schedule (draft summer 2021)

This page is a work in progress for the 2021-22 course schedule.

For the archived courses from the last few years, see the resources tab.

The Humanities program receives substantial programming support from the Bacca Foundation and from the Warren and Catherine Cox Endowment in the Humanities, established by Warren M. Cox, Jr., Davidson College Class of 1924, and his wife Catherine Cox Gaither, to provide support for the Humanities Program.
In addition, the Humanities Program receives support from the Epes Distinguished Lectureship in the Humanities, which provides substantial support for a visiting distinguished public intellectual or scholar to visit the course and give a public lecture related to the course each year.

The theme for the course for 2020-2023 is The Body

[below this line is work in progress June through August 2021 -SD]

[arrange in new order -SD]

Unit 1 — Professor Robb
Unit 2 (part 1, part 2)— Professor Green
Unit 3 — Professor Fache
Unit 4 — Professor Tamura
Unit 5 — Professor Bory
Unit 6 — Professor Luis
Unit 7 — Professor Wills
Unit 8 — Professor Boyer

Unit 1 — Professor Robb

sketch of the duck-rabbit illusion, with German text "Which of these animals resemble each other the most? Rabbit and duck.
Original duck-rabbit, German text “Which of these animals resemble each other the most? Rabbit and duck.” (1892)

What is truth? What is knowledge? Is there an objective world independent of us, or is reality subjective, constructed by our various experiences? We look at these questions with a special focus on conceptual schemes. These are ways of thinking that tell us how to categorize objects, interpret experiences, and ask questions. Conceptual schemes are indispensable in the humanities, sciences, and everyday life, but their influence on knowledge and experience is often hidden from us.

Unit 1.1.
Thursday 20 August — synchronous here (and recorded)

What is truth? Objective vs. constructed facts.
Plenary, breakout groups, plenary chat and Q&A.
No readings to prepare. But see Prof. Robb’s posts in our #courseannouncements slack channel: (1) introduction to the unit and (2) Session 1!

Unit 1.2. — asynchronous

What is knowledge? Cartesian vs. Lockean standards for justification
Read: Appiah, “Knowledge”, pp. 39-61 (PDF)
Prepare: annotations of Appiah. (See our how-to video on annotating a pdf here. This video assumes you already have a account and have already installed it on chrome.)
View (optional): The Matrix (dir. the Wachoski siblings, 1999); view on Swank here

Unit 1.3.
Tuesday 25 August — synchronous here (and recorded)

What are conceptual schemes? Truth, knowledge, and conceptual schemes
Mini-lectures, breakout group, plenary chat Q&A
Read: Westacott, “Cognitive Relativism” (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, online)
Prepare: Hypothesis annotations of  Westacott
Read (optional): James, Pragmatism, Lecture VII (PDF)

Unit 1.4.
Thursday 27 August— synchronous in your professor’s section (not recorded); check your section’s slack channel for the zoom invitation

When alternative conceptual schemes meet
View: Baldwin-Buckley debate (YouTube)
Read: Snow, “Two cultures” (PDF)
Read (optional): James Baldwin, “The American Dream and the American Negro” (PDF).
Prepare: Slack posts for both in your section’s slack channel

Unit 1.5. — asynchronous

An idealist conceptual scheme
Read: Borges, “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius” (PDF) and Plato, The Allegory of the Cave (PDF)
Prepare: Slack post in the channel for this day. See Prof. Robb’s detailed assignment in slack, as usual.


Unit 1.6.
Tuesday 1 September— synchronous here (and recorded)

Plenary Panel with Professors Marija Jankovic, Amanda Ewington, Scott Denham “On Translation”
View: Arrival (Swank)
Prepare: notes on Arrival in your red notebook
Read (optional): Chiang, “Story of Your Life” (PDF)
Prof. Robb and a fellow moderate questions posted in the live chat during panel


Unit 1.7.
Thursday 3 September — synchronous in sections, led by fellows; check your section channel for the zoom address (not recorded)

Read: Frankfurt, “On Bullshit”(PDF)
Prepare: Slack posts for Frankfurt in your section’s slack channel.
Read (optional): Cohen, “Deeper into Bullshit” (PDF)

Unit 1.8 — asynchronous

Free speech, falsehood, and fake news
Read: Mathiesen, “Fake News and the Limits of Freedom of Speech” (PDF)
prepare: Hypothesis annotations of Mathiesen
Read (optional): Mill, On Liberty, ch. 2 (PDF) and Daniel Layman, “Fake News”

Unit 1.9
Tuesday 8 September— synchronous here (and recorded)

Recap of unit
Some (epistemic) advice for the post-truth era
View: “After Truth”, HBO documentary (Films on Demand, online, this takes you to the library page, then click Films on Demand to access the film through NCLive. You’ll need to log in with your Davidson credentials).
View: Adichie, “The danger of a single story” (TED Talk, online)
Prepare: Slack post on both
Read (optional): Bourdy and Braeckman, “How convenient! The epistemic rationale of self-validating belief systems”


Writing in the Humanities Course
Thursday 10 September — synchronous in plenary here (recorded)

Prof. Denham will present and discuss
• paper 1 (due 11 October)
• Davidson Domains and portfolios (begin next week, ongoing throughout the year)
• campus commentaries (ongoing throughout the year)
• writing for self-assessment (due 11 October)
• writing in your red notebooks
and answer any questions about those kinds of writing.

