Humanities 110

Introduction to the Humanities

Syllabus | Spring 2019

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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).

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 texts, as well as multiple copies of each of two course packets of e-reserve readings, one for each of the two modules.

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.


Three course-wide papers will be assigned in the spring semester, due at the times designated on the schedule of readings and lectures. 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; date and time to be announced. Rescheduling of the final exam will be allowed only for medical reasons. If you have a documented disability requiring accommodations on exams, please consult with your conference leader prior to the exam. 

You can get help with all stages of the writing process from the Writing Center 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 residence hall locations during weeks that a paper is due.

Schedule of Readings and Lectures

Week 1

Module 3 - Palimpsest of Past and Present: Tenochtitlan/Mexico City

Mon 28 Jan


***Click here to access the entire e-reserves packet for Module 3 - Palimpsest of Past and Present: Tenochtitlan/Mexico City. For best printing, download the PDF and from the print screen select "Fit" under "Page Sizing and Handling."***

Assignment for January 28:

Lecture: “We walked a long time to get here; We have been here forever.”
Nathalia King

Wed 30 Jan

Lecture: "Glimpsing a world in motion: Colonial texts and Mexica cosmology"
David Garrett

Fri 1 Feb

Lecture: No Lecture

Week 2

Mon 4 Feb

Lecture: "Mapping the Cosmos at the Templo Mayor"
Margot Minardi

Wed 6 Feb

  • Acosta's Natural and Moral History: introduction
  • José de Acosta, Natural and Moral History of the Indies, ed. Jane Mangan, trans. Frances M. López-Morillas (Durham: Duke University Press, 2002), v-xvi (table of contents), 250-251 (“Prologue to the subsequent books”), 275-276 (V.11), 278-282 (V. 13-14), 293-296 (V.20), 327-333 (V.31, VI.1-2), 339-342 (VI.7), 368-380 (VI.24-28, VII.1), 392-394 (VII.7).
Lecture: "Writing the past: Scholarship and Colonial Power"
David Garrett

Fri 8 Feb

Lecture: "Flower : Song"
Laura Leibman

Week 3

Mon 11 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 the Divine Narcissus,” in Poems, Protest, and a Dream, 195-239.
Lecture: "Ritual Spectacle: Catholic drama in Colonial Mexico"
Lucía Martínez Valdivia

Wed 13 Feb

  • Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, “First I Dream,” in Poems, Protest, and a Dream, 77-129.
Lecture: "Sor Juana's "First Dream" and Baroque Poetics"
Ariadna García-Bryce

Fri 15 Feb

  • From Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Poems, Protest, and a Dream:
    • “Reply to Sor Filotea,” 1-75.
    • “Redondilla 92: A Philosophical Satire,” 148-151.
    • “Sonnet 145: She Attempts to Minimize…,” 168-169.
Lecture: No Lecture

Sat 16 Feb


Saturday, February 16, at 5:00 PM in your conference leader's Eliot Hall mailbox.

Week 4

Mon 18 Feb

Lecture: "Casta Paintings"
Laura Leibman

Wed 20 Feb

  • 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.
Lecture: "Turning Points: Mexico in the Nineteenth Century"
Margot Minardi

Fri 22 Feb

Lecture: "Revolution and Modernity"
David Garrett

Week 5

Mon 25 Feb

Lecture: “The Mexican Avant-Garde: Visualizing the Revolution and the City”
Alberto McKelligan Hernández (PSU)

Wed 27 Feb

Lecture: No lecture

Wed 27 Feb

Film screening

Los Olvidados/The Young and the Damned

7:40 PM, Vollum Lecture Hall

Fri 1 Mar

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

Week 6

Mon 4 Mar

Lecture: "All Roads Lead to "Roma""
Elizabeth Drumm

Wed 6 Mar

  • Elena Poniatowska, Massacre in Mexico (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1991), vii-xvii, 3-23, 173-231.
Lecture: “Testimonio and the Politics of Genre”
Ann Delehanty

