Humanities 110

Introduction to the Humanities

Syllabus | Fall 2019

Coming Up

Wed 11 Dec

  • Aristotle, Politics, trans. C.D.C. Reeve (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1998), I.1-7, 12-13; II.1-2; III.1-4, 6-7 (pp. 1-12, 21-25, 26-28, 65-73, 75-78)
Lecture: “Aristotle’s Politics of Exclusion and Inclusion”
David Garrett

Mon 16 Dec

Final Exam

Monday, December 16, 8:00 AM-12:00 PM
Exam Instructions

Jump to Full Schedule

Course Logistics


  • Aeschylus. The Oresteia. Trans. Robert Fagles. New York: Penguin, 1977.
  • Aristophanes. Lysistrata. Trans. Sarah Ruden. Indianapolis: Hackett, 2003.
  • Aristotle. Nicomachean Ethics. Trans. Terence Irwin. 2nd ed. Indianapolis: Hackett, 2007.
  • Berlin, Adele, and Mark Zvi Brettler, eds. The Jewish Study Bible: Tanakh Translation. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.
  • Curd, Patricia, ed. A Presocratics Reader: Selected Fragments and Testimonia. Trans. Richard D. McKirahan. Indianapolis: Hackett, 2011.
  • Herodotus. The Histories. Trans. Aubrey de Selincourt. London: Penguin, 2003.
  • Hesiod. Works and Days and Theogony. Trans. Stanley Lombardo Indianapolis: Hackett, 1993.
  • Homer. The Iliad. Trans. Richmond Lattimore. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961.
  • Miller, Andrew M., ed. Greek Lyric: An Anthology in Translation. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1996.
  • Parkinson, R. B., ed. and trans. The Tale of Sinuhe and Other Ancient Egyptian Poems, 1940-1640 B.C. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.
  • Plato. The Trial and Death of Socrates. Trans. G. M. A. Grube, rev. John M. Cooper. 3rd ed. Indianapolis: Hackett, 2000.
  • Plato. Symposium. Trans. Alexander Nehamas and Paul Woodruff. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1989.
  • Plato. Protagoras. Trans. Stanley Lombardo and Karen Bell. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1992.
  • Thucydides. History of the Peloponnesian War. Trans. Rex Warner. New York: Penguin, 1954.

Additional assigned texts are available on e-reserves 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 the required books, as well as multiple copies of a course packet containing the electronic readings.


Humanities 110 is a yearlong course, and students are generally expected to remain in the same conference throughout the year. The Registrar assigns all students to conferences at the beginning of the year. Thereafter, students may change conferences only due to academic schedule conflicts and only with the authorization of the course Chair, Margot Minardi. Any student who wishes to initiate such a change should contact Prof. Minardi for the appropriate form. Students granted a schedule change will be assigned to new sections based on available slots; requests to move into a particular conference generally cannot be honored. No conference changes are permitted after the second week of the term.

At mid-year, students who must move to a different conference for spring term due to a schedule conflict with another spring course may petition Prof. Minardi for permission to do so. Again, these requests will only be approved in the case of an academic schedule conflict. To initiate such a request, please email Prof. Minardi after November 18. 


Four 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. A four-hour final examination for the spring semester will be given at the end of the semester; the format, date, and time will be announced later in the semester. Rescheduling of the final exam will be allowed only for medical reasons.


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, Margot Minardi. 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 resources 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, which is located in the Dorothy Johansen House. Drop-in help from writing tutors is available Sunday through Thursday, 7:00-10:00 p.m.; additional hours will be held in Trillium, Naito/Sullivan, and Cross Canyon residence halls on Friday nights before 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

Introducing the Humanities: Egyptians, Israelites, and Achaemenids

Mon 2 Sep

Labor Day - Campus closed

September 2-December 16

Wed 4 Sep


Please note: the full Fall 2019 e-reserves reading packet link has been taken down for now. We received many reports of the file being too large and crashing printers. Until we resolve this issue, please use the links listed under each lecture day to access the readings. 

Readings for September 4:

Lecture: “Stairway to Heaven: The Great Pyramid in and out of Context”
Tom Landvatter

Fri 6 Sep

  • “The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant,” in The Tale of Sinuhe and Other Ancient Egyptian Poems, ed. and trans. Parkinson, R. B. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), pp. 54-88
  • Charles Freeman, “Egypt, the Gift of the Nile, 3200-1500 BC,” in Egypt, Greece and Rome: Civilizations of the Ancient Mediterranean, second ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), pp. 40-62
  • Image gallery: boats and scales
Lecture: “Speaking Ma’at, Doing Ma’at, Making Ma’at: The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant”
Nathalia King

