Warren Wilson College Catalog 07-08

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Faculty: Gwen Deihn, Sally Fischer, Louly Konz, David Mycoff (Chair), Jeanne Sommer

The Humanities major is designed to serve the needs of well-disciplined and self-motivated students who work well independently and who wish to undertake studies in the Humanities fields that cannot be better undertaken within the guidelines of a discipline-specific major.

The major is comprised of 40 credit hours: 20 hours are to be devoted to the Humanities Distribution Requirement, 16 hours to the Humanities Focus Area Requirement, and 4 hours to the Humanities Senior Project.

Students should apply for admission to the Humanities Major no later than the beginning of their Junior year. (Students who delay application should realize that they may delay their date of graduation.)

Application for admission is made by submitting a proposed program of study and written rationale for that program, as described in the summary of the Major Program below. Students will compose this program proposal in consultation with the Chair of the Humanities Major Committee, who serves as the primary academic advisor of record for all students who have been formally accepted into the major program.

Major in Humanities

Grades: a minimum grade of B- must be earned in each course to count toward the Humanities major.

Requirements: A minimum of 40 credits

The purpose of this requirement is to introduce students to a broad variety of humanities disciplines. In fulfilling this requirement, students should develop a sense of the kinds of subject matter and methodology that are particular to each of a range of humanities disciplines as well as insight into the common subjects and methodologies that these disciplines share. This foundational knowledge provides a basis for the student to discover or create connections across humanities disciplines as well as a core of knowledge necessary for more advanced studies in the fields.

Students take a total of 20 credit hours - four credit hours in each of five of the following areas:

  1. Art History, Art Criticism, or Philosophical Aesthetics (not studio courses)
  2. English Literature
  3. History
  4. Political Science (excluding research methods courses)
  5. Music History or Criticism (not performance or composition courses)

Certain Interdepartmental courses that concentrate primarily on the content and approaches of the humanities fields may also be used to satisfy this requirement if approved by the Humanities Major Committee.

At least 12 of the credit hours used to satisfy the Humanities Distribution Requirement must be at the 200 level or higher.

Humanities Focus Area Requirement: A minimum of 16 credits

The purpose of this requirement is to help students to achieve an advanced undergraduate level of knowledge concerning the content and methodology of a particular area of the humanities, either a traditional discipline (e.g., Philosophy, History, English Literature) or a cross-disciplinary/interdisciplinary area (e.g., Comparative Literatures in Translation, Religious Studies and the Visual Arts, Historicist Approaches to Social Theory).

Students will present a written rationale for each of the courses selected for this 16-hour requirement and for the course program overall, explaining the overall purposes of the proposed program, how the program coheres, and how each course selected contributes to the overall program.

Students must defend the choice of any course below the 300 level proposed for the Humanities Focus Area. All students, no matter what their focus area, must explain how a general study of the humanities influences their approach to their particular focus area. Students who focus in a traditional discipline should explain how their approach to that discipline differs from that of a major in the discipline.

Humanities Senior Requirement: 4 hours of directed independent study credit

The senior project may be a critical/research paper of at least 40 pages;


A creative project (e.g., visual arts work, performance project, creative non-fiction project, or other creative writing project), with a minimum 25 page formal written exposition of the project (i.e., not an informal journal, rehearsal log, or informal reflection piece).

There will be a three-person oversight and review committee for each senior project. The committee will be composed of the Chair of the Humanities Major Committee and two others, usually Warren Wilson faculty who teach in a humanities discipline. One member of this committee will be the supervisor of the project, meeting regularly with the student.