Unit 2 (part 1) Professor Green

Sharon Green (Theatre)
artifact for this unit will be revealed!
for now, ahem, think about this

Rodin's sculpture The Thinker viewed from the front left below with a clear blue sky and the top of the Musee Rodin building in the background
Le Penseur / The Thinker, by Auguste Rodin (1903)

How can theatre and performance participate in struggles for a more just world? How can the body in performance be the site for explorations of systems of oppression? Looking at various theatrical genres and artists we’ll explore techniques for generating community dialogue and engagement around issues of social and political urgency. Specifically, we’ll explore the work of theatre artists who are using their craft to fight for racial equity and against anti-blackness, including Anna Deavere Smith and Dominique Morisseau.

Unit 2.1. — asynchronous: do this by Sunday night, 13 September

Read: Jan Cohen-Cruz and Mady Schutzman, “A Concise Introduction to Augusto Boal” in Digital Theatre + here (PDF here)
Read: excerpt from Boal, Theatre of the Oppressed (p. 120-127) (PDF here)
Watch Prof. Green’s introductory video

Unit 2.2. — synchronous in four separate group sessions (not recorded)
Sign up for one of the sessions below in the sheet linked here. There are a maximum of 20 spots in each session. (19 or 20 Humesters, 3 fall fellows in each session); first come, first served.

NOTE: These sessions will start promptly on time and admit no latecomers. There will be a waiting room that will close after the session begins.
Arrive five minutes early to be admitted to the session.

View: Prof. Green’s introductory video, here.
Prepare: Do the readings in 2.1. before viewing the intro video.

Monday 14 September 11:45am -1:00pm — group 1 synchronous here (not recorded)
Monday 14 September 7:00 – 8:15pm — group 2 synchronous here (not recorded)
Tuesday 15 September 9:50am – 11:05am — group 3 synchronous here (not recorded)
Wednesday 16 September 4:00pm – 5:15pm — group 4 synchronous here (not recorded)

Unit 2.3.
Thursday 17 September — in discussion sections
For class: the first half of the section meeting with fellows (specific brainstorming assignment will be sent); second half with faculty for discussion of process.

Read: Boal, in Theatre of the Oppressed (PDF here), p. 139-147 (from section that starts “Forum Theatre” through the end of section on “Invisible Theatre”). Notes for yourself on this reading in your red notebooks. (This is always the plan if there is not post or annotation assignment.)


Unit 3 Professor Fache

Caroline Fache (Bacca Professor in the Humanities, French & Francophone Studies)

artifact for this unit

Beyoncé and Jay-Z standing in front of the Mona Lisa in teh Louvre, both looking at the camera
The Carters, still image from the “APES**T” video (2018)

Three Black Venuses.

“Why Are Black Women and Girls Still an Afterthought in Our Outrage Over Police Violence?”* In this unit, we will ask: “How is it so, when black women and girls are systematically essentialized and sexualized in Western culture?” Why do their bodies matter, or not matter, whenever it is convenient for the white gaze? Around three major black women figures, Saartje Baartman/Hottentot Venus, Josephine Baker/Black/Bronze Venus, & Beyoncé/Queen Bey, we will examine how the Western (white) gaze captures black women, imposes itself onto them, and tries to define and “other” them.  And we will examine how these women disrupt and push back against domination and subjugation.
*Cooper, Brittney. “Why Are Black Women and Girls Still an Afterthought in Our Outrage Over Police Violence?” Time. Accessed June 10, 2020:

Questions to ask yourselves during this unit:

What do we know [about black bodies]?
How do we know what we know [about black bodies]?
Why do we know what we know [about black bodies]?

How did the West come to think of black bodies the way they did?
What are the long-term implications of that perception/image?
How is the narrative around black bodies reverted, subverted? By who?

All reading materials will be available online, linked below as usual.

To view and hear Beyoncé’s Lemonade please click on the Vimeo link here.
To listen to the Dissect podcast on Lemonade please visit iTunes or Spotify (here’s the link to episode 1 on spotify). Dissect podcast’s visual guide materials for Lemonade are here.
A playlist named: The Body – Humes 2020-21 is also available in Spotify for your listening pleasure.

Week 1: Sara Baartman (1798-1815), “Hottentot Venus”

Unit 3.1
Tuesday 22 September—synchronous in plenary here
Controlling Black Bodies: the Black Code

Read: (all readings not linked directly are in the drive folder here)
• The Black Code (Louisiana Creoles) / French Colonial Politics. See the original document here; read the “Code Noir” (1685), translated by John Garrigus (p. 1-6).
• William Renwick Riddell. “Le Code Noir.” The Journal of Negro History, vol. 10, no. 3, 1925, pp. 321–329.
• Hartman, Saidiya. “Venus in Two Acts.” Small Axe: a Journal of Criticism, 2008, Vol.12 (2), pp.1-14.
Optional reading:
• Everett, Donald E. “Free Persons of Color in Colonial Louisiana.” Louisiana History: The Journal of the Louisiana Historical Association, Vol. 7, No. 1 (Winter, 1966), pp. 21-50.

