Advising Appointment Update

In alignment with the campus directives regarding the precautions surrounding COVID-19, the Languages and Literatures academic advising offices are now physically closed.  Our Advisors remain available and will be offering academic advising appointments to students through zoom, phone call, or email.  Once you have scheduled your appointment in the online appointment system, your advisor will reach out to you via email with instructions on how to connect with them using zoom, phone call, or email. Resource FAQ for Students

Summer Session I

June 24 - August 2, 2013

HUM 1. Topic: "Dante's Divine Comedy" (2 units)  (See the flyer!)
CRN 51804 | Patricia MacKinnon | MW 12:10-1:50P | 146 Olson

In this course we will read one of the greatest works of imaginative literature ever written – Dante’s Divine Comedy – the story of one man’s journey while still alive through the three realms of the medieval Christian afterlife: InfernoPurgatorio,  and Paradiso.  Everything he experiences there in the eternal world he connects with our world here, with the result that human existence takes on depths of significance only imaginable from the perspective of eternity.   As we accompany Dante on this unique adventure, we are confronted with big questions: Is there a goal to human life? What is the fate of the soul after death? What determines the condition of the soul in the next world?  How are the “two worlds” (i.e. this world and the next) related? What is the value of reading?  Can a book change one’s life? What is the import of reading about punishments and rewards in the next world? Does reading about spiritual illumination assist us in becoming illuminated? How can a person or society be transformed? What is the role and value of art (including poetry) in leading us to Truth and Beauty and Goodness, or Salvation?  Why are humans so driven and what drives them? What is the importance of love in human life?  How do we go on if we lose what we love? Do we have to lose what we love in order to find what really fulfills us? What is the relationship between the material, time-bound cosmos and its immaterial, uncreated, eternal source, the latter conceived as beyond time and space? If “heaven” is beyond time and space, where is it? If God has a plan for mankind, why is the character of human history so filled with disorder and tragedy?  If everything that exists, including the soul, came forth from God, is there a way to return?

In this course we will consider all of these issues and more as we follow in Dante’s footsteps, reading the poem in its entirety.  Lectures, twice weekly, will provide guidance through the assigned reading.  On occasion the instructor may supplement the class lectures and class time by assigning and distributing MP3 recordings to further assist students in understanding the reading.  Students are responsible for questions on quizzes and/or exams taken from material covered in lectures and/or the extra MP3 recordings posted on the class website. The instructor will review topics from the student-directed online discussion forums that generate interest and invite clarification.


All students (both those enrolled in Hum 1 for 2 units and Hum 1D for 2 additional units) will be responsible for a variety of assignments that enable the student to demonstrate the degree of engagement they have given to the reading:

Reader Response Journal 20%
Reading Grids 15%
Quizzes on Assigned Reading 25%
Online Discussion Forums 20%
Final Exam 20%





Reader Response Journal

  • 10 short (i.e. minimum 200 words each) entries.
  • Submitted online under “Assignments” in Smartsite class website.
  • Daily entries must be submitted online before class begins.
  • Hardcopy of the whole Journal submitted at end of the course.                       

Reading Grid

  • Reading Grid for each reading assignment that asks student to identify a few essential facts about each canto.
  • Submitted online under the “Assignments” link on our class website before class meetings.


  • Identifications and/or short answer.
  • Questions may be drawn from a combination of assigned readings, in-class lectures, and “extra” MP3 recordings.

Online Discussion Forum

  • Online Discussion Forum in which students pose and respond to questions and comments in review of weekly assigned reading.

Final Exam

  • Short answer, fill-in the blanks, and essay.

Prerequisite: None.

GE credit (Old): None.
GE credit (New): Arts & Humanities.

Format: Lecture - 2 hours.


  • Dante, Divine Comedy: Inferno (Oxford, 1961)
  • Dante, Divine Comedy: Purgatorio (Oxford, 1961)
  • Dante, Divine Comedy: Paradiso (Oxford, 1961)


  • Dante, Dante's Vita Nuova (Indiana University Press, 1973)

Note: HUM 1 can be repeated one time for credit if topic differs.

About the Instructor: Patricia MacKinnon is a Lecturer Emeritus in the Comparative Literature Department.

HUM 1D. Topic: "Dante's Divine Comedy" (Discussion) (2 units)  (See the flyer!)
CRN 51805 | Patricia MacKinnon | MW 2:10-3:50P | 217 Olson

Humanities 1, the Lecture may be taken with an optional, accompanying Discussion section, Humanities 1D for 2 additional units. Discussion can only be added to the Lecture; it may NOT be taken without enrolling in the Lecture.

The Discussion section, Humanities 1D, satisfies both the old and new Arts and Humanities GE requirement, or it can be taken to fulfill the university Writing Requirement.

HUM 1D is a great way to develop your thinking and deepen your understanding about Dante with the instructor and other students in a small seminar setting.  The instructor will assist you in honing your analytic skills in academic discourse i.e. thesis-based argumentation.  In addition to 2 essays, you will have the chance to share your work orally through an in-class presentation. 

Prerequisite: Must be concurrently enrolled in HUM 1.

GE credit (Old): Arts & Humanities and Writing Experience.
GE credit (New): Arts & Humanities and Writing Experience.

Format: Lecture - 2 hours.


  • Same texts used for HUM 001
About the Instructor: Patricia MacKinnon is a Lecturer Emeritus in the Comparative Literature Department.

HUM 3. Medicine and Humanities (4 units)  (See the flyer!)
CRN 53389 | Yvette Flores | TR 2:10-4:40P | 217 Olson

This course examines contemporary challenges faced by providers and patients as divergent worldviews collide in the borderlands of health care services. Through an examination of medical anthropology texts, illness narratives, and research findings, students will explore their own emic system of health care, the influence of language, culture, gender and world view on access to health care, and gain an appreciation of key issues in contemporary medicine, as well as understand 1) the philosophical and historical underpinning of western medicine and 2) explore alternative systems of care and healing.

Prerequisite: Completion of the Subject A requirement.

GE credit (Old): Social Sciences and Writing Experience.
GE credit (New): Arts & