1997-98 University Bulletin Entry for:

The Program in Humanities

S = Objectives

Courses in University Studies in the Humanities are based on texts central to our civilization. The ongoing dialogue about which texts to include is a vital aspect of the program. The texts chosen raise timeless, perhaps unanswerable, questions about human experience: How do humans, knowing they must die, live? What are values and of what use are they? Can we speak of truth, of beauty? Can we know either? Through our study we find that the responses, often contradictory, have taken different forms in diverse narratives and arguments across time and from various cultures. Understanding the hard-won knowledge of the past enriches our awareness of our own capacities for creation and destruction and enables us to formulate our own responses, narratives, and questions as our world becomes a "global village."

University Studies in the Humanities are divided into two sets of courses. The courses in Step 1 consider ancient texts and those in Step 2 consider texts from after the classical Christian era. There is great diversity among the separate courses, but within each step all courses include certain common texts or common authors to provide a shared intellectual experience for the students. Through critical reading and discussion, and especially through intensive writing, students increase their inventory of analytic terms, sharpen their conceptual and speculative skills, work toward precision in language, and learn methodologies of reasoned discourse.

S = Courses of Instruction

As the Humanities Program was intended essentially for first-year students and only students who entered Brandeis before the fall of 1994 are subject to the University Studies requirements, no courses in the University Studies Humanities Program will be offered in the academic year 1995-96 and beyond. Individual problems that may occur as a consequence of that decision should be referred to the Office of the University Registrar.

M = The Program in Non-Western and Comparative Studies

See Non-Western and Comparative Studies in the General University Requirements section of this Bulletin (pages with the patterned edge).