• Annotate with “Code Noir” translated by John Garrigus (p 1-6).
• Pay attention to specific mention of Louisiana when you read Riddell; notes in your red notebook on this..
• Post in the slack thread for this day: Think about connections between the “Code Noir” and the body. How are these two elements connected? What are the implications on the lives of the code’s subjects? What are the long term embodied experiences and the legacy of this code? Please inform your responses with your reading of William Renwick Riddell’s article.
• Post in the second slack thread for this day: After Reading Hartman’s “Venus in Two Acts,” answer the following questions (please elaborate): who is (the) Black Venus(e)? Why is it so hard to tell her story? What are some strategies to try to tell her story? Please elaborate.

Unit 3.2.
Thursday 24 September—Synchronous in discussion sections

The black body, exploitation and human dignity
Abdellatif Kechiche: Black Venus. 2010. Paris: MK2. (2 hours 46 minutes)
Note: the movie contains graphic nudity, and physical and sexual violence.
Take notes in your redbook:
a) while watching the movie, about truth, facts, lies, representations, human dignity, the body;
b) please pay attention to and take a few notes on what the camera watches, or wants you to watch/see? Are there characters, places, various elements on which the camera insists or lingers?
c) please watch the credits of the movie. The director inserted some extra footage. Watch carefully and take notes: why is that footage present? To what end?

If reading a film closely is new for you, please see the how to watch a movie tips under the resources tab.

Friday 25 September paper 1 draft 1 due

Unit 3.3.— asynchronous

The black body, exploitation and human dignity
• Sadiah Qureshi. “Displaying Sara Baartman, the ‘Hottentot Venus.’” London, England: SAGE Publications. History of Science, 2004-06, Vol.42 (2), p.233-257.
• Sojourner Truth. “Ain’t I a woman?” June 21, 1851.
• Pascal Blanchard, Nicolas Bancel, and Sandrine Lemaire. “From Human Zoos to Colonial Apotheoses: the Era of Exhibiting the Other,Africultures (30 November 2001).

Prepare: both are equally important
1. Academic post in the slack channel on/about human dignity and how the texts you read address and engage with that issue? What about the lived and embodied experience of the black person?
2. Non-academic post in your redbook: in a few sentences, tell us about your visceral reaction to all we’ve discussed and seen. Tell us what you find disgusting, fascinating, embarrassing, uncomfortable. You will not post your responses in slack but please bring your redbook to class to discuss your thoughts about the despicable. This is a difficult exercise and conversation we must have.

paper 1 draft 1 meetings this week

Week 2: Josephine Baker: the First Black Superstar

Unit 3.4.
Tuesday 29 September

Read and view:
• Arlisha R. Norwood’s very short biography of Josephine Baker at the National Museum of Women’s History site.
Joséphine Baker: The 1st Black Superstar. Forget About It Film & TV, for BBC Wales. 2006. Narrated by Josette Simon. Directed by Suzanne Phillips. (59 min.)
Optional reading:
• Alicja Sowinska. “Dialectics of the Banana Skirt: The Ambiguities of Josephine Bakers’ Self-Representation.” Bodies: Physical and Abstract: vol 19, Fall 2005-Spring 2006.

Find: 2-3 pictures or drawings of Josephine Baker that you find iconic, in your redbook, write down the source, title and photographer/artist and explain what you see and why these images are iconic.
Post: in the slack channel for this day, comment on how Josephine Baker used her body. What was her agenda, if you can identify one? Please elaborate.

Unit 3.5.
Thursday 1 October

Josephine Baker: an icon in the negrophilia era


• Petrine Archer-Straw. “Packaging the Primitive,” Negrophilia: Avant-garde Paris and Black Culture in the 1920s. p. 23-49.
• Anne Anlin Cheng: “Ethical Looking,” Second Skin: Josephine Baker and the Modern Surface, pages 165-173. Ebook with the chapter in context here. PDF in the readings folder.

Prepare: In the slack channel for the day, According to what you have read, how is Josephine Baker body consumed by the white gaze? How/when does her body become visible? What does it mean for other black women’s bodies?

SUNDAY 4 october paper 1 draft 2 due

Unit 3.6.— asynchronous

The colonial agenda: dehumanizing the Black Body

• Fanon, Franz.“The Fact of Blackness,” in Black Skin White Masks. New ed. London: Pluto Press. 2008. pp.82-108. (ebook); pdf of this chapter only in the readings folder.
• Césaire, Aimé. Discourse on Colonialism. New York: Monthly Review Press. 2000. pp. 29-78, ebook here. As a pdf in the readings folder.
In 250-500 words for each text in the slack channel, please explain Fanon’s and Césaire’s article using Sara Baartman’s or Josephine Baker’s examples. You may use both Venuses for each article or one per article.

paper 1 draft 2 meetings this week


Week three: Beyoncé (September 4, 1981 – ), “Queen Bey”

Unit 3.7.
Tuesday 6 October — Synchronous

View, listen: Beyoncé. Lemonade. 2016. Full video album here on vimeo. (65 min.)
Listen: Cole Kuchna. Dissect. “Lemonade.” Episode #1. (46 min.)
To listen to the Dissect podcast on Lemonade please visit iTunes or Spotify (here’s the link to episode 1 on spotify). Dissect podcast’s visual guide materials for Lemonade are here.
Optional reading: Hartmann, Johanna. “Sound, Vision, and Embodied Performativity in Beyoncé Knowles’ Visual Albulm Lemonade (2016).” European journal of American studies, 12-4 (2017). Open access online here. PDF in the readings folder.

Prepare: know the material; notes in your red notebooks as always.

