Humanities Minor

Department of English and Foreign Languages

Department of English and Foreign Languages Humanities Minor

Our Humanities courses offer students a tremendous opportunity to study literature and film in novel ways. Students can create a graphic novel memoir (The Graphic Novel as Literature), understand what it means to be an antagonist in a literary tale (The Villain), explore the psychology of exile and return (The Journey), examine the pain and ramifications of being a soldier (War in Literature and Film), experience the life of a contemporary Native American (Native American Culture and Literature), explore dystopian futures (Science Fiction), recognize power in relationship to gender (Gendered Images), and feel terror (The Horror Story).

Studies in the humanities challenge students to creatively engage issues and to devise innovative answers. It’s also quite fun.

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.


  • 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 nonverbal 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.


  • 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 nonverbal 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.


  • Courses taught under this category focus on the construction and role of gender in culture. These courses examine verbal and nonverbal 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.

  • 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, conventionalized, and formulaic structures located within specific cultural contexts and, as such, influence and reinforce social conditions.

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