Week 2

Mon 9 Sep

  • “The Tale of Sinuhe,” in The Tale of Sinuhe and Other Ancient Egyptian Poems, ed. Parkinson, pp. 21-53
Lecture: “Sinuhe’s Flight”
Elizabeth Drumm

Wed 11 Sep

  • “The Teaching for King Merikare,” in The Tale of Sinuhe and Other Ancient Egyptian Poems, ed. Parkinson, pp. 212-234
  • “The Teaching of the Vizier Ptahhotep,” in The Tale of Sinuhe and Other Ancient Egyptian Poems, ed. Parkinson, pp. 246-272
  • “The Teaching of Khety,” in The Tale of Sinuhe and Other Ancient Egyptian Poems, ed. Parkinson, pp. 273-283
Lecture: “Proverbs, Popular Wisdom, and Persuasion”
Nigel Nicholson

Fri 13 Sep

  • Digital Karnak (UCLA website, now archived)
    • Explore Introduction to the Temple of Karnak, including reading the PDF “Guide” and watching the two videos linked at the bottom of the page.
    • Choose at least TWO other pages of “Thematic Videos and Instructional Texts” (linked on the left side of the screen) to explore.
    • Locate the images from the Gallery in the virtual Karnak. 
  • Gallery: Karnak
Lecture: “A Palace of the Gods at the Center of the World”
David Garrett

Week 3

Mon 16 Sep

Lecture: "I’m with Her: Gender, Power, and Kingship in the Monuments of Hatshepsut"
Tom Landvatter

Wed 18 Sep

  • September 18 reading packet 
    • Introduction to Egyptian Love Lyrics
    • Selections from Love Lyrics of Ancient Egypt, trans. Barbara Hughes Fowler (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1994), pp. xiii-xv, 6-9, 17, 38-41, 57-58, 66-67
    • Selections from Love Songs of the New Kingdom, trans. John L. Foster (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1974), front matter, pp. 67, 70-73, 102.
Lecture: “Familiar and Strange: Love Poetry of the New Kingdom”
Dustin Simpson

Fri 20 Sep

Sarah Wagner-McCoy

Sat 21 Sep


Saturday, September 21, at 5:00 PM in your conference leader's Eliot Hall mailbox.

Week 4

Mon 23 Sep

Lecture: “Empire of All Kinds: Achaemenid Persians in Egypt and Beyond”
Margot Minardi

Wed 25 Sep

Lecture: "Babble"
Jan Mieszkowski

Thu 26 Sep

Guest lecturer (optional event)

"Eloquently Responding to Great Works of Ancient Egyptian Philosophy: An Interpretation of the Tale of the Eloquent Peasant."
Chike Jeffers (Associate Professor of Philosophy, Dalhousie University)

4:30 PM, reception in Vollum foyer; 5:00 PM lecture in Vollum lecture hall

Fri 27 Sep

  • Genesis, chapters 23-50
Lecture: "Genesis, Gender, and Generation(s)"
Gail Sherman

Week 5

Mon 30 Sep

  • Exodus, chapters 1-15, plus introduction to Exodus from The Jewish Study Bible
Lecture: “A People in Between: Exodus and the Israelites at the Crossroads of Empire”
Margot Minardi

Wed 2 Oct

  • Exodus, chapters 15-35; 40.16-34
Lecture: “Moses as a Nation Builder”
Tamara Metz

Fri 4 Oct

  • Esther
Lecture: "Narratives and Identities, Gender and Genre: Jews in the Persian Empire"
Gail Sherman

Week 6

Archaic Greece and the Rise of the Polis

Mon 7 Oct

  • Homer, The Iliad, Books 1-6 (focus on 1, 2, 6)
Lecture: "The Oral Tradition in Homer: the Extended Simile as an Analysis of Action"
Nathalia King

Wed 9 Oct

  • Homer, The Iliad, Books 7-12 (focus on 9, 11)
  • Gallery
Lecture: "The Shield of Achilles: Word and Image in 8th-Century Greece"
William Diebold

Fri 11 Oct

Homer, The Iliad, Books 13-18 (focus on 15, 16, 18)
Lecture: "Fate in the Iliad"
Paul Hovda and Meg Scharle

Sat 12 Oct


Saturday, October 12, at 5:00 PM in your conference leader's Eliot Hall mailbox.

