First Year



Instructors for 2018/2019:

  • Professor Laurence deLooze (Modern Languages and Literature; Fall 2019)
  • Professor Mary Helen McMurran (English and Writing Studies; Winter 2020)


Arts & Humanities 1020E introduces students to humanistic study from ancient times to the present. Taking us from Democritus to Derrida, Gilgamesh to Gladiator, Lascaux to Soho, this course explores how literature, philosophy, history, visual art and media represent human experiences. As the world becomes more complex, diverse, and dispersed, the humanities has radically changed, right? Or has it? One of our concerns will be to observe ruptures between the old and new, but we will also appreciate the continuities. The Fall term focuses on demanding but rewarding readings from the classical tradition, each paired with a contemporary reading in conversation with it. We will dive deep into the texts and build strong skills in close reading and analysis. The Winter term continues in this vein, introducing texts and creative works that link the broad humanist tradition with postmodern ideas and practices. Those contemporary materials will be set alongside an array of other works drawn from a global perspective. Through this complex exposure we will have opportunities to develop a broader platform for our scholarly and creative humanities projects. 

Arts and Humanities 1020E is taught by Research Fellows in the School. In lecture, discussion, and workshop formats, these faculty members will aid you in completing a variety of assignments, which might include traditional academic writing, creative work, and collaborative projects. See some sample student projects here:

Our central purpose in immersing students in interdisciplinary dialogue and debate early on in the Program is to encourage you and enable you to take an active role in the future of the humanities.

The course has several objectives:

  • to survey the historical, thematic, and critical issues and terms of the study of culture among select fields in Arts and Humanities at Western: Classics, English, Film, French, Linguistics, Modern Languages and Literatures, Comparative Literature, Philosophy, Visual Arts, Writing, and Women’s Studies to introduce the research approaches, methodologies, and forms of communication employed by these fields
  • to provide a foundational theoretical knowledge and training in language and communication skills to support subsequent studies in the Major in Arts and Humanities to foster collaboration with the broader academic and public communities through experiential learning

Prerequisite: Admission to the School for Advanced Studies in Arts and Humanities 3 hours/week, 1.0 course