Humanities 110

Introduction to the Humanities

Humanities 110 Lecture Series

The lectures below are part of Reed College’s Humanities 110 curriculum. They were recorded by Reed faculty in spring 2020 and are now available to the greater community.

Humanities 110—Racecraft & Casta Paintings

Laura LeibmanProfessor of English and Humanities

FEBRUARY 17, 2020

Casta paintings are a form of artwork created in eighteenth-century and early nineteenth-century Mexico and used by elites to create and assign race to people of various ancestries. Although often offensive, these paintings help us understand the role of art in the history of race and racism in the Americas. The paintings reflect the racist assumption that one’s ancestors impacted… More

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Humanities 110—Representation and its Discontents

Jan MieszkowskiProfessor of German and Humanities

MARCH 2, 2020

Elena Poniatowska is the author of more than 50 books spanning almost every literary genre. Massacre in Mexico (first published in Spanish in 1971 and in English in 1975) is a collective account of the bloody October 2, 1968, assault on student protestors by government forces in Mexico City’s Plaza de las Tres Culturas (the “Plaza of Three Cultures,” also… More

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Humanities 110—The Inconvenience of Revolution: Zapatismo, Cynicism, Dignity, and Memory

Christian KrollAssociate Professor of Spanish and Humanities

MARCH 6, 2020

The Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN—Zapatista Army of National Liberation), colloquially known as the Zapatistas, entered the Mexican political scene in January 1994. An overwhelmingly indigenous movement, the Zapatista uprising has mainly focused on contesting the Mexican state’s construction of national identity and its marginalization of… More

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Humanities 110—Du Bois’s “Double Consciousness” as Theory and Form

Nathalia KingDavid Eddings Professor of English and Humanities

MARCH 11, 2020

The Souls of Black Folk by W. E. B. Du Bois is a monumental work that is difficult to classify because it ranges from philosophy to sociology to history to social theory to fiction to music to politics. It is centrally concerned with what it means to be black in America circa 1900—and beyond. In the sections we are reading, Du Bois articulates his theory of… More

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Humanities 110—Moving the Perception of the Color Line: Jacob Lawrence’s “Migration Series”

Nathalia KingDavid Eddings Professor of English and Humanities

MARCH 16, 2020

Jacob Lawrence was twenty-three years old and working in Harlem when he produced the “Migration Series” in 1940–41. In sixty 12" x 18" hardboard panels painted in tempera, Lawrence's project was to convey the causes for and the consequences of the Great Migration—one of the largest and fastest migrations in history, during which six million African… More

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Humanities 110—Who, How, and Why Not?: Questioning African American Spirituals

Mark BurfordAssociate Professor of Music

MARCH 30, 2020

African American spiritual is a form of religious folk song that has been a central part of American music and culture since its development by enslaved African Americans. The spiritual tradition was held up by intellectuals and artists in the first half of the twentieth century as religious expression and experience; an ongoing-yet-traditional art form; a defining expression of Black culture;… More

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Humanities 110—Harlem, New York: City within a City

Margot MinardiAssociate Professor of History and Humanities

APRIL 1, 2020

The following readings will introduce you to Harlem—not as a space in the literary or artistic imagination but as a living and breathing neighborhood of New York City. The first reading is James Weldon Johnson’s classic essay “The Making of Harlem,” from the 1925 Survey Graphic volume. Johnson (1871–1938) was a composer, diplomat,… More

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Humanities 110—Multidirectional Memories of Du Bois and Ellison

Marat GrinbergAssociate Professor of Russian and Humanities

APRIL 27, 2020

Published in 1952, Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man should be studied in the crucial post–World War II and post-Holocaust context. To elucidate this cultural moment, the lecture discusses Ellison’s novel in conjunction with W. E. B. Du Bois’s essay on his visit to Warsaw in 1948 and the transformative impact coming in contact with… More

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