• Why Humanities?

    "Regardless of whether you go on to study biology or Hispanic studies, getting the opportunity to read and learn about classic works of art, literature, and music helps you develop an understanding of the world as a whole outside of your field. Even if, and perhaps especially if, you don't think humanities is relevant to what you think you might want to do, the program offers an experience you won't be offered again or anywhere else." - Katie Little '18

  • Disciplinary Variety

    The Humanities Program starts with the assumption that no single disciplinary approach can answer the big questions, and so faculty come from across the college. You will hear lectures and be in discussions led by faculty from multiple disciplines like Music, History, German Studies, Film & Media Studies, Religion, Art, and English.

    Burkhard Henke
  • Making Connections

    The Humanities Program at Davidson lets students connect the ancient with the modern, the visible with the audible, and the formal lecture with the intimacy of smaller discussion sections. Professors bring their own disciplinary expertise together with an enthusiastic curiosity for looking for connections across boundaries.

    Neil Lerner


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Box 7131
Davidson, NC 28035

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209 Ridge Road
Davidson, NC 28035




Taking HUM 103/104 fulfills three course requirements, including the WRI 101 requirement. Learn more.

The Humanities program was established in 1962 as a synthetic, interdisciplinary approach to liberal education that combined formal lectures and smaller discussion groups in a survey of key texts. The current course offering, Connections and Conflicts in the Humanities I & II (HUM 103 & 104), surveys key texts from both the Western tradition and from beyond Europe and what used to be called "the West." For each year, there will be a particular topic that we will bring to bear for all the things we study. In 2016-17, the theme will be the Problem of Beauty.

What's the point of studying the music, art, literature, philosophy, history, and so on, of cultures from distant chronological and geographical places that might be alien to our own? At Davidson, we believe that a liberal arts education requires a balance of courses from across the disciplines, including the humanities, in order for our graduates to have the greatest impact in their post-Davidson worlds. In the humanities, one can find a massive repository of ideas concerning the human experience. Some of the ideas will get expressed using words, others by using musical sounds, or dancers on a stage, or paint on a canvas, or celluloid flickers on a screen.

Using examples from long ago and also closer to the present, we will emphasize the ways ideas have persisted and changed over time. Some of these conflicts and connections will spark hope and optimism while others might signal exhaustion at our inability to solve certain problems of how best to exist and co-exist. By signing up for HUM 103/104, you will be signing up to:

  • understand and appreciate a wide array of humanistic texts, including things like music, novels, paintings, films, and so forth
  • observe patterns and create compelling connections between seemingly disparate texts
  • speak and write with precision and persuasion
  • read more carefully and critically

Please contact E. Craig Wall, Jr. Distinguished Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Music Neil Lerner at nelerner@davidson.edu if you have any questions.