An essential component of the Humanities Scholars Program is the series of seminars students take from Dietrich College faculty who are outstanding scholars in their respective fields. For the first two years of the program scholars take one class per semester together, designed for them by faculty.
Years One & Two: The HSP Seminars
These courses are content rich: Dietrich faculty can use the HSP classes as a means to explore new research interests or exploit their expertise in a particular topic. In addition, the program is designed to expose students to four analytical strategies in the humanities.
A survey, as it name implies, takes a wide analytical stance, approaching a topic from many different disciplinary viewpoints and frequently examines that topic across time and cultures.
In contrast, a case study examines one topic intensively. This may be a person’s work, a biography itself, an incident or a particular topic or analytical conundrum within a field.
Much interdisciplinary work in the humanities takes advantage of a comparative approach whereby an idea is approached from at least two different analytical vantage points. Each discipline necessarily has its own timeline, logic, and methods; comparative work can expose gaps in the analytical landscape or lead to new interpretations that combine the analytical rigor of separate fields.
Scholars are exposed to the process by which new fields evolve by exploring New Directions in the Humanities. Thanks to a generous grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, the HSP hosts a postdoctoral fellow with the Humanities Center who has recently made significant contributions to existing scholarship and who instructs this final seminar.
During their third year there are no required classes in the HSP. Scholars use the time to pursue their own interests, fulfilling requirements for their major or minor, studying abroad, and focusing their analytical skills.
In the final year of the program, scholars complete research for their capstone projects or senior theses within their major program of study. In the spring semester, the HSP students reconvene in a Senior Research seminar, where they now benefit from intellectual relationships that have spanned their undergraduate careers. Addressing their topics from multiple interdisciplinary standpoints, students complete selected readings, review each other’s work, and foster its completion. This class gives scholars the opportunity to discuss ideas and showcase their developed talents in addressing their topics of choice from multiple interdisciplinary standpoints.