Humanities 110

Introduction to the Humanities

Syllabus | Spring 2021

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Course Logistics


  • Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Poems, Protest, and a Dream: Selected Writings, trans. Margaret Sayers Peden (New York: Penguin Books, 1997).
  • W.E.B. Du Bois, Souls of Black Folk (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007). 
  • Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (New York: Vintage International, 1980).
  • Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (New York: Harper Perennial, 2006).
  • David Levering Lewis, ed., The Portable Harlem Renaissance Reader (New York: Penguin, 1994).
  • Alain Locke, ed., Survey Graphic; Harlem: Mecca of the New Negro (Baltimore: Black Classic Books, 1980).
  • Jean Toomer, Cane (New York: Liveright, 2011). Note: Cane is in the public domain and can be accessed through Project Gutenberg here

The following book includes required readings for some days and recommended readings for others. You may purchase it at the bookstore or access it for free as an e-book via the library website:

  • Davíd Carrasco, The Aztecs: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011) [E-book].

Additional readings are available on e-reserves and through online galleries, accessible via links embedded in the syllabus below. You will need your Reed username and password to access these texts. Please bring a copy of the day’s reading assignment to class each day. The library has on reserve a limited number of each required text.


Humanities 110 is a yearlong course, and students are expected to remain in the same conference throughout the year. In cases of absolutely unresolvable schedule conflicts, students may petition for a change of conference time. Petitions (in the form of an email) should be addressed to the course Chair, Paul Hovda, including an explanation of the conflict and why it cannot be resolved. Students granted a change of conference time will be assigned to new sections based on available slots and the student’s schedule; requests to move into a particular conference generally cannot be honored. 


Three course-wide papers will be assigned in the fall semester, due at the times designated on the syllabus. Individual conference leaders may assign additional writing. If the due date for an assignment conflicts with a religious holiday or obligation that you wish to observe, please consult with your conference leader. 


If you have a documented disability requiring accommodations, please contact Disability Support Services. Notifications of accommodations on exams, papers, other writing assignments, or conferences should be directed to your conference leader. Notifications of accommodations regarding lectures can be directed to the chair of the course, Paul Hovda. You are advised to consult with your conference leader about how your accommodations might apply to specific assignments or circumstances in this course. 


Your conference leader is your first line of support for any questions you have about the course. Please also be sure to explore the Hum 110 website for additional information. The Course Resources page provides brief introductions to upcoming readings and suggestions for how to approach them. The Writing in Hum 110 page provides tips on the writing process. 

The Writing Center is a particularly valuable resource for Hum 110 students working on papers. You can get help with all stages of the writing process from peer tutors at the Writing Center. In Fall 2020, the Writing Center will be virtual, and offer drop-in help online from 7:00-10:00p.m. Pacific time; you can find links to the Writing Center session posted on the Drop-in Tutoring Schedule website. Extra tutoring help will be available in the weeks leading up to paper due dates.

For additional information about support resources available to you on the Reed campus, please see Student Life’s Key Support Resources for Students.If you have questions that aren’t answered here, please consult your conference leader or email

Schedule of Readings and Lectures

Week 1

Palimpsest of Past and Present: Tenochtitlan/Mexico City

Mon 25 Jan

  • David M. Carballo, “Mesoamerica: A Deep History,”Collisions of Worlds: A Deep History of the Fall of Aztec Mexico and the Forging of New Spain, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2020), 16-49. 
  • Gallery: Teotihuacan
Lecture: "Where Divinity Comes into Being: Teotihuacan and Mesoamerica"
Tom Landvatter

Wed 27 Jan

  • Davíd Carrasco, “Aztec Foundations: Aztlan, Cities, People,” The Aztecs: A Very Short Introduction, chapter 2. (E-book)
  • Gallery: Tira de la peregrinación / Boturini Codex (c. 1530-1541).
  • Translations of folios 1-18r, Codex Mendoza, ed. Frances F. Berdan and Patricia Rieff Anawalt (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992), Vol. IV, 7-41 (blank pages omitted). [suitable for printing]
  • Facsimiles of folios 1-18r (color images), Codex Mendoza, Vol. III, 9-43 (blank pages omitted). [large file; best viewed on computer screen]
Lecture: "We walked a long time to get here; We have been here forever"
Nathalia King

Fri 29 Jan

Lecture: “Representing Mexica Imperialism in a Place and Time of Spanish Imperialism: The Codex Mendoza”
David Garrett

Week 2

Mon 1 Feb

Lecture: “Mapping the Cosmos at the Templo Mayor”
Margot Minardi

Wed 3 Feb

  • “Beginning of the Songs,” “A Song of Green Places, an Otomi Song, a Plain One,” and “Another to the Same Tone, a Plain One,” in Cantares Mexicanos: Songs of the Aztecs, trans. John Bierhorst (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1985), 134-139. 
  • Aquiauhtzin of Ayapanco, “Warrior Women of Chalco,” Fifteen Poets of the Aztec World, (Norman: University of Nebraska Press), 255-282.
  • Recommended: Carrasco, “Wordplay, Philosophy, Sculpture,” The Aztecs, chapter 6. (E-book)
Lecture: "Flower: Song"
Laura Leibman