Fri 8 Mar

  • Selections from Subcomandante Marcos, Our Word Is Our Weapon: Selected Writings, ed. Juana Ponce de León (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2001).
    • “Fourth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle” (1996), 78-81.
    • “Mexico City: We Have Arrived. We Are Here: The EZLN.” (2001), 155-162.
    • “The Story of the Questions” (1994), 413-416.
  • Zapatista Army of National Liberation, “6th Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle” (June 2005).
Lecture: "The Inconvenience of Revolution: Zapatismo, Cynicism, Dignity and Memory"
Christian Kroll

Week 7

Module 4 - Aesthetics and Politics: Harlem

Mon 11 Mar

***Click here to access the entire e-reserves packet for Module 4 - Aesthetics and Politics: Harlem. For best printing, download the PDF and from the print screen select "Fit" under "Page Sizing and Handling."*

Assignment for March 11:
  • 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,” from Up from Slavery (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2003), 141-151.
Lecture: "Strange Fruit"
Pancho Savery

Wed 13 Mar

  • Du Bois, Souls of Black Folk, 3-44, 189-205 ("The Forethought"; chapters 1-3; Appendix II: “The Talented Tenth”).
Sarah Wagner-McCoy

Fri 15 Mar

  • Du Bois, Souls of Black Folk, 45-62, 128-139, 153-177 (chapters 4-5, 10, 13-14).
Lecture: No lecture

Sat 16 Mar


Saturday, March 16, at 5:00 PM in your conference leader's Eliot Hall mailbox.

Week 8

Mon 18 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.
  • James Weldon Johnson, “The Making of Harlem,” in Survey Graphic, ed. Locke, 635-639.
  • Gallery: W.E.B. Du Bois data portraits
Lecture: "Moving the Perception of the Color Line: Jacob Lawrence’s “Migration Series”"
Nathalia King

Wed 20 Mar

  • Selections from The Portable Harlem Renaissance Reader, ed. Lewis:
    • W.E.B. Du Bois, “Returning Soldiers,” 3-5.
    • Marcus Garvey, “Africa for the Africans,” 17-25. Marcus Garvey, “Liberty Hall Emancipation Day Speech,” 26-28.
  • Manifesto of the Second Pan-African Congress” (1921), in The Oxford W. E. B. Du Bois Reader, ed. Eric J. Sundquist (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), pp. 640-644.
    • Browse the issue of The Crisis (Nov. 1921) in which this manifesto appeared.
  • Universal Negro Improvement Association, “Declaration of the Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World” (1920). 
Lecture: "Garvey and Du Bois: Competing Visions of Race and Politics"
Tamara Metz, Paddy Riley

Fri 22 Mar

  • From Survey Graphic, ed. Locke:
    • Alain Locke, “Harlem” and “Enter The New Negro,” 629-634.
    • W.A. Domingo, “The Tropics in New York,” 648-650.
    • Elise McDougald, “The Double Task,” 689-691.
    • Look at illustrations in the Survey Graphic volume.
Lecture: "Survey Graphic, March 1925: Locating and renewing a people"
Paul Hovda, Radhika Natarajan

Sat 23 Mar

Spring Break

March 23-March 31

Week 9

Mon 1 Apr

  • From 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.
  • James Weldon Johnson, “Preface” to The Book of American Negro Poetry, 9-22, 34-48.
Lecture: "I got soul" and "The Vernacular Tradition, Literature, and the Canon"
Pancho Savery, Dustin Simpson

Wed 3 Apr

  • Toomer, Cane, 3-75.
Lecture: "Perfect as Dusk"
Pancho Savery

Fri 5 Apr

  • Toomer, Cane, 76-160.
Lecture: "Tension and Style in Jean Toomer's Cane"
Dustin Simpson

Week 10

Mon 8 Apr

  • From The Portable Harlem Renaissance Reader, ed. Lewis:
    • Gwendolyn Bennett, “Song,” 221–222, “Hatred,” 223.
    • Mae Cowdery, “The Young Voice Cries,” 238–240.
    • Countee Cullen, “Yet Do I Marvel,” 244, “Heritage,” 244–247, “Tableau,” 248–249.
    • Langston Hughes, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” 257, “I, Too,” 257–258, “America,” 258-260, “The Weary Blues,” 260–261, “Jazzonia,” 261, “Mother to Son,” 261–262, “Elevator Boy,” 263–264, “Elderly Race Leaders,” 265, “Dream Variation,” 266.
  • Poems read by Langston Hughes:
Lecture: "Poetry, Masks, and the Blues"
Jan Mieszkowski

