Humanities Program

The Humanities Program is an uniquely Davidson program, which strikes at the core of the liberal arts tradition. From it’s origins in 1962, the Humanities program is a four semester interdisciplinary program designed to introduce students to the historical, religious, literary, economic, philosophical, and political forces which have combined to shape Western Civilization. This is done through reading, lecture and discussion of crucial Western texts. The faculty who teach in the Humanities Program arrive from academic departments all across the campus, and thus the program inclusive of students of nearly any major as it creates the atmosphere of a community of learners, engaged in critical discussion of a particular text. From it’s inception, the “goal of the program lies in preparation for the student’s future — in learning how to learn, how to make judgements, how to communicate.”

Students enrolled in the Humanities Program read a diverse range of texts in order to gain broad exposure to the Western Tradition. These texts range from Genesis to Homer’ Iliad to The Prince by Machiavelli, from The Tempest by Shakespeare to The Communist Manifesto (Marx) and Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.

According to the 2011-2012 college catalog, “The Humanities Program offers two separate course sequences, The Western Tradition and Culture & Civilizations. The Western Tradition, a two-year, four-course sequence, is an interdisciplinary study of texts and contexts of the West, from the ancient world to the present. Cultures & Civilizations, a one-year, two-course sequence, is a comparative, interdisciplinary study of western and non-western texts.”

Works Cited:

Davidson College Catalog, 2011-2012. Davidson: Davidson College Office of Communications. [2011].

“Humanities Brochure.” RG 3/5.20. Humanities. Davidson College Archives, Davidson, NC.

Author: Jim Harris
Date: 23 January 2012

Cite as: Harris, Jim. “Humanities Program.” Davidson Encyclopedia, 23 January 2012.

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