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Humanities Minor

About The Program

The humanities minor explores connections among the literature, art, architecture, philosophy, music, and popular culture of a given era or topic.

The program supports majors in many disciplines by honing critical thinking skills and providing educational breadth or opportunities for personal enrichment.

How to enroll

Current students: Declare this program

Once you’re admitted as an undergraduate student and have met any further admission requirements your chosen program may have, you may declare a major or declare an optional minor.

Future students: Apply now

Apply to Metropolitan State: Start the journey toward your Humanities Minor now. Learn about the steps to enroll or, if you have questions about what Metropolitan State can offer you, request information, visit campus or chat with an admissions counselor.

Get started on your Humanities Minor

Courses and Requirements


Requirements for the Humanities Minor (20 credits)

Choose any five upper-level humanities courses to reach 20 credits:

This course explores expressive culture, including oral and written traditions, arts, music, and architecture of the ancient world with an emphasis on the formal, aesthetic, and relevant geopolitical contexts of human creativity. Students will learn how the formal analysis of a variety of ancient artifacts leads scholars to insights about humanistic expression, constructions of self and other, and cultural values and ideals. While the course may include discussion of work from ancient Greece or Rome, it will draw additional emphases from two or more of the following areas: North Africa, Mesopotamia, Persia, East Asian, South Asia, and Central and South America. All texts will be in English or English translation.

Full course description for Global Humanities: Ancient Cultures

This course examines the idea of the monster in art and literature as used by authorities in Western civilizations to instruct their societies in communal values, regulation of behaviors, and how to conceptualize enemies. The course focuses on depictions of monsters in Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, and medieval Europe as symbols and as representations of outsiders (such as ¿barbarians,¿ Jews, Muslims, pagans, heretics, racial others), and as subordinates or inferiors who may threaten social order (the disabled, women, homosexuals, the poor).

Full course description for Ancient and Medieval Monsters

Around the world, at different moments in history, artists have questioned older social, philosophical and artistic forms and sought to create radically new, "modern" forms. To understand these developments and how they have influenced the contemporary world, this course examines several influential modern(ist) texts in a global frame, in connection with developments in modern art, music, politics and thought. Selections will vary but will draw from modernisms around the world, including cultural Africa, East Asia, Europe, the Americas, and South and Southeast Asia. All texts read in English or English translation.

Full course description for Global Modernisms

Postmodernism is cultural movement that has been characterized by a radical rejection of traditional aesthetics to the extreme limit, developing new theories and aesthetics. From the blurring of high and low culture, through the use of pastiche, collage, and bricolage, to the status of the object in an era of simulacra, postmodernism is characterized by a number of distinct techniques and critical theories which we'll explore in a wide variety of art, film, new media, literature, architecture, and music. Readings will consider postmodernism in a global frame. All texts read in English or English translation.

Full course description for Global Postmodernism

Folklore, one of the oldest forms of human expression, continues to shape contemporary culture and everyday life. This course examines the nature of folklore; the study, analysis and interpretation of folklore; various folk traditions; and real-life examples and uses of folk-lore. Selections will vary but typically represent folklore originating from regions of Africa, East Asia, Europe, the Americas, and South and Southeast Asia. All texts read in English or English translation.

Full course description for World Folklore

This course explores the time period in medieval Spain when the three Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) coexisted somewhat peacefully and created together a rich, vibrant culture from 700-1492. "Convivencia" means "living together." We will examine the poetry, architecture, art, music, governance, and religious practices during this period: how a culture flourished, and how it fell apart. We'll also study how persecutions (including those against pagans), and the diasporas of Jews and Muslims out of Spain influenced these texts, structures, and practices.

Full course description for Convivencia: Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Arts in Medieval Spain

This course introduces students to visual culture theory with an emphasis on the photographic image. The course examines how photography has shaped Western culture's understanding of how to "read" images of people and their spaces for their status, meaning and utility within a community. Contemporary theories debate the place of the photo in distinguishing and contesting our representations of people in terms of race, ability, class, gender, sexuality and size. Students will learn how modern views of photography as both an art and a science create an often contradictory set of beliefs about what a photo shows that is "real" or "true."

Full course description for The Photo and the Other

This course introduces students to place-based knowledge accrued by Indigenous intellectuals over time. Students will learn the way language is vital to Indigenous knowledge and how knowledge of landscapes and caring for places are embedded in Indigenous languages. Art, maps, dance, music, and material culture are part of these knowledge systems bridging land, identity, and place. This course also covers how knowledge has been suppressed and marginalized by White Eurocentric knowledge systems. Note: This course may include being outside on self-guided and group field trips in many different types of weather. This course may also include hands-on activities. The course gives significant focus to issues of race and racism.

Full course description for Land, Knowledge, and Identity Through Indigenous Languages

Student-designed independent studies give Metropolitan State students the opportunity to plan their own study. This type of independent learning strategy can be useful because it allows students: to study a subject in more depth, at a more advanced level; to pursue a unique project that requires specialized study; to draw together several knowledge areas or interests into a specialized study; to test independent learning capabilities and skills; or to use special learning resources in the community, taking advantage of community education opportunities which, in themselves, would not yield a full college competence. Students should contact their academic advisor for more information.

Full course description for Humanities Student Designed Independent Studies

This course will study the Harlem Renaissance, a period of incredible productivity and creativity among black artists and intellectuals between 1920-1940, centered in Harlem, New York. The course considers how concepts -- such as race; the New Negro movement; Jim Crow, segregation, and racism; so-called racial uplift and the Talented Tenth; the Great Migration; the Roaring Twenties, and Modernism were manifested in the works of art, literature, philosophy, film, and music of Harlem's artists and thinkers. In addition to learning the specialized vocabulary and skills involved in the analysis of works from a variety of artistic genres, students will learn how Harlem's leading black intellectuals tied aesthetic theories to social and racialized principles of artistic production, inspiring some artists while prompting others to openly rebel. Given that the Harlem Renaissance is not characterized by any one style, technique, or manifesto, well pay special attention to connections among…

Full course description for The Harlem Renaissance

This course examines the work of contemporary African films with particular emphasis on the continuities and disruptions of Black cultures across transnational lines. The course studies a wide range of expressive possibilities, from analyses of African nations¿ legacies of colonization to art house visionaries, from fun comedies celebrating romance to slice-of-life realism. We pay significant attention to African films as political, aesthetic, and anti-racist practice. All works are in English, English translation, and/or with English subtitles.

Full course description for African Film

This rich, interdisciplinary course studies how popular and classical artistic genres (such as painting, sculpture, installations, music, literature, dance, film, digital media, photography, happenings, cartoons, criticism, theories, etc.) shape our understanding of and discussions about environmental issues. We examine how artists from across the world have sought to use, recreate, idealize, manipulate, mar, intervene in, and affect the environment and public attitudes toward the environment. Key critical theories informing environmental art will be covered (e.g., ecocriticism, environmental racism, indigenous activism, animal rights, radical plant studies, global ecofeminism, the Anthropocene, apocalypse, poverty, religion, etc.). This course has a community engagement element.

Full course description for Environmental Humanities

Every semester it is offered, this course selects a different constellation of authors/artists, topic, genre, period, or issues and explores it/them through the study of texts and artistic works in the humanities. The course provides an opportunity for upper division students from across the university to explore authors and topics of particular interest to them, or to supplement earlier, survey-level work with more detailed and more advanced study of particular subjects. Outcomes from each iteration of the course include familiarity with course texts, understanding of key concepts and issues in the topic under consideration, and development of intermediate-level skills at the analysis and interpretation of literature.

Full course description for Special Topics in Humanities