Fri 5 Feb

Lecture: "From Conquest to Colonialism"
David Garrett

Week 3

Mon 8 Feb

Lecture: "Lienzo de Tlaxacala"
Carmen Ripollés (PSU)

Wed 10 Feb

  • Sacrifice of Isaac,” in Nahuatl Theater Volume I: Death and Life in Colonial Nahua Mexico, eds. Barry D. Sell and Louise M. Burkhart (Norman: University of Oklahoma, 2004), 147-163.
  • Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, “Loa to Narcissus,” in Poems, Protest, and a Dream, 195-239.
  • Excerpt from the Nahuatl Story of the Apparition of the Virgin of Guadalupe, 1649” in Mesoamerican Voices: Native-Language Writings from Colonial Mexico, Oaxaca, Yucatan, and Guatemala, ed. Matthew Restall, Lisa Sousa, and Kevin Terraciano (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 196-201.
Lecture: "The 'Spiritual Conquest' of Mexico? Questions and Complications"
Elizabeth Drumm

Fri 12 Feb

  • Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, “First I Dream,” in Poems, Protest, and a Dream, 77-129.
Ariadna García-Bryce

Week 4

Mon 15 Feb

  • Excerpt from the Nahuatl Story of the Apparition of the Virgin of Guadalupe, 1649” in Mesoamerican Voices: Native-Language Writings from Colonial Mexico, Oaxaca, Yucatan, and Guatemala, ed. Matthew Restall, Lisa Sousa, and Kevin Terraciano (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 196-201.
  • In Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Poems, Protest, and a Dream
    • “Reply to Sor Filotea,” 1-75. 
    • “Redondilla 92: A Philosophical Satire,” 148-151.
    • Decimas 130, 132 (p. 165)
    • Sonnet 161 (p. 179)
Lecture: “Sex & Passion in the Poetry of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz”
Laura Leibman

Wed 17 Feb

Lecture: “Racecraft & Casta Paintings”
Laura Leibman

Thu 18 Feb

Optional lecture sponsored by the Lit. and Lang. Division

“Architectures of the Flesh”
Zakiyyah Jackson (USC)

5:15 PM, Register:

Fri 19 Feb

Note: the lecturer advises that you begin watching the lecture before beginning the reading for today.
  • Selections from The Mexico Reader: History, Culture, Politics, ed. Gilbert M. Joseph and Timothy J. Henderson (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2002).
    • José Maria Morelos, “Sentiments of the Nation” (1813), 189-191.
    • Agustín de Iturbide, “Plan of Iguala” (1821), 192-195.
    • Editors of El Tiempo, “A Conservative Profession of Faith” (1846), 220-225.
    • Mariano Otero, “Considerations Relating to the Political and Social Situation of the Mexican Republic in the Year 1847” (1847), 226-238.
  • Gallery: Diego Rivera, National Palace mural (c. 1929-1935)
Lecture: “Turning Points: Mexico in the Nineteenth Century”
Margot Minardi

Fri 19 Feb

Optional lecture sponsored by American Studies, German dept., and Music dept.

"On Beethoven, Blackness, and Belonging: Listening to German Music in the Black Atlantic"
Kira Thurman (University of Michigan)

4:00 PM, Register:

Sun 21 Feb

Fifth Paper Due

Due Sunday, February 21, at 5:00 PM to your conference leader.

View Paper Topics

Week 5

Mon 22 Feb

Lecture: "Modernity and the Mexican Revolution"
David Garrett

Wed 24 Feb

Lecture: “Mexican Muralism, 1920-1940”
William Diebold

Fri 26 Feb

Lecture: "Los Olvidados: Space, Violence, Dream"
Marat Grinberg

Week 6

Mon 1 Mar

  • Nancy Deffebach, “Introduction,” María Izquierdo and Frida Kahlo: Challenging Visions in Modern Mexican Art (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2015), 1-34.  
  • Gallery: María Izquierdo
  • Gallery: Frida Kahlo
Lecture: “Gender and Genre, Modernism and Mexicanidad: Frida Kahlo and María Izquierdo”
Gail Sherman

Wed 3 Mar

Lecture: “Representation and its Discontents”
Jan Mieszkowski

Fri 5 Mar

Lecture: “The Inconvenience of Revolution: Zapatismo, Cynicism, Dignity and Memory”
Christian Kroll

Week 7

Aesthetics and Politics: Harlem

Mon 8 Mar

  • Ida B. Wells, Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases, in Southern Horrors and Other Writings: The Anti-Lynching Campaign of Ida B. Wells, 1892-1900, 2nd ed., ed. Jacqueline Jones Royster (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2016), 46-68.
  • Booker T. Washington, “The Atlanta Exposition Address,” in Up from Slavery (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2003), 141-151.
  • Du Bois, Souls of Black Folk, chapter 3.
Lecture: "Strange Fruit"
Pancho Savery