Unit 3.8.
Thursday 8 October — Synchronous in sections

Lemonade & Apeshit

Listen: Any 2 episodes of the Dissect podcast (approx. 2 hours)

Work: Take notes on the podcast episodes you have listened to. With your partner, write up a 150-word summary, that you will present to your group during class.

Finale: with your section, you will work toward presenting the song which, in your concerted opinion best represents the theme of our course and should become the Humes anthem for 2020. You will start your presentation during class on Thursday morning and finish in the afternoon. (Details to follow.)

Unit 3.9 — Asynchronous

A Humes anthem?
• Morrison, Toni. “Preface,” “Black Matters.” Playing in the Dark, Whiteness and the Literary Imagination. 1992. New York: Vintage Books. pp. v.-xiii. & 3-28.

Prepare: post in the slack channel for this unit: How does Beyoncé’s work engage with Morrison’s ideas in “Black Matters”?

Present on video:
Final “3 Black Venuses” project: Humes’ anthem
With your entire section, following the morning session on Thursday, October 8, you will work collectively to create a pitch to “win” the most votes for the song your section chose to become this year’s Humes anthem.
Your pitch is a convincing and energetic presentation that explains why/how your song is the best anthem for Humes and its theme this year, and must contain the following:
·     A “recorded” video or multimedia presentation
·     4-minutes max
·     Every voice in the group must be heard
·     Create a physical “tableau” or image using elements of Prof. Green’s workshop (it can be using your bodies to express an emotion, a work, etc.)
Your recorded pitch is due in Slack on Saturday, October 10 at 6:00 p.m. at the latest.

updated schedule for Student Day Off

NEW: sunday 11 october paper 1 final version due

NEW: Monday 13 october 6:00pm unit 3 final project due

NEW: Wednesday 15 October — fall midpoint self-assessment due


Unit 2 Professor Green (continued)

illustration of two scuptures on pedestals in a gallery. Rodin's Thinker and a similar pose of Colin Kaepernik, both in profile. The Kaepernick sculpture casts a shadow of the body on a US flag hanging on the wall.
Otto Steininger, “Racism in America” (2020)
paper 1 assessment meetings with your round 1 faculty member this week

fall midpoint self-assessment meetings with prof. denham this week and next week

Unit 2.4 — Sarah Bellamy — synchronous
Tuesday 13 October
Epes Distinguished Lecturer in the Humanities Sarah Bellamy

Sarah Bellamy will come to class in the morning plenary in Scott Denham’s room.
August Wilson, “The Ground on Which I Stand”
Sarah Bellamy, “Performing Whiteness” (pdf); original here on the web
• about Penumbra, where Sarah Bellamy was Artistic Director and is now a leader of Penumbra’s new initiative, The Center for Racial Healing
Prepare: What questions would you ask Sarah Bellamy if you could? Post a question in the slack for this day you’d like to pose to Sarah Bellamy — especially about her work, career, artistic development, and current commitments.

There will be an evening public lecture (required for Humesters) at 7:00pm; zoom link TBA. Preregistration required. Meg will send details. (There will be an archival recording available only for Humesters who were unable to join the live lecture. Send requests for access in a slack DM to Scott.)

Thursday 15 October
No Class. Rest day.

Unit 2.5. — asynchronous

View: Anna Deavere Smith, Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 (1 hour 27 minutes)

Unit 2.6.— synchronous in sections (not recorded)
Tuesday 20 October

Xavier Lemoine, Embodying Hybridity: Anna Deavere Smith’s Identity Cross-Overs
Vinson Cunningham, “The Urgency of Anna Deavere Smith’s ‘Twilight: Los Angeles’
Prepare: Notes in your red notebooks. Prof. Green will provide details in slack.

Unit 2.7. — synchronous in sections (not recorded)
Thursday 22 October

Read: The report from the Davidson College Commission on Race & Slavery.
Prepare: Circle or underline any sentences, words, ideas that really “pop” for you in the report – don’t do this on hypothesis, just privately, in your red notebooks. It might be the idea that pops for you, it might be the words used, you don’t need to justify or explain your choices.
View: Aleshea Harris, “This Fine Suit” (20 minutes – only watch until the end of her poem).
View: Your fellows and faculty section leaders will choose one of these two Anna Deavere Smith performances to watch: Fires in the Mirror or Notes from the Field.
Prepare: Juxtaposition — putting contrasting viewpoints, experiences, or ideologies next to each other — is a key element of Smith’s artistry. Discuss one example of this from the performance your section chose to watch, and dig deep into thinking about the effect it has on you. Post on Slack.

Unit 2.7 — asynchronous

Read: by Sunday night Dominique Morisseau, Pipeline (text).
View: Alice Goffman’s Ted Talk on School to Prison Pipeline (15 minutes).
Prepare: Pose questions in your red notebook about the staging of Pipeline. Are there specific scenes that confused you as you read? Are there some scenes that seem difficult to visualize? Make notes about why in your red book.

View: optional live performance viewing (this is a rare opportunity!)
Atlantic Theater Company Reunion Reading Series: Skeleton Crew by Dominique Morisseau Directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson. Get a ticket here. (They are free. No obligation, but if you can add a donation to help pay for the arts, that’s great!)

