Humanities Honors Reading List

The following represent many of the readings covered over the four semesters of the humanities honors program.  Every cohort includes other specific material because of the interests of the professors.  So while it is representative it is not unchanging, and not all readings are read in their entirety.

1A: The Ancient World

  • The Epic of Gilgamesh (Ancient Mesopotamia)
  • Akhenaten's Hymn to the Sun (Ancient Egypt literature and culture)
  • Egyptian Love Poetry
  • Egyptian and Mesopotamian art and architecture
  • Readings from the Torah (Ancient Hebrew culture and literature)
  • Analects of Confucius (Wisdom Literature/Chinese Philosophy)
  • Ancient Chinese Art
  • Ramayana and Bhagavad Gita (Ancient India; Eastern literature)
  • Homer, The Odyssey (Greek Epic)
  • Ancient Aegean art
  • Greek and Roman art and architecture
  • Greek Tragedy & Comedy
  • Herodotus, Polybius & Thucydides (Greek Histories)
  • Plato and Aristotle (Greek Philosophy, critical thinking, rhetoric)
  • Virgil, Aeneid (Roman Epic)
  • Ovid, Metamorphoses
  • Epictetus (Roman Stoicism, rhetoric))
  • Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations (Roman Philosophy)

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1B: The Medieval and Renaissance World

  • Selections from the Christian Bible (literature and culture)
  • Augustine of Hippo, Confessions (philosophy in Roman North Africa)
  • Romanesque and early medieval art and architecture
  • Beowulf (Anglo-Saxon literature and culture)
  • Qur'an (in translation, Early Islamic culture and literature in western Asia)
  • Islamic art and architecture
  • One Thousand and One Nights and Shahnameh (literature and culture in western Asia)
  • Marie de France, Lais (12 th c. Anglo-Roman poetry/Courtly Love)
  • Christine de Pisan, Treasure of the City of Ladies
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (14 th c. Romance)
  • Murasaki Shikibu, Tale of Genji (11 th c. Japanese literature)
  • Chinese and Japanese art and architecture
  • Gothic art and architecture
  • Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica (scholastic philosophy, critical thinking)
  • Dante Alighieri, Divine Comedy (early Renaissance literature)
  • Geoffrey Chaucer, Canterbury Tales (15 th c. English literature)
  • Machiavelli, The Prince (political theory, rhetoric)
  • Erasmus of Rotterdam, M. Luther and J. Calvin (Reformation history)
  • Michel de Montaigne, Essays (French Renaissance)
  • William Shakespeare, Hamlet
  • Thomas More, Utopia
  • Epic of San-Jara of Mali (Africa)

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2A: Early Modern Cultures

  • Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote
  • Francis Bacon, Novum Organum and Isaac Newton, Principia Mathematica
  • René Descartes, Meditations (critical thinking, Continental Rationalism)
  • J. B. P. Moliere, Tartuffe (French Comedy)
  • Baroque & Rococo art and architecture
  • Enlightenment and Revolutionary art and architecture
  • Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman(rhetoric)
  • John Milton, Paradise Lost (English Renaissance epic poetry)
  • Jonathan Swift, A Modest Proposal (British satire)
  • T. Hobbes, J. Locke and J. J. Rousseau: views of the Social Contract
  • John Locke, Essay on Human Understanding (British Empiricism)
  • David Hume, An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding (British Empiricism)
  • Thomas Paine, Common Sense (American colonial political theory)
  • United States Declaration of Independence and Constitution
  • Iroquois League, Native American institutions
  • Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France
  • James Madison, Federalist Papers (American history, rhetoric)
  • Immanuel Kant, Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals(critical thinking)
  • J. W. von Goethe, Faust (German Romanticism)
  • John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism, on liberty, critical thinking and ethics
  • Romantic poetry: various cultures
  • Olaudah Equiano The Life of Olaudah Equiano (African American Slave Literature)

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2B The Modern World

  • Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (British Realism)
  • Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart (contemporary African literature)
  • Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels, Communist Manifesto (political theory)
  • Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (political theory)
  • R. W. Emerson, Self-Reliance and Henry David Thoreau, On Walden Pond
  • Realist, Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art
  • Herman Melville, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman et al: American Literature
  • Frederick Douglass, Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave
  • Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address (American history, rhetoric)
  • Charles Darwin, Origin of Species
  • Friedrich Nietzsche, Birth of Tragedy
  • California history: Native American culture and colonization
  • Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents(critical thinking)
  • T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land (Modernist poetry)
  • Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions (Women's Suffrage, rhetoric)
  • Elie Weisel, Night and Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning
  • J. P. Sartre, The Wall” and Simone De Beauvoir, The Second Sex
  • Modernism and Post-Modernist art and architecture
  • Ralph Ellison, King of the Bingo Game (African American literature)
  • Maja Lin and the Vietnam War Memorial
  • Edward Said and Amartya K. Sen, views on the 21 st century global community

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