Wed 10 Mar

Lecture: No lecture

Fri 12 Mar

  • Du Bois, Souls of Black Folk, chapters 1 and 2.
Lecture: “W.E.B. DuBois's "Double Consciousness" as Theory and Form: “What I have briefly sketched in large outline, let me tell again in many ways””
Nathalia King

Week 8

Mon 15 Mar

Mark Burford

Wed 17 Mar

  • Jacob Lawrence, Migration Series (1940-1941), Phillips Collection.
    • Browse the thumbnails, including the titles (titles are visible if you hover the mouse over an image). Then, explore the full series (60 panels) panel-by-panel, starting with panel 1. You can advance to the next panel by clicking the down arrow below “panel 1” on the upper right of the screen.
  • Gallery: W.E.B. Du Bois data portraits.
Lecture: "Moving the Color Line: Jacob Lawrence's "Migration Series"
Nathalia King

Fri 19 Mar

  • Introduction and resources for March 19
  • James Weldon Johnson, “The Making of Harlem,” in Survey Graphic, 635-639.
  • Saidiya Hartman, “A Note on Method,” “Mistah Beauty: the Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Woman, Select Scenes from a Film Never Cast by Oscar Micheaux, Harlem, 1920s,” “Revolution in a Minor Key,” “Wayward: A Short Entry on the Possible,” and “The Anarchy of Colored Girls Assembled in a Riotous Manner,” in Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Social Upheaval (New York: Norton, 2019),  xiii-xvi, 192-202, 216-256.
Lecture: “Harlem, New York: City Within a City”
Margot Minardi

Week 9

Mon 22 Mar

Lecture: "White Supremacy, Black Democracy: W.E.B. Du Bois and the NAACP"
Paddy Riley

Wed 24 Mar

Lecture: "The World in Harlem, Harlem in the World"
Radhika Natarajan

Fri 26 Mar

Pancho Savery

Fri 26 Mar

Sixth Paper Due

Due Friday, March 26, at 5:00 PM to your conference leader.

View Paper Topics

Week 10

Mon 29 Mar

Lecture: "Formal Innovation and Tragic Beauty in Jean Toomer's Cane"
Dustin Simpson

Wed 31 Mar

  • Introduction and resources for March 31
  • Survey Graphic
    • Cover;
    • Table of contents and "The Gist of It" (p. 627);
    • Locke, "Harlem" pp. 629-30;
    • Locke, "Enter the New Negro pp. 631-34;
    • Reiss, "Harlem Types" pp. 651-54
    • Locke, "The Art of the Ancestors" p. 673.
  • In The Portable Harlem Renaissance Reader, ed. Lewis: 
  • Du Bois, "Criteria of Negro Art" pp. 100-105.
Paul Hovda

Fri 2 Apr

  • Introduction and resources for April 2
  • In The Portable Harlem Renaissance Reader, ed. Lewis: 
    • Langston Hughes, “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain,” 91–95.
    • George S. Schuyler, “The Negro-Art Hokum,” 96–99. 
    • Helene Johnson, “Sonnet to a Negro in Harlem” and “Poem,” 277–278
    • Langston Hughes, “The Weary Blues,” 260–261.
Lecture: "Africa, Poetry, and the Blues in the Harlem Renaissance"
Dustin Simpson

Week 11

Mon 5 Apr

  • Introduction and resources for April 5
  • In The Portable Harlem Renaissance Reader, ed. Lewis:
    • Gwendolyn Bennett, “Song,” 221–222, “Hatred,” 223. 
    • Claude McKay, “The Tropics in New York,” 292, “The Desolate City,” 294–296.
    • Anne Spencer, “Lady, Lady,” 299.
Lecture: “Poetry and Politics”
Jan Mieszkowski

Wed 7 Apr

Lecture: “Black, Feminist, Modernist: Their Eyes Were Watching God”
Gail Sherman

Fri 9 Apr

Lecture: "From Mules to Men, Animals in Their Eyes were Watching God”
Kritish Rajbhandari

Sat 10 Apr

Spring Break

April 10 – April 18

Week 12

Mon 19 Apr


Listening assignment:

  • Charlie Parker, “Wee,” from Jazz at Massey Hall (1953) 
  • Barry Harris, “Moose the Mooche,” from At the Jazz Workshop (1960) 
  • Oscar Peterson, “You Look Good to Me,” from We Get Requests (1964)
  • McCoy Tyner, “Passion Dance,” from The Real McCoy (1967) 
Lecture: Modern Jazz
Peter Steinberger

Wed 21 Apr

Lecture: "Is You Got the Dog?"
Pancho Savery

Fri 23 Apr

Lecture: TBA
Jin Chang

Week 13

Mon 26 Apr

Lecture: “Pugilism and Katabasis”
Sonia Sabnis

Wed 28 Apr

Lecture: “Multidirectional Memories of Du Bois and Ellison”
Marat Grinberg

Fri 30 Apr

Lecture: "Behold the Invisible"
Pancho Savery

Week 14

Fri 7 May

Seventh Paper Due

Due Friday, May 7, at 5:00 PM to your conference leader.

View Paper Topics