In MacArthur Genius Grant recipient Dominique Morisseau’s third and final play in her Detroit trilogy, a makeshift family of workers at the last exporting auto plant in the city navigate the possibility of foreclosure. Power dynamics shift, and they are pushed to the limits of survival. When the line between blue collar and white collar gets blurred, how far over the lines are they willing to step?
Skeleton Crew had its critically-acclaimed world premiere at Atlantic Stage 2 during our 2015|2016 season, transferring to our Linda Gross Theater later that season for an extended run due to popular demand! It won the Audelco Award for “Dramatic Production of the Year,” and it has regularly landed on the annual list of The Top 10 Most Produced Plays in America. Featuring original cast members Jason Dirden, Wendell B. Franklin, Nikiya Mathis and Adesola Osakulumi, along with Caroline Clay.

Unit 2.8 — synchronous in sections (not recorded)
Tuesday 27 October

View: Dominique Morisseau, Pipeline (video of a performance).
Prepare: Looking back at the questions you posed in your notebook about staging, now take notes on one specific scene that was clarified when you saw it in performance. This will be part of our discussion, so don’t post yet.

Unit 2.9. — synchronous
Thursday 29 October

In sections: rehearse your documentary theatre pieces.
Details to come.

End of unit 2.

Tuesday 3 November — no class on election day

Carol Quillen says "VOTE" on twitter

Unit 4 Professor Tamura

Yurika Tamura (Gender & Sexuality Studies)
In this unit, we will think how to write about the body with awareness for social justice. The body can be an archive, a site of terror and control, and also a material for empathy. As we read accounts of the Rwandan genocide and other forms of racialized violence, we will attempt to implicate ourselves in the reading and writing of those incidents, as witnesses, as contestants, and as co-humans. The students will participate in the lectures and discussions with their own writing pieces. In a way, our primary text for this unit is your own writing. 

(Readings for the unit are linked and in the Tamura readings folder here.)

screenshot of this text: In the terrible years of the Yezhov terror I spent seventeen months waiting in line outside the prison in Leningrad. One day somebody in the crowd identified me. Standing behind me was a woman, with lips blue from the cold, who had, of course, never heard me called by name before. Now she started out of the torpor common to us all and asked me in a whisper (everyone whispered there): “Can you describe this?” And I said: “I can.” Then something like a smile passed fleetingly over what had once been her face.
Anna Akhmatova, from “Requiem”


pile of machetes
As the vanquished Hutus fled into Tanzania, they had to leave at the border the weapons with which they had committed the genocide, Rwanda, 1994. James Nachtwey for TIME.

Unit 4.1.
Thursday 5 November — synchronous

The Archive

Librarians presentation of “the Archive” as an imperial system.
• Safiya Umoja Noble, “Introduction: The Power of Algorithms” in Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism
• George Saunders, “A Letter To My Students As We Face the Pandemic” (web, pdf).

Unit 4.2 — asynchronous

• Diana Taylor, excerpt from The Archive and the Repertoire: Performing Cultural Memory in the Americas. (one page excerpt here; optional full chapter in Tamura readings folder)
• Jordan Kisner, “The Artifact” in The Paris Review (February 3, 2020); pdf in the readings folder.

Unit 4 assignment 1 due Saturday, 7 November 5pm. Details in slack #courseannouncements.

Unit 4.3.
Tuesday 10 November — synchronous

• Philip Gourevitch. from We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families : Stories from Rwanda. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1998. Excerpt 1, pages 1-43.
• Susan Sontag, Regarding the Pain of Others 1st ed. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003. Excerpt 1.

Unit 4.4.
Thursday 12 November — synchronous

• Gourevitch, excerpt 2, pages  25-45, 47-63, and 95-6 (one paragraph starting with “Genocide, …”).

Unit 4.5. — asynchronous

• Sontag, from Regarding the Pain of Others, excerpt 2.

View the images Sontag mentions in her essay. (Open in a new tab.)

Unit 4 assignment 2 due Friday 13 November 10pm. Details in slack.


Reminder: Paper 2 draft 2 due Sunday 11pm; see the assignment for details.

Unit 4.6.
Tuesday 17 November — synchronous

• Suheir Hammad. “First Writing Since” (Def Poetry performance here.)
• Gourevitch, 147-154, and 163-171

Unit 4.7.
Thursday 19 November — synchronous

• Gourevitch, excerpt 3, pages pp. 342-353.
• Sontag excerpt 3.
• Anna Akhmatova, Requiem (excerpts and a comment by George Saunders).
The Anderson and Thomas translations of the complete poem and a glossary compiled by Amanda Ewington are in the readings folder.

Unit 4.8. — asynchronous / end-of-semester readings: gifts to you from Professor Tamura

• Cristina Rivera Garza
“The Language of Pain”
Garza also has book from which this essay piece came from, Grieving: Dispatches from a Wounded Country, and also her newest fiction The Taiga Syndrome (if you are interested in a creative fiction that deals with translation) that just came out recently.
Here are some reviews of The Taiga Syndrome at The Dorothy Project.
And if you decide to purchase her books, like Grieving: Dispatches from a Wounded Country, please shop local; you can do that via bookshop here. The owner of Main Street Books in Davidson is the fabulous Adah Fitzgerald, a Davidson graduate and dear friend. If you’re shopping to pick up in Davidson, you can use the portal here.

• Sarita Echaves See, The Decolonized Eye – Filipino American Art and Performance (excerpts)
Sarita Echavez See, “An Open Wound” in The Decolonized Eye: Filipino American Art and Performance.
Sarita Echavez See, “Conclusion: Reanne Estrada, Identity, and the Politics of Abstraction” in The Decolonized Eye: Filipino American Art and Performance.

