Course Descriptions

Master of Arts in the Humanities - Course Descriptions

Courses: Core | Thematic | Capstone

The HUX MA Program requires 30 credit units to complete, or about ten classes. 

Courses are offered year-round in 15-week trimesters. You receive course guides and order textbooks. Assignments consist of essays sent by mail or email. Interact with your instructor and receive feedback on assignments via telephone, email, and regular mail.

Core Courses (6) 

During the first semester of the program, students will take two required courses that help establish the scope of the humanities as a constellation of diverse academic and creative disciplines, while preparing students to write at a graduate level.  

HUX 506: Introduction to Humanities Thought and Practice (3) 

Introduction to the Humanities is one of the three Master of Humanities core courses in the HUX Program. It provides a non-comprehensive overview of human culture, particularly literature, history, music and philosophy, with an emphasis on diverse cultural and national traditions as well as social justice and morality. 

HUX 507: Introduction to Graduate Writing in the Humanities (3) 

This course will teach students how to communicate in the humanities through academic writing that is supported by primary and secondary sources. Students will explore a variety of subjects, including art, gender, labor, music, and race, to understand the humanities. 

Thematic Blocks (21) 

In the spring, students will select classes in one of the following “blocks.” Each block presents four or more different courses that approach a common theme from multiple disciplinary and subject matter perspectives. Students must complete four classes within a single block, as well as three other classes in one or more of the other available blocks. Students will complete a capstone project, generally during the second semester of their second year, or upon the completion of at least 21 units. 

Perspectives on Punishment (Block A) 

HUX 525: Philosophy of Punishment (3) 

This course explores the theme of incarceration, including its historical roots, within advanced capitalist societies. We will study the writings of Foucault, Bentham, Gramsci, and other prominent commentators who focus critically on incarceration and living in a carceral society. 

HUX 526: Popular Culture of Punishment (3) 

Students will reflect on an array of media sources to more deeply and critically understand popular culture’s engagement with criminality and the justice system and to think about popular culture as a possible resource for criminal justice reform. 

HUX 527: History of Punishment (3) 

Covers the history of punishment in the United States from the 17th century through the present. Emphasizes historiography and the interconnection of different historical narratives and variables in creating the modern penal system.  

HUX 528: Modern Discipline (3) 

This course explores the contemporary manifestations of discipline through an interrogation of the diffuse nature of power. The interdisciplinary humanities texts here offer a reflection on the origins of disciplinary relationality (between the state, sovereign, and subject) and how their evolving relations are revealed in technologies of surveillance and security.  

Abolition and Liberation (Block B) 

HUX 533: Prisoner Movement and Theory (3) 

An in-depth study of transnational social justice-oriented prisoner movements. All assigned texts are written by incarcerated or formerly incarcerated peoples. Students will consider systemic roots of carceral violence while studying how incarcerated peoples have resisted and strategized for abolition. 

HUX 534: Race, Class, and Gender in Prison and Punishment (3) 

Modeled after the traditional Ethnic Studies and Women's Studies course, this course offers an intersectional analysis of the law, policing, incarceration, and their function in stifling marginalized people from building together. 

HUX 535: Criminalization and Abolition (3) 

This course offers a historical perspective on the fluidity of criminalization and how it coalesces around specific bodies at different times to justify oppressive systems from colonization to gentrification. 

HUX 536: Abolitionist Futures (3) 

This course teases out the differences between liberal reform and abolition of prisons while exploring transformative justice, mutual aid, and how people are already working to eliminate the prison industrial complex. 

Religion, Morality, and Spirituality (Block C) 

HUX 541: The Rational Perspective (3) 

The meaning of rationality from the perspectives of philosophy, history, literature, music and art. Special emphasis on the possible differences between scientific and humanistic rationality. 

HUX 542: The Para-Rational Perspective (3) 

Interdisciplinary exploration of non-rational alternatives in modern culture, focusing on the non-logical, the visionary, and the religious/mystical. 

