More than any other courses at the College, Humanities classes bring all the participants together as students, either beginning or continuing to cultivate an appreciation for the aesthetic dimensions of human experience.
Our instructors are drawn from all the Humanistic disciplines, and because the curriculum ranges so widely, no instructor can be an expert on every work included. Instead, the instructors share an enduring engagement with the arts and a driving curiosity for new discoveries and connections.
The material for the courses centers in the Classical tradition in art, literature, and philosophy, as it emerged in ancient Greece and has been modeled, adapted, revised, and challenged for 2500 years. Students are asked to develop their understanding and enrich their engagement with these materials through group discussion, formal presentation of ideas, creative engagement of artistic processes, and written analysis of specific works.
Writing instruction comes in many courses at Centre College, but it receives special emphasis in Humanities. Many students take 4-hour writing intensive sections of Humanities; all students can expect to be invited to treat Humanities as an opportunity for development of their ability to write effective analytical prose.
Leo Tolstoy wrote that art should be considered not “a means to pleasure,” but rather “as one of the conditions of human life.” The aesthetic condition, however, is experienced as pleasure; and by discovering the pleasures of one immense artistic tradition we may all begin to consider the role of the arts in the human effort to make sense of the world.