Arts and Humanities

Students complete two sections of HONR 2053 between their second and fourth years. HONR 2053 courses offer a thematic, multidisciplinary, and cross-cultural analysis of the arts and artistic expression. 

Note: Students enrolled before Fall 2020- HONR 2054 will satisfy the Arts and Humanities requirements.

Fall 2020 Courses


Classical Mythology in Art

 

Professor Rachel Pollack

 

HONR 2053W:10 - 3 Credits

CRN 54968

TR 2:20- 3:35 PM

 

Fulfills: 

  • WID
  • CCAS: GPAC Humanities
  • CCAS: Classic Studies majors/minors should consult their departmental advisor
  • CCAS: Art History major/minor elective
  • ESIA: Humanities
  • GWSB Humanities, Non-Business Elective/Unrestricted Elective
  • SEAS: Humanities

Course Description: This course examines the relevance and mutability of classical mythology in Western art. The iconic stories of gods and heroes, passed down through ancient poets such as the Homer, Virgil, and Ovid, have left an indelible impression on the visual arts from antiquity to modern day. Artists ranging from Titian, Caravaggio, Rubens, Rembrandt and Poussin to Picasso and Jeff Koons, have adapted and reinterpreted these myths through the direct appropriation of ancient myth and sculpture. Each time these giants of the visual arts reveal to us that their reimagining of classical mythology extends beyond ancient literary and visual sources.


Food and Drink in American History

 

Professor Jenna Weissman Joselit

 

HONR 2053:80 - 3 Credits

CRN 57638

W 12:45-2:25PM

 

Fulfills: 

  • CCAS: GPAC Humanities
  • CCAS: Sociology major/minor elective
  • ESIA: Humanities
  • GWSB Humanities, Non-Business Elective/Unrestricted Elective
  • SEAS: Humanities
  • Equivalent Course: HIST 2001

Course Description: This interdisciplinary seminar - a mix of the past and the present, of history and of sociology - looks at the forces that have shaped what Americans eat and drink for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A culinary adventure over time and space, it explores the impact of immigration, religion, race, the marketplace, politics, geography, and the weather on the nation's varied food preferences.

 

What, it asks, accounts for the popularity of BBQ in some parts of the United States and the widespread presence of bagels or tacos in other regions of the country?  How did Coca-Cola come to loom so large? Or coffee? Or beer, for that matter? And what of the dieting fads that sweep the nation from time to time, the sudden prominence of kale and cauliflower, the ongoing success of McDonald's, and the rise of the celebrity chef?

 

It's been said that 'much depends on dinner.'  Let's figure out why. And, yes, snacks will be provided.


The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: A History

 

Professor Christopher Brick

 

HONR 2053:10 - 3 Credits

CRN 57540

TR 12:45-2:00PM

 

Fulfills: 

  • CCAS: GPAC Humanities
  • ESIA: Humanities
  • GWSB Humanities, Non-Business Elective/Unrestricted Elective
  • SEAS: Humanities

Course Description: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is one of the world’s most recognizable documents, “the foundation of international human rights law,” according to the United Nations, and one of the most widely-reprinted texts in human history. While its framers theorized the UDHR as a “Magna Carta for all,” opponents and detractors have routinely cast it instead as an empty vessel, at best, and at worst a dangerous tool of oppression. Is it either of these things, neither, or something else entirely? This course will invite students to consider these questions anew as it examines the Declaration’s conceptual origins in the ancient past, the historical context that led the UN General Assembly to formalize and promulgate a human rights coda in 1948, and the UDHR’s colorful evolution into a flashpoint of controversy for activists, policymakers, intellectuals, and the international community writ large. Please note that in researching their term projects for this course, students will be required to draw upon resources from the permanent collection of the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project, a research center of the GW History Department and archive of UDHR materials that UNESCO has designated “vital to global heritage and personhood."


Philosophy and Astrobiology

 

Professor Sara Waller

 

HONR 2053:12 - 3 Credits

CRN 57569

T 3:30-6:00PM

 

Fulfills: 

  • CCAS: GPAC Humanities
  • CCAS: Philosophy majors/minors should consult their departmental advisor
  • ESIA: Humanities
  • GWSB Humanities, Non-Business Elective/Unrestricted Elective
  • SEAS: Humanities

Course Description: This course explores scientific methods and ethical dilemmas found in the quest for understanding the origins of life on Earth and the prospect of extraterrestrial life. Students will learn to ask and answer philosophical questions that emerge when our best sciences cannot supply empirical evidence for theories. We will never be able to witness the emergence of life on Earth, but we can use our best methods of critical analysis to consider, critique, and develop theories regarding life, the universe, and everything.


Animal Minds and Consciousness

 

Professor Sara Waller

 

HONR 2053:13 - 3 Credits

CRN 57541

M 3:30-6:00PM

 

Fulfills: 

  • CCAS: GPAC Humanities
  • CCAS: Philosophy majors/minors should consult their departmental advisor
  • ESIA: Humanities
  • GWSB Humanities, Non-Business Elective/Unrestricted Elective
  • SEAS: Humanities

Course Description: Are animals conscious, and if so, in what way?  Non-human animals have performed amazingly well in recent tests of their cognition, but what can this tell us about how (and if) they think and understand the world? This course surveys philosophical and scientific work on animal consciousness, cognition, problem solving ability, and asks about the nature of creaturely thought, emotion, and imagination. Students will learn techniques of animal behavior training and scientific methods for exploring animal minds.

 


Shakespeare on Film

 

Professor Alexa Alice Joubin

HONR 2053:14 - 3 Credits

CRN 57542

TR 12:45- 2:00 PM

 

Fulfills: 

  • CCAS: GPAC Humanities
  • CCAS: English major/minor elective
  • CCAS: English & Creative Writing major/minor pre-18th century requirement
  • ESIA: Humanities
  • GWSB Humanities, Non-Business Elective/Unrestricted Elective
  • SEAS: Humanities

Course Description: Shakespeare’s plays have been adapted for the cinema since 1899 in multiple film genres, including silent film, film noire, Western, theatrical film, and Hollywood films. This course examines Shakespeare’s tragedies, comedies, and history and Roman plays,  and their adaptations on screen, with a focus on the themes of race, gender, sexuality, and colonialism.