Week 7

Mon 14 Oct

  • Homer, The Iliad, Books 19-24 (focus on 19, 22, 24)
Lecture: "Memory Three Ways at the End of the Iliad"
Laura Zientek

Tue 15 Oct

“An Iliad” Northwest Classical Theatre Collaborative production (optional event)

7:00 PM, Vollum Lecture Hall

Wed 16 Oct

  • Hesiod, Works and Days, in Works and Days and Theogony, pp. 23-60
Lecture: "Hesiod’s Works and Days: The “Other” Epic"
Lena Lencek

Fri 18 Oct

  • “Archilochus” in Greek Lyric: An Anthology in Translation, pp. 1-12
  • “Alcman” in Greek Lyric: An Anthology in Translation, pp. 31-37
  • “Solon” in Greek Lyric: An Anthology in Translation, pp. 64-76
Lecture: “How to Read Poetry and Why”
Marat Grinberg

Sat 19 Oct

Fall Break

October 19-October 27

Week 8

Mon 28 Oct

  • “Sappho” in Greek Lyric: An Anthology in Translation, pp. 51-63
Lecture: “Speaking Sappho: Lyric Form, Lyric Voice”
Lucía Martínez Valdivia

Wed 30 Oct

  • Presocratics Reader: Thales (pp. 13-15); Anaximenes (pp. 19-22); Xenophanes (pp. 31 -38); Heraclitus (pp. 39-54); Parmenides (pp. 55-65).
Lecture: "If horses had hands..."
Troy Cross

Fri 1 Nov

  • Aeschylus, The Oresteia: “Agamemnon”
Lecture: "Drama Queens"
Jan Mieszkowski

Week 9

Mon 4 Nov

  • Aeschylus, The Oresteia: “Libation Bearers” and “Eumenides” 
  • Gallery
Lecture: “Verbal and Visual Oresteias”
William Diebold

Wed 6 Nov

  • Herodotus, Histories, 1.1-12, 1.25-94, 1.107-140, 1.201-216
Lecture: “Oracular History and Athenian Empire”
Margot Minardi

Fri 8 Nov

  • Herodotus, Histories, 2.1-64, 2.113-120, 2.142-151, 2.164-182, 3.30-3.89
Lecture: "Myth and History"
Ariadna García-Bryce

Sat 9 Nov


Saturday, November 9, at 5:00 PM in your conference leader's Eliot Hall mailbox.

Week 10

Mon 11 Nov

  • Herodotus, Histories, 7.8-57, 7.101-104, 7.138-140, 7.201-238, 8.40-99, 9.114-122
Lecture: “Interpreting the Persian Wars”
Radhika Natarajan

Wed 13 Nov

Lecture: "Architecture, Memory and Meaning: The Parthenon and Beyond"
Christian Kroll

Fri 15 Nov

  • Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, 1.1-23, 1.66-88, 1.118-125, 1.139-145
Lecture: “Words, Deeds, and Meanings”
David Garrett

Week 11

Mon 18 Nov

  • Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, 2.11, 2.34-65
Lecture: "Thucydides and the Seduction of Empire"
Paul Vadan

Wed 20 Nov

  • Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, 3.36-50, 3.69-85, 5.85-113, 6.8-24, 7.42-87
Peter Steinberger

Thu 21 Nov

Optional lecture sponsored by Hum 110, the English dept., and the Religion depts.

"Gender Bending in the Stories of Joseph and Esther in the Hebrew Bible"
Rachel Adelman (Hebrew College)

4:30 PM, Psych 105

Fri 22 Nov

  • Aristophanes, Lysistrata
Lecture: "Lysistrata: Thinking Through Gender"
Laura Leibman

Week 12

Mon 25 Nov

  • Plato, “Euthyphro” and “Apology,” in Trial and Death of Socrates, pp. 1-42
Lecture: "A Kind of Gadfly"
Pancho Savery

Wed 27 Nov

  • Plato, Symposium
Lecture: "The Theory of Forms and Plato’s Symposium"
Jan Mieszkowski and Paul Hovda

Thu 28 Nov

Thanksgiving Break

November 28-December 1

Week 13

Mon 2 Dec

  • Plato, Protagoras, 309a to 334a
Lecture: "What is a sophist?"
Troy Cross

Wed 4 Dec

  • Plato, Protagoras, 334a-362c
Meg Scharle

Fri 6 Dec

  • Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, 1-2
Lecture: "Aristotle and the Sources of Ethical Norms"
Paul Hovda

Sat 7 Dec


Saturday, December 7, at 5:00 PM in your conference leader's Eliot Hall mailbox.

Week 14

Mon 9 Dec

  • Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, 3.1-5, 6
Lecture: "The Virtues of Character and the Virtues of Thought"
Nathalia King

Wed 11 Dec

  • Aristotle, Politics, trans. C.D.C. Reeve (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1998), I.1-7, 12-13; II.1-2; III.1-4, 6-7 (pp. 1-12, 21-25, 26-28, 65-73, 75-78)
Lecture: “Aristotle’s Politics of Exclusion and Inclusion”
David Garrett

Week 15

Mon 16 Dec

Final Exam

Monday, December 16, 8:00 AM-12:00 PM
Exam Instructions