Humanities 411

Fall 2018 Syllabus

Each section of the course will comprise about 15 students and 2-3 faculty members from various disciplines. Sections meet from 7-9pm once per week, and participants will take turns hosting the class. In the first week, we will have a brief organizational meeting in the Vollum Lecture Hall to give everyone a chance to get acquainted.

Books are available in the bookstore. A few copies of each text will be on reserve in the library.


The requirements of the course are attendance and active participation. You are expected to be present and prepared at every session, although illness or family emergencies will be taken into consideration. You are expected to attend another section with prior coordination with all section leaders. At the end of the semester, you will be given a questionnaire about the readings. Completion of this form is a requirement for course credit.


Tuesday, August 28, 5:30 pm, Vollum Lecture Hall

Organizational meeting for all students and faculty

Due to the Labor Day holiday, Monday sections will meet for the first time on September 10.

Week of September 3

Ayelet Tsabari, The Best Place on Earth

Week of September 10

Svetlana Alexievich, Voices from Chernobyl

Week of September 17

Amitav Ghosh, The Great Derangement

Week of September 24

Barbara Demick, Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea

Week of October 1

Alexander Chee, How to Write an Autobiographical Novel

Week of October 8

David France, How to Survive a Plague

Week of October 15 – fall break

Week of October 22

Claudia Rankin, Citizen

Week of October 29

Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow

Week of November 5

Arlie Russell Hochschild, Strangers in their Own Land

Week of November 12

Peter Rock, My Abandonment

Week of November 19

Only Monday sections meet.

Week of November 26

Thi, Bui, The Best We Could Do