Arts & Humanities

The Debate Over Hum 110

A selection of articles and links on Hum 110 and the protests against it.

By Kevin Myers | October 19, 2017

 (Originally posted September 14, 2107. Updated October 19, 2017.)

In the last few years, a robust intellectual debate has sprung up over the Hum 110 curriculum. The office of public affairs has selected some links we think are pertinent to the debate. Some speak to the current issues. Some include useful background and context. Some are media reports and perspectives.

Reporters interested in writing about Hum 110 should contact Kevin Myers, director of communications.

Important links

Update on Hum 110 Course Review
October 4, 2017
Chair of Hum 110 provides an overview of the Hum 110 curriculum proposals.

Anti-Racism Statement
Fall 2017
Anti-Racism statement passed by the Student Senate and Faculty.

Kroger Responds to Day of Boycott
September 25, 2017
President John R. Kroger responds to RAR protest.

Honoring the Right to Dissent and the Integrity of the Classroom
September 21, 2017
The Dean of the Faculty addresses the claim that Reed is silencing the protests against Hum 110.

President Kroger’s update on Hum 110
September 1, 2017
President John Kroger comments on the Hum 110 protests. 

FAQ about the Hum 110 protest
August 31, 2017
Public Affairs provides answers to frequently asked questions related to the Hum 110 protests. 

Progress Report on Diversity, Inclusion, and Anti-racism at Reed  
August 23, 2017
Student Services and the Office for Institutional Diversity provides a progress report in response to Reedies Against Racism demands. 

Dissent Policy
This policy, adopted in 1969, sets boundaries on the right to dissent on campus.


Reedies Against Racism
October 17, 2017
Two organizers of 
Reedies Against Racism are interviewed on Think Out Loud

Teaching Diversity At Reed
October 13, 2017
Nigel Nicholson, Dean of Faculty, and Mary James, Dean for Institutional Diversity, are interviewed on Think Out Loud

Faculty Power, Dissent, and the Secret History of Black Studies at Reed
September 27, 2017 
A Reed student, Quinn Spencer, publishes a perspective in The Grail. 

Students protest mandatory humanities class studying 'predominantly white authors'
September 27, 2017
The College Fix provides a point of view on the protests. 

The Campus Free-Speech Crisis Deepens
September 27, 2017
The National Review casts the Hum protests as part of a national debate over free speech on campus. 

Occupation of Hum 110
September 11, 2017
Inside Higher Ed looks at the tensions over Hum 110. 

Arguments over free speech on campus are not left v right
September 7, 2017
The Economist examines the debate between protesters, professors, and other students. This article was written by a Reed College alumnus who is associated with the libertarian club he references in his article. Reed College requested that both these associations be revealed, which is a longstanding journalistic practice for the sake of transparency and objectivity. 

Why I Teach About Race and Ethnicity in the Classical World
September 11, 2017
mentions Reed in a piece that examines modern constructions of race and ethnicity and how they might be handled when discussing the ancient world.   

White-Centric Class?
September 13, 2017
The Al Jazeera Media Network, A+J English, posted a short video on their Facebook page about the Hum 110 protest. 

Background from Reed Magazine

Hum 110: the Lost Lecture
August 31, 2017
The first Hum 110 lecture of the semester was called off due to interruptions from protesters. Prof. Lucía Martinez Valdivia shared her written remarks with Reed Magazine. 

Is Gilgamesh Relevant?
August 31, 2017
Prof. Nathalia King argues that the ancient world is highly relevant to students today. 

Taking a Fresh Look at Hum 110
April 20, 2017
A look at the arguments for and against the Hum 110 syllabus. 

RAR Demands—December Progress Report
December 06, 2016
Mike Brody, VP for Student Services, provided his second update to the community on the RAR demands.  

President Kroger Responds to Reedies Against Racism
November 16, 2016
President Kroger responded formally to the demands of the student group, Reedies Against Racism. 

The Philosophy of Pain
November 16, 2016
Prof. Troy Cross explains why pain has deep philosophical implications for education.

Profs Vote to Accelerate Hum 110 Review
November 01, 2016
An early report on the Hum 110 course review, which was moved up one year in response to the urging of the RAR protests.

Protest Amplifies Discussion of Race on Campus
October 03, 2016
Reporting on the protest that was inspired by Isaiah Washington’s call for a nationwide boycott to support the Black Lives Matter movement. 

On the Humanities at Reed College
July 1, 2016
A look at the way the Hum 110 syllabus has evolved over time, with an infographic illustrating the changes. Essays, Letters, and Complaints.

What Hum 110 Is All About
March 2011
Prof. Peter Steinberger provides historical background in this introduction to classic Hum 110 lectures. Reed Magazine.

Farewell to the Iliad
March 2010
Prof. Robert Knapp explains why the Iliad was removed from the Hum 110 syllabus in 2010 (it was reinstated a few years later). 

How the Humanities Saved Reed
March 2009
A historic look at the circular battles, dating back to 1924, that helped shape Reed. 

Defending the Citadel
December 2008
A look at the curriculum battles of the late ’60s. 

Videos of lecture protests

Video: Pre-lecture Argument.
This YouTube video shows the heated debate that occurred before the second Hum lecture on August 30, 2017. The lecture took place uninterrupted.

Video: Interruption of the First Hum Lecture of 2017.
This is an edited version of a video that begins roughly 10 minutes into the presentation of the first Hum 110 lecture of 2017.

About Hum 110

Introduction To Humanities: Greece and the Ancient Mediterranean
This is the home page for the Hum 110 site, with links to syllabus, lectures, images, etc.

About Humanities at Reed
This provides the historical and philosophical background on the way humanities are taught at Reed, including links to Reed’s other humanities courses.

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