Wed 10 Apr

  • From The Portable Harlem Renaissance Reader, ed. Lewis:
    • Sterling Brown, “Southern Road,” 227–229, “Odyssey of Big Boy,: 229–231.
    • James Weldon Johnson, “O Black and Unknown Bards,” 282, “The Creation,” 286.
    • Claude McKay, “If We Must Die,” 290, “The White House,” 291, “The Tropics in New York,” 292, “When Dawn Comes to the City,” 293–294, “The Desolate City,” 294–296, “The Harlem Dancer,” 296.
    • Anne Spencer, “Lady, Lady,” 299.
    • Jean Toomer, “The Blue Meridian,” 303–307.
  • "The Creation," 286, read by James Weldon Johnson
Lecture: No lecture

Fri 12 Apr

Lecture: "Duke Ellington v. Jazz"
David Schiff

Week 11

Mon 15 Apr

  • Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God, 1-138 (chapters 1-15).
  • Zora Neale Hurston, “What White Publishers Won’t Print,” in I Love Myself When I Am Laughing...And Then Again When I Am Looking Mean and Impressive: A Zora Neale Hurston Reader, ed. Alice Walker (Old Westbury, N.Y.: Feminist Press, 1979), 169-173.
Lecture: "Black, Feminist, Modernist: Their Eyes Were Watching God"
Gail Sherman

Wed 17 Apr

  • Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God, 139-193 (chapters 16-20).
  • Zora Neale Hurston, “How It Feels to Be Colored Me” (1928), in The Story and Its Writer: An Introduction to Short Fiction, 8th ed., ed. Ann Charters (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2011), 1484-1488.
Lecture: No lecture

Fri 19 Apr

  • Viewing/listening assignment
    • Paul Robeson, “Old Man River,” from Show Boat (1936) [film clip]
    • Paul Robeson, “Old Man River,” performed in concert, Moscow, 1949 [audio clip]
  • Selections from Paul Robeson, Paul Robeson Speaks: Writings, Speeches, Interviews, ed. Philip S. Foner (New York: Citadel Press, 1978).
    • “‘I’m at Home,’ Says Robeson at Reception in Soviet Union,” 94-96.
    • “U.S.S.R.--The Land for Me,” 105-109.
    • “Soviet Culture,” 136-137.
    • “The Negro People and the Soviet Union,” 236-241.
    • “Two Worlds--Ten Years of Struggle,” 486-490.
    • “Thoughts on Winning the Stalin Peace Prize,” 336-339.
    • “The Essence of Fascism and Communism,” 490-494.
Lecture: "Paul Robeson"
Mark Burford, Marat Grinberg

Sat 20 Apr


Saturday, April 20, at 5:00 PM in your conference leader's Eliot Hall mailbox.

Week 12

Mon 22 Apr

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

Wed 24 Apr

  • Ellison, Invisible Man, 1-108 (chapters 1-4).
  • W. E. B. Du Bois, “The Negro and the Warsaw Ghetto” (1952), in The Oxford W. E. B. Du Bois Reader, 469-473.
Lecture: "Multidirectional Memories of Du Bois and Ellison"
Marat Grinberg

Fri 26 Apr

  • Ellison, Invisible Man, 109-230 (chapters 5-10).
Lecture: No lecture

Week 13

Mon 29 Apr

  • Ellison, Invisible Man, 231-355 (chapters 11-16).
Lecture: "Is You Got the Dog?"
Pancho Savery

Wed 1 May

  • Ellison, Invisible Man, 356-478 (chapters 17-22).
Lecture: "Saying No and Saying Yes, Saying Yes and Saying No: Unambiguous Ambivalence in Invisible Man"
Lisa Steinman

Fri 3 May

  • Ellison, Invisible Man, 479-581 (chapter 23-epilogue).
Lecture: "Behold the Invisible"
Pancho Savery, Paul Hovda

Tue 14 May

Final exam

Tuesday, May 14, 6:00 PM-10:00 PM