Humanities 110

Introduction to the Humanities

Syllabus - Fall 2023

Jump to course logistics

Full Schedule

Week 1

Mon 28 Aug

In-Person lecture: 9:00-9:50am in Vollum Lecture Hall


  • Gilgamesh, Tablets 1-11 (pp. 1-100, trans. George)
  • Students should read the whole of Gilgamesh prior to the first day of class. 

Lecture: “The Epic Caring of Gilgamesh (and Others)”
Christian Kroll

Wed 30 Aug


  • Gilgamesh, Tablets 1-11, pp. 1-100

Lecture: “Gilgamesh: When Terrified by Death…”
Nathalia King

Fri 1 Sep


  • Gilgamesh, Tablets 1-11, pp. 1-100

Lecture: “The Forest and the Flood: Environmental Approaches to the Gilgamesh Epic”
Naomi Caffee

Week 2

Mon 4 Sep

Campus closed

Labor Day

Wed 6 Sep


Tom Landvatter

Fri 8 Sep


  • Introduction and resources
  • “The Tale of Sinuhe,” in The Tale of Sinuhe and Other Ancient Egyptian Poems, ed. Parkinson, pp. 21-53

Lecture: "Egypt and its Others: Death as Return in the Tale of Sinuhe"
Kritish Rajbhandari

Week 3

Mon 11 Sep

In-Person lecture: 9:00-9:50am in Vollum Lecture Hall


  • Introduction and resources
  • “The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant,” in The Tale of Sinuhe and Other Ancient Egyptian Poems, ed. Parkinson, 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

Lecture: “Speaking Ma’at, Doing Ma’at, Making Ma’at”
Nathalia King

Wed 13 Sep


Lecture: “Familiar and Strange: Love Poetry of the New Kingdom”
Dustin Simpson

Fri 15 Sep

Lecture: No reading or lecture

Sat 16 Sep

First paper due

Due Saturday, September 16, at 5:00 PM to your conference leader.

Week 4

Mon 18 Sep

In-Person lecture: 9:00-9:50am in Vollum Lecture Hall


Michael Faletra

Wed 20 Sep


Lecture: "Another Abraham"
Jan Mieszkowski

Fri 22 Sep


  • Hesiod, Theogony (trans. Lombardo)

Lecture: “Making Gender in Hesiod’s Theogony: Cosmic Parents, Monstrous Children, and Cannibal Consorts”
Nathalia King

Week 5

Mon 25 Sep


  • Introduction and resources
  • Hesiod, Works and Days, lines 1-128, 430-500 (pp. 23-6, 35-7, trans. Lombardo)
  • Anaximander (all), Anaximenes (21, 23, and 24), Xenophanes (all), Heraclitus (all), and Parmenides (all), in A Presocratics Reader, ed. Patricia Curd, pp. 16-20, 31-65
Wed 27 Sep


  • Introduction and resources
  • Exodus, chapters 1-15, plus introduction to Exodus, in The Jewish Study Bible, eds. Berlin and Brettler

Margot Minardi

Fri 29 Sep


Lecture: "Migration Legends"
Laura Leibman

Week 6

Mon 2 Oct

In-Person lecture: 9:00-9:50am in Vollum Lecture Hall


  • Iliad : books 1, 2, 3 and 6 (trans. Lattimore)
  • Summaries of the other books (Summary Handout)

Lecture: “Great Books”
Nigel Nicholson

Wed 4 Oct


  • Iliad: books 9, 16, 18, 19

Lecture: Achilleus: Brooding Whiner or Skeptical Sage?”
Ann Delehanty

Fri 6 Oct

Lecture: No reading or lecture

Sat 7 Oct

Second Paper Due

Due Saturday, October 7, at 5:00 PM to your conference leader.

Week 7

Mon 9 Oct


  • Iliad: books 22, 23, 24

Lecture: “The Epic Scale; or, The World According to Homer"
Jay Dickson

Wed 11 Oct


  • Archilochus 4, 18; Tyrtaeus 7; Alcaeus 4; Sappho 1, 4, 6, 14, 18; Hipponax 1-9, in Greek Lyric, ed. Andrew Miller (Cambridge: Hackett, 1996), pp. 2, 5, 18-19, 40-1, 51-2, 54-6, 59-61, 104-6. (e-reserves)

Lecture: “Putting the ‘I’ in Ideology”
Nigel Nicholson

Fri 13 Oct


Lecture: "Stay and Mourn"
Jenny Sakai

Sat 14 Oct

Fall Break

October 14 – October 22

Week 8

Mon 23 Oct

In-Person lecture: 9:00-9:50am in Vollum Lecture Hall


  • Introduction and resources
  • Herodotus, The Histories, Book 1, Sections 0-12, 28-33, 53-54, 71-91, 201-216; Book 2, Sections 1-5, 28-64, 113-120. (Page numbers differ by the edition, but for the most recent de Selincourt edition, this equates to pp. 3-8, 13-16, 23, 32-43, 88-97, 105-121, 138-142.)
  • There is also a structural outline on pp. 607-614.

