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Critical Inquiry (LA 101)

This required foundation-year course, which is linked to foundation studio classes, introduces the process of critical inquiry and the vocabularies and practices of diverse analytical methodologies—psychoanalytic, Marxist, feminist, structuralist, deconstructive, post-colonial, reader-response, new historical, African American, cultural, and gay and lesbian criticism, among others. The course emphasizes critical thinking and writing skills and provides an opportunity for students to understand and refine their own critical identities and practices as these are employed to respond to and inform their own work and the work of others.

Intellectual History 1 and 2

A six-credit, two-course sequence taken in the sophomore year, this requirement may be fulfilled by selecting from a menu of designated, IH-suffixed courses representing a variety of humanities disciplines—literature, art history, history, philosophy, and sociology, among others. In order to satisfy this requirement, courses must bear the IH suffix (for example, HST 201-IH1 Ancient Cultures or L 260-IH2 History of Existentialism). No more than one art history (AH prefix) or literature (L prefix) IH-suffixed course may be taken to fulfill intellectual history requirements.

Intellectual history courses embrace the premise that primary texts in philosophy, literature, the arts, and science present a discourse that orients social and political actors, and thus a careful and systematic study of visual artifacts, literary, philosophical, and scientific texts will lead to an understanding of social history. The central perspective of these courses is that ideas do not exist in isolation from the people who create and use them in particular social and political contexts: ideas are the engines of history. IH-designated courses may be broad, general surveys, or more theme-focused investigations.


The three-credit math/science requirement, taken in the sophomore or junior year, may be met by any SCI-prefixed course. These courses include topical offerings, historical surveys, and practical classes involving field and lab work.


Building on the work students accomplish in Critical Inquiry and the courses fulfilling the intellectual history requirement, this three-credit, junior-level requirement adds depth and weight to the study of the theoretical concepts and assumptions embedded incontemporary views of visual and textual artifacts. Theory courses bear a TH suffix and are offered in a variety of disciplines including art history (AH) and literature (L). Theory courses explore such issues as the different ways philosophers and critics understand and describe aesthetic, cultural, and social products and phenomena, and the contexts of their production and consumption; the terms and stakes of the ongoing debate about the role of theory in the study of art and texts and the relationship of theory to meaning and significance in artistic productions; and the problem of reconciling the subjective response to objective theoretical analysis.

Literature and General Academic Electives

Students must take 12 credits of electives (4 courses) in the Humanistic Studies department. Two of these electives must be 300 level courses and above; two electives may be from any level. Electives from a variety of fields are offered through the Humanistic Studies department, including Literature, Politics, Philosophy, Religion, Anthropology, Film and Media Studies, Theater, History, Gender Studies, and Creative Writing, among others.

NOTE: Intellectual history (IH-suffixed courses) and theory (TH-suffixed courses) may be taken for elective credit, subject to the elective restrictions above. All Humanistic Studies courses in all disciplines may be used only once on MICA degree plans. No single course may be applied to meet more than a single degree requirement.