• Sabrina Orah Mark
A poet who weaves her experience, essay, and fairy tales. These selections discussed in the class are from her short creative/poetic essays in her column she calls “Happily” in The Paris Review:
“The Fairy-Tale Virus” (It collapses in the end.)
“All the Better to Hear You With” (How to end a story that is unending?)

and from Professor Denham

Two autumn poems for you, by Rainer Maria Rilke and Paul Celan, here.

Monday 30 November – Tuesday 8 December
paper 2 due, portfolios in AT and one-on-one meetings
Details here.

Thursday 3 December — synchronous
a conversation with Judith Heumann


Tuesday 8 December — end of the semester

[Since Humes is a full-year course you can put up your practice portfolio on Dec 8 or you can take some more time if you’d like. We would like to begin looking at your practice portfolios on 15 December.]

Tuesday 15 December — practice portfolio due

fall reflective assignment

Though we’d like to have all your formal semester work in by December 8, and assessment meetings with Prof. Denham also by Dec 8, given pandemic time, take until Friday 18 December if needed. Please have your reflective assignment and meeting done before then at the very latest.


winter break

Unit 5 — Professor Bory

Alison Bory (Dance and Gender & Sexuality Studies)
artifact for this unit

How do bodies make meaning? How do we make meaning of other bodies? Considering dance and choreography as modes of cultural and academic discourse, this unit will examine how movement and performance informs our thinking about what bodies can do, what we expect of them, and how we understand them.

All the readings for Unit 5 are in the Bory readings folder here.

Week 1 — Dancing Bodies/Staging Pain

Unit 5.1.
Tuesday 26 January—Synchronous

prepare before class
• Okwui Okpokwasili, Bronx Gothic (available via; for users only)

post to slack
What did I see?
• Try writing an actual description.
• Try writing a poetic description.
What did I feel?
• What in/about this work feels familiar? What feels unfamiliar?

in class
in plenary
• Mini-lecture–What is dance? How might we respond to dance?
in sections
• Welcomes and introductions
• Respond to Okpokwasili

paper 3 topic up

Unit 5.2.
Thursday 28 January—synchronous

prepare before class
• Susan Foster, “Introduction,” Choreographing Empathy

• Ralph Lemon, How Can You Stay in the House All Day and Not Go Anywhere? (available via; users only)

in class
in plenary
• Mini-lecture: Being with Ralph Lemon Watching, Witness, and Walking Out

in sections
• discuss Lemon
• being an audience

Thursday evening 28 January 7:00pm

Dr. Akshay Pendyal “Race, health, and disease: a critical perspective.” Talk and Q&A with Humesters.

Unit 5.3. — Asynchronous

• Katherine Profeta, “Training the Anti-spectacular for Ralph Lemon’s Dance that disappears” in Theater, Dance & Performance Training
• Ryan Platt, “Ralph Lemon and the Language of Loss,” in PAJ: Performing Arts Journal
• Alison Bory, “A Dance After All Hell Broke Loose: Mourning as ‘Quiet’ in Ralph Lemon’s How Can You Stay in the House All Day and Not Go Anywhere?” in Art and Dance in Dialogue: Body, Space, Object

• using (how-to use video here )

post to slack
• create a response with No Form or using The Language of Loss

Week 2 — Dancing Bodies/Virtuosic Bodies/Virtuous Bodies

Unit 5.4.
Tuesday 2 February—synchronous

prepare before class
• Susan Foster, “Dancing Bodies” in Meaning in Motion
• Susan Foster, “Dancing Bodies Addendum, in Theater (2010)

in class
in sections
• Training & Disciplining Systems
in plenary
• Mini-Lecture: Body is Technology: Technique, Discipline, & Virtuosity

Unit 5.5.
Thursday 4 February—synchronous

prepare before class
Still/Here with Bill Moyers (Documentary) available on various sites: here, here, and here.

post to slack
What did I see?
• Try writing an actual description.
• Try writing a poetic description.
What did I feel?
• What in/about this work feels familiar? What feels unfamiliar?

in class
in sections:
Discussion of Still/Here
in plenary:
Mini-Lecture—Bill T. Jones

Thursday evening 4 February 7:00pm

watch & participate live (required)
A Conversation with Dr. Ariel Nereson:
“Art, Activism, and Embodiment: Considering the Choreography of Bill T. Jones”
info and zoom link here

Sunday 7 February 5 pm paper 3 draft 1 due

Unit 5.6. — Asynchronous

• Arlene Croce, “Discussing the Undiscussable” in New Yorker
• Terry Teachout, “Victim Art” in American Jewish Committee
• Laura Shapiro, “The Art of Victimization” in Newsweek
• Marilyn Bordwell, “Dancing with Death: Performativity and ‘Undiscussible’ Bodies in Still/Here”

post to slack
• Discuss the Undiscussable

Week 3 — Dancing Bodies/Signifying Bodies

paper 3 draft 1 review with fellows this week

Unit 5.7.
Tuesday 9 February—synchronous

prepare before class
• Ariel Nereson, “Embodying the Undiscussable: Documentary Methodology in Bill T. Jones’s Still/Here and the Culture Wars” (In our drive folder here.)

in class
in sections
• responding to Croce, Victim Art, Culture Wars, & the bodies created
in plenary
• report out from sections

Unit 5.8.
Thursday 11 February—synchronous

prepare before class
• David Gere, “Introduction” and Chapter 1, in How to Make Dances in an Epidemic: Choreography in the Age of AIDS (in our drive folder here)
• David Roman, “Not-About-AIDS” in GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies (in our drive folder here)

in class
in plenary
Mini-lecture—Silence = Death? Meaning-making & AIDS
in sections
Discussing AIDS, Artmaking, and Signification

Sunday 14 February 5 pm paper 3 draft 2 due

Unit 5.9.— Asynchronous

What are the epidemics we are facing now?
How are they signified?
How are they changing bodies?