Lecture: “Same Difference: Telling Tales of Others in The Histories of Herodotus”
Margot Minardi

Wed 25 Oct


  • Introduction to Achaemenid Era Inscriptions 
  • Achaemenid era inscriptions, from The Persian Empire, vol. I, ed.
  • Amelie Kuhrt (New York: Routledge, 2007), pp. 70-74, 141-158, 492-495, 503-505. (e-reserves)
  • Herodotus, The Histories, Book 1, Sections 131-140; Book 3, Sections 37-38, 61-89 (pp. 61-64, 186-187, 197-212)

Lecture: “Empire of All Kinds: Achaemenid Persia from Cyrus to Herodotus”
Margot Minardi

Fri 27 Oct


Lecture: “The Spaces of Persepolis"
Jenny Sakai

Week 9

Mon 30 Oct


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

Wed 1 Nov


  • Herodotus, Histories, 6.125-130, 7.8-57, 7.101-104, 7.138-144, 7.201-238, 8.40-99, 9.114-122

Lecture: "Herodotus, Oracle of Halicarnassus"
Meg Scharle

Fri 3 Nov


Lecture: “The Schema of the Book of Esther”
Jin Chang

Week 10

Mon 6 Nov

In-Person lecture: 9:00-9:50am in Vollum Lecture Hall


Lecture: "The Beginnings of Tragedy"
Jay Dickson

Wed 8 Nov


  • Aeschylus, The Oresteia: “Libation Bearers”

Lecture: “Aeschylus to Alfaro: Tracing Lineage, Rethinking Gender”
Simone Waller

Fri 10 Nov


  • Aeschylus, The Oresteia: “Eumenides” 

Lecture: “The Eumenides”
Peter Steinberger

Sat 11 Nov

Third Paper Due

Due Saturday, November 11, at 5:00 PM to your conference leader.

Week 11

Mon 13 Nov


Lecture: “Slavery and Social Death in Ancient Greece and Beyond”
Alice Hu and Margot Minardi

Wed 15 Nov


Lecture: "The Case against Neaera: Performing Citizen Status in the Athenian Lawcourt"
Alice Hu

Fri 17 Nov


Simone Waller

Week 12

Mon 20 Nov

In-Person lecture: 9:00-9:50am in Vollum Lecture Hall


  • Introduction and resources
  • Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, ​1.1-23, 1.31-55, 1.66-88, 1.139-146, ​2.34-65 (trans. Warner)

Lecture: “Thucydidean Thought”
Peter Steinberger

Wed 22 Nov


Lecture: "Thucydides' Speeches and Athenian Democracy"
David Garrett

Thu 23 Nov

Thanksgiving Break

November 23 – November 26

Week 13

Mon 27 Nov


  • Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War,​​ 6.1-32, 6.88-93, 7.10-18, 7.55-87

Lecture: “The Theater of War: Thucydides and the Tragedy of Athens?”
Alice Hu

Wed 29 Nov


  • Plato, “Euthyphro,” “Apology,” and “Crito” in Trial and Death of Socrates, pp. 1-54 (trans. Grube)

Lecture: “A Kind of Gadfly”
Pancho Savery

Fri 1 Dec


  • Plato, Republic, 327a-417a (Books 1–3), pp. 1-102 (trans. Reeve)

Lecture: "Lovers of Laughter"
Jan Mieszkowski

Sat 2 Dec

Fourth Paper Due

Due Saturday, December 2, at 5:00 PM to your conference leader.

Week 14

Mon 4 Dec

In-Person lecture: 9:00-9:50am in Vollum Lecture Hall


  • Plato, Republic, 497a-541a (=part of Book 6 to end of Book 7), pp. 191-237

Lecture: “Plato’s cave: A Metaphysical Response to Sophistry”
Meg Scharle

Wed 6 Dec

Lecture: No reading or lecture

Week 15

Wed 13 Dec

Final Exam

Wednesday, December 13, 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Exam Instructions
Exam Website

Course Logistics


  • Aeschylus. The Oresteia. Trans. Robert Fagles. New York: Penguin, 1977. 
  • The Epic of Gilgamesh the Babylonian Epic Poem and Other Texts in Akkadian and Sumerian. Trans. Andrew George. London: Penguin Classics, 2003.
  • Aristophanes. Lysistrata. Trans. Sarah Ruden. Indianapolis: Hackett, 2003.
  • The Jewish Study Bible: Tanakh Translation. Eds. Adele Berlin and Mark Zvi Brettler. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. 
  • A Presocratics Reader: Selected Fragments and Testimonia. Ed. Patricia Curd. Trans. Richard McKirahan and Patricia Curd. 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, 2011.
  • The Tale of Sinuhe and Other Ancient Egyptian Poems, 1940-1640 B.C. Ed. and trans. R. B. Parkinson. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.
  • Plato. Republic. Trans. C.D.C. Reeve. Indianapolis: Hackett, 2004.
  • Plato. The Trial and Death of Socrates. Trans. G. M. A. Grube, rev. John Cooper. 3rd ed. Indianapolis: Hackett, 2000.
  • 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.

On most Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays of the semester, a lecture is assigned. On the Mondays, most of these are in-person (weeks 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14), and for these lectures we will meet in Vollum Lecture Hall at 9:00 am. Please be on time; the moments when we all gather together as a unified class are important. In-person lecture days are flagged on the syllabus. The other lectures will be posted so they can be accessed online; you can review these when it is most convenient to do so, but, obviously, do so before your conference meeting. Some of these lectures have been reused from last year, but, of course, only when still relevant. Lectures are regularly updated.

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 Nathalia King, 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.

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. 

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, Nigel Nicholson. 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 entries provide 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. Links to the Writing Center session are 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