Arts and Ideas in the Humanities

A Residential College Major

Major Requirements

Requirements for the major are grouped into three categories:
• History and Theory
• Visual Studies, Performance and Studio Arts
• Specialized Study.


John Singer Sargent
Spanish Fountain, after 1902
Metropolitain Museum of Art,
New York City 

I. History and Theory:

Students work in two areas: (A) Historical Perspectives and (B) Issues of Modernity. They must take 2 courses in one area and 1 in the remaining area:

A. Historical Perspectives

  • HUMS 309 Classical Sources of Modern Culture: The Heritage of Greece
  • HUMS 310 Pagans, Christians, and Barbarians in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages
  • HUMS 315 Representations of History in the Literature and Visual Arts of Rome
  • HUMS 314 The Figure of Rome in Shakespeare and 16th Century Painting
  • HUMS 344 Reason and Passion in 18th Century Europe
  • HUMS 354 Race and Identity in Music
  • HUMS 373 The Performing Arts in South and Southeast Asia

B. Issues of Modernity

  • HUMS 291 Arts and Ideas of the 19th Century
  • HUMS 290 Arts and Ideas of the 20th Century
  • HUMS 305 Cultural Confrontations in the Arts
  • HUMS 308 Arts and Ideas of Modern South and Southeast Asia
  • HUMS 318 Critical Approaches to Literature
  • HUMS 342 Representations of the Holocaust in Literature, the Visual Arts, and Film
  • HUMS 356 The Symphonic Century: Music and Revolution in the 19th Century
  • HUMS 372 The Subject in the Aftermath of Revolution

Max Beckmann
Acrobat on the Trapeze, 1940
The Saint Louis Art Museum


II. Visual Studies, Performance, and Studio Arts:

Students select a total of 2 courses:

A. Film/Video

  • HUMS 236 Art of the Film
  • HUMS 312 Central European Cinema
  • HUMS 313 Russian and Ukrainian Cinema

B. Dance

  • HUMS 235 Topics in World Dance
  • HUMS 260 The Art of Dance: An Introduction to American and European Dance History
  • HUMS 444: From the Mariinsky to Manhattan: George Balanchine and the Transformation of American Dance

C. Studio Arts

  • ARTS 268 Introduction to Visual Thinking and Creativity
  • ARTS 269 Elements of Design
  • ARTS 285 Photography
  • ARTS 286 Sculpture
  • ARTS 287 Printmaking
  • ARTS 288 Introduction to Drawing
  • ARTS 289 Ceramics

D. Music

  • HUMS 249 Foundations of Music
  • HUMS 250 Chamber Music
  • HUMS 251 Topics in Music
  • HUMS 252 Topics in Musical Expression
  • HUMS 253 Choral Ensemble
  • HUMS 256 Studying and Playing Southeast Asian Music
  • HUMS 258 Afro-Cuban Drumming Styles
  • HUMS 259 Musical Improvisation
  • HUMS 350 Creative Musicianship
  • HUMS 351 Creative Musicianship: Theory Lab
  • HUMS 352 Found Instruments


III. Specialized Study

Students who major in Arts and Ideas in the Humanities are expected to elect seven courses divided (4+3) among two upper-level specializations. This requirement provides the opportunity of pursuing sustained study in relevant disciplinary or interdisciplinary areas as well as, possibly, in the advanced practice of a particular art form. Thus, the specializations may be in critical, historical, or theoretical courses of study offered by other departments and programs, whether in the Residential College or in the LS&A (for example, in a particular literature, art history, history, anthropology, psychology, philosophy, religion, women's studies, African and African-American studies) or in the practice of a specific art form (including studio arts such as painting, sculpture, photography, drawing, printmaking or design, as well as other arts such as creative writing, theater, music, dance or video and film making). However, no more than one of the two specializations may be in the practice of an art form.

Cy Twombly
Untitled 1968
Museum of Art,
Rhode Island School of Design