Unit 6 — Professor Luis

Diego Luis (History and Latin American Studies)
Readings for unit 6 are in the Luis readings drive folder (here, access only).

artifacts for this unit

The “Nuremburg Map” of Tenochtitlan, 1524, the first European depiction of a city in the Americas and first outline of the Caribbean basin. Original in the John Carter Brown Library map collection, Brown University.


Planta y descripcion de la ymperial ciudad de Mexico en la America. Mexico City, 1760. Original in the John Carter Brown Library map collection, Brown University.

Tenochtitlan fell exactly five hundred years ago in 1521. The near-complete destruction of the city and its inhabitants was one of the single most violent and misunderstood events to occur in the American hemisphere, and the afterlives of this trauma continue to reverberate to this day. Using Tenochtitlan as a case study, we will investigate several questions fundamental to the historical discipline: 1) how do we read a primary source, 2) how is history manipulated to serve an ideology, 3) how do we access missing perspectives, and 4) what is the enduring relevance of the past to the present? We begin by examining some of the major European accounts, proceed to texts approximating Indigenous points of view, balance our primary sources with the commentary of professional historians, and culminate with oral histories, film, and contemporary essays that suggest that occurrences five hundred years distant continue to inform, even shape, present reality.

paper 3 draft 2 review meetings with faculty and fellows (in that order) this week

Unit 6.1.
Tuesday 16 February

Theme 1: Beginning at the End

• Chronology of Events in Myers, xi-xiv. (ebook here; pdf in the readings folder here)
• Glossary and Introduction in Camilla Townsend, Fifth Sun: A New History of the Aztecs, viii-x and 1-12. (here)

In class — Denham zoom room
Introduction to the unit
Optional readings:
• Cortés, Letters from Mexico, 85-94. (ebook here; also pdf here in the readings folder)
• Díaz, The Conquest of New Spain, 216-9.

Breakouts — in your sections, breakout zooms hosted by fellows (see your section slack channel for details)
What did you learn in school about Cortés, Montezuma, and the conquest?

10:45-11:05 — return to the main room

Unit 6.2.
Thursday 18 February

• Las Casas, A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies, 45-54.
• Prescott, History of the Conquest of Mexico, 547-51.

Class Schedule — Denham zoom room
How to read a primary source

10:20-10:55 — in sections hosted by fellows (see your section slack channel for details)
Section primary source analysis of Gómara, Cortés, 3-4.
Francisco López de Gómara, Cortés: The Life of the Conqueror by His Secretary, Lesley Byrd Simpson, trans and ed., (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1964), 3-4.

10:55-11:05 — back to the main room

Friday 19 February 5 pm paper 3 final version due

Unit 6.3. — Asynchronous

• Inga Clendinnen, “Fierce and Unnatural Cruelty,” 65-100.

paper 3 assessment meetings with faculty this week

Unit 6.4.
Tuesday 23 February

Theme 2: The Fall

• León-Portilla, Broken Spears, 115-26, 137-8, 145-9.

Class Schedule — Denham zoom room
Lecture on Aztecs

10:10-10:40 — in sections hosted by fellows (see your section slack channel for details)
Discussion of Broken Spears

10:40-11:05 – back to the main room
faculty roundtable • part I (Profs. Bory, Fache, Wills)

Unit 6.5.
Thursday 25 February

• Restall, When Montezuma Met Cortés, 294-330

Class Schedule
9:50-10:10 — Denham zoom room

10:10-10:35 — Denham zoom room
faculty roundtable • part II (Profs. Denham, Luis, Tamura)

10:35-11:05 — in sections hosted by fellows (see your section slack channel for details)
further discussion

Unit 6.6. — Asynchronous

Theme 3: The Presence of the Past

• Abrazo de la Serpiente (Embrace of the Serpent) (view here, login required); also: “it’s a sin to watch a film for Humes alone”
Steve Stern, “The Tricks of Time: Colonial Legacies and Historical Sensibilities in Latin America,” The Princeton University Chronicle 57:3 (1996): 371-92.

