender in culture. These courses examine verbal and non verbal texts which, through representations, shape gender identity by historical and cultural practices. These courses also examine gendered identities in terms of their construction, codification, representation, and dissemination within society.
HUM 399 Genre Studies Special Topics
Courses taught under this category focus on what contemporary theorists tend to call "family resemblances" or what psycholinguists would describe in terms of "prototypicality." The courses examine texts as familiar, codified, conventionalised and formulaic structures located within specific cultural contexts and, as such, influence and reinforce social conditions.