HUX 547: World Religious Perspectives (3) 

Survey of ancient and modern religious systems, focusing upon an exploration of the general characteristics of religious beliefs. 

HUX 548: Values and Morality in Twentieth-Century Thought (3) 

An examination of values and morality in modern culture against a backdrop of seemingly amoral scientific and technological progress. 

HUX 572: Key Periods and Movements, Philosophy: The Biblical Movement (3

An examination of modern scholarship on the Bible and it impact on Christianity; analysis of three types of Bible interpretation: fundamentalism, liberalism, and humanism. 

HUX 579: The Arab World: 600 AD to Present (3) 

Political and cultural history of the Arab World from the 7th century to the present. Consideration of historiographic problems such as the "Great Man," cycles, and the influence of ideas on events. 

Expanding Horizons (Block D) 

HUX 521: Humanities Encounter: The Living Theater (3) 

How to recognize, appreciate and evaluate a variety of dramatic experiences. Requires extensive notebook of descriptions and analyses of eight different types of theatrical performances. 

HUX 522: Humanities Encounter: Concert Music (3) 

Attendance and analysis of several concerts representing the general categories of symphonic, vocal and chamber music. Critical reviews required for each of six musical encounters. 

HUX 524: Humanities Encounter: Film (3) 

Watching and analyzing several movies with special focus on the techniques and content of the medium. Requires extensive notebook of descriptions and analyses of eight different film experiences. 

HUX 545: The Non-Western World (3) 

Interdisciplinary examination of the non-western world by focusing on cultural characteristics of China and Japan. 

HUX 556: Nobel Laureates: Studies in Modern World Literature (3) 

An examination of representative major works by recent Nobel Laureates whose art epitomizes diverse cultural, literary, and social viewpoints. Authors include Mann, Pirandello, Camus, Kawabata, Solzhenitsyn, Neruda, and Bellow. 

HUX 570: Key Movements and Periods, Art: Contemporary (3) 

Exploration of the complex cultural development known as modern art by investigation of six major artistic movements: Cubism, Expressionism, Dada/Surrealism, Pop Art, Conceptual Art and Technological Art. 

Urban Development (Block E) 

HUX 537: The Industrial City (3) 

An interdisciplinary study of cities in the United States from 1880-1920s, with a focus on the history, literature, art, and social movements of the time period. Topics include poverty, housing, labor, and legal reform, and the start of urban planning.  

HUX 538: Housing Discrimination (3) 

This course explores the settler colonial and racial capitalist roots of the U.S. housing market. Students will explore historical and contemporary housing policies and practices, examine empirical data on communities, and imagine how we can build an equitable housing market. 

HUX 539: Creating Communities (3) 

This course critically assesses the role of urban planning in shaping communities. Students will examine how the regulation of the use of space impacts community formation and inequality, and how it can be used to create more equitable cities. 

HUX 582: History Seminar (3) 

Students will learn and use historical practicum skills, including the proper use of primary sources and secondary source texts, to improve their understanding, to create sound argument, and to communicate thoughtfully about the past. 

HUX 586: Seminar in Philosophy (3) 

This course proceeds from the background established in HUX 516, focusing in closer detail on the philosophical aspects of the cohort theme. Students will confront fundamental philosophical issues such as: the nature of human existence, the possibilities and limits of knowledge, social, political, and ethical responsibility, and human flourishing. By understanding and evaluating a range of philosophical positions and arguments, students will work toward coherent philosophical positions of their own.  

Capstone Experience (3) 

HUX 590: Capstone Experience 

This course is designed to enable students to demonstrate the integration of knowledge from various fields in the Humanities. In addition, the course launches students into their larger communities and offers them a deeper knowledge about the connection between systems of oppression, incarceration and societal re-entry. This course is taken in the student's final semester. 

HUX 600: Graduate Continuation Course (0) 

Graduate students in the thesis track, who have completed their course work but not their thesis, or who have other requirements remaining for the completion of their degree, must maintain continuous attendance by enrolling in this course. May be taken a maximum of three times.

↑ Back to Top