1 – 5 March no class meetings for Humes (other classes may meet this week except not on Wednesday and Thursday)
• there are asynchronous reading and viewing assignments this week
• office hours, coffees, and ATs optional Monday, Tuesday, Friday
research paper topic (problem description, difficulty statement) draft due this week
• source analysis assignment due on Monday 8 March 5pm in your section slack channels

Unit 6.7.
Tuesday 9 March

Unit 6 Assignment Due – Source Analysis • due Monday 8 March 5pm
• Option A: Octavio Paz, “The Sons of La Malinche,” in Joseph, Henderson, eds., The Mexico Reader, 20-27.
• Option B: Alonso de Zorita, “Why the Indians Are Dying,” in Joseph, Henderson, eds., The Mexico Reader,122-30.
• Option C: Carlos Pellicer, “Ode to Cuauhtémoc,” in Joseph, Henderson, eds., The Mexico Reader,406-10.
• Option D: Joel Simon, “The Sinking City,” in Joseph, Henderson, eds., The Mexico Reader,520-35.
• Option E: Interviews of an anonymous housekeeper, Karina Zazueta, and Fred Diego, in Myers, Kathleen, In the Shadow of Cortés, 294-300, 310-3.
• Option F: Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, 1-13.

all of this class is in discussion sections
first half
9:50-10:30 – film discussion
second half
10:30-11:05 – create together a combined narrative/analysis of the section primary source

Unit 6.8.
Thursday 11 March

• Michel-Rolph Trouillot, from Silencing the Past, 108-56.

Class Schedule
9:50-10:30 – discussing Trouillot in sections

10:30 – 10:35 Librarian James Sponsel – brief report on library resources for you research papers

Finding the body

10:35-11:05 – final plenary (Denham zoom room)
Concluding discussion

• research paper topic (problem description, difficulty statement) second draft due this week

Unit 7 — Professor Wills

Anne Wills (Religious Studies)
The artifact for this unit will come at the end, as Prof. Wills mentioned in her introduction in plenary on 11 March, when she also described much of the content in her unit. That video is up in the videos folder.

One topic that interests me as a historian of U.S. religion is faith-based protest movements aimed at broadening notions of who is human and what human bodies “should” be and do (e.g., abolition, women’s reproductive freedom, civil and voting rights for women and Black people). Of course, people also use religious arguments to counter expanding liberties and to reinforce these “shoulds.” In the late 1980s, the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACTUP) began to insist on the full humanity of lesbian and gay people. The organization aimed significant protest energy at religious institutions that interpreted the AIDS epidemic as divine retribution for homosexual sin. In this unit, we will explore ACTUP’s December 1989 interruption of Cardinal O’Connor while he said Mass in New York City’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral.


Unit 7.1.

Asynchronous reading and post for Sunday 3/14/21

D.N. Power, “Eucharist in Contemporary Catholic Tradition,” New Catholic Encyclopedia, 2nd ed. (Gale, 2003), 5: 415 – 431.

Unit 7.2
Tuesday 16 March

Reading for section on Tuesday 3/16/21: What are bodies and what are they for?

D. Von Hildebrand and M. Shivanandan, “Sex,” New Catholic Encyclopedia, 2nd ed. (Gale, 2003), 13: 44 – 47.

R.F. Collins, “Sex (in the Bible),” New Catholic Encyclopedia, 2nd ed. (Gale, 2003), 13: 47 – 51.

Unit 7.3.
Thursday 18 March

Reading for section on Thursday 3/18/21: What do these ^^ descriptions leave out? Why?

Michel Foucault, “Scientia Sexualis” and “Domain,” in The History of Sexuality, vol. 1: An Introduction, trans. Robert Hurley (New York: Vintage, 1990), 53 – 73 and 103 – 114.


Unit 7.4. — asynchronous

Watch: “Paris Is Burning” (1:11; 1990)

Listen: “This American Life: 81 Words” (2002)

• research paper problem and scholarly conversation (they say) draft due this week

Unit 7.5.
Tuesday 23 March

Reading for section on Tuesday 3/23/21:

Larry Kramer, “1,112 and Counting,” “The FDA’s Callous Response to AIDS,” and “Before the President’s Commission,” in Reports from the Holocaust: The Making of an AIDS Activist (New York: St. Martin’s, 1989), 33 – 51, 140 – 144, 182 – 185.

Unit 7.6.
Thursday 25 March

Reading and viewing for section on Thursday 3/25/21:

Cardinal Ratzinger, Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons (October 1986)

NCCB Administrative Board, “The Many Faces of AIDS: A Gospel Response” (November 1987)

5B view here


Unit 7.7. — asynchronous

First, watch “Stop the Church” (24 m; 1991)

Then, watch “How to Survive a Plague” (2 hrs; 2012)

• research paper scholarly conversation (they say) second draft due this week

Unit 7.8.
Tuesday 30 March

Reading for section on Tuesday 3/30/21:

David Wojnarowicz and James Romberger, seven miles a second (New York: DC Comics, 1996), 39 – 59.

Unit 7.9.
Thursday 1 April

Reading/viewing for section on Thursday 4/1/21:

Diva TV, “Political Funerals” (read and watch everything you can on this page)
view Common Threads

• research paper claim, question, move (I say) draft due this week

5 -9 April no class meetings for Humes (other classes may meet April 5 and 6)
• coffees, office hours, ATs optional this week but not Thursday or Friday

Unit 8 — Professor Boyer

Patricio Boyer (Hispanic Studies, Gender & Sexuality Studies, Latin American Studies; Wall Professor and program director)

This unit will focus on

artifacts for this unit

Unit 8.1.


Unit 8.2.



Unit 8.3.




DATE research paper full draft due

Unit 8.4.

Unit 8.5.

Unit 8.6.

research paper revised full draft due

Unit 8.7.

Unit 8.8

research paper final version due

Verna Miller Case Symposium
Thursday April 28

Present your portfolios.

Reflection and assessment letter due to Prof. Boyer, 10:00pm via DM in slack.
Details here [to come].

date – date
Assessment meetings with Prof. Boyer. See the slack channel for signups.