'HUM sequence' covers 2,500 years of civilization
2,500 years. 12 professors. One yearlong course. No smartphones.
Digging deep into ancient texts — the book kind — at a clip of 250+ pages a week your very first semester in college may sound daunting. But students in Princeton's yearlong humanities sequence for freshmen find that the unique structure of this supercourse creates a powerful bridge between past and present, illuminating pathways to help them become curious thinkers for life.
"The humanities sequence is a yearlong introduction to the toolkit that you need to understand the building blocks of Western European tradition," said Denis Feeney, the Giger Professor of Latin, professor of classics and chair of the Council of the Humanities. "We begin with Homer in the first semester, and we end with Dante at the end of the first semester, and then we pick up at the beginning of the second semester with Petrarch and carry through to Virginia Woolf."
Students may enroll in one or both semesters of the humanities sequence, called the HUM sequence for short. Each semester — which counts as two courses — includes three 50-minute lectures and two 80-minute precepts a week. Students can also take additional courses to earn a certificate in humanistic studies. The Council of the Humanities also offers a yearlong, team-taught East Asian Humanities Sequence — an introduction to the literature, art, religion and philosophy of China, Japan and Korea from antiquity to the contemporary, including film and media.
The course is team-taught by professors from a variety of academic disciplines — ranging across literature, history, religion, music, philosophy, archaeology and art history — who each attend the lectures and lead their own precepts. This enables freshmen to get to know distinguished senior faculty beginning their very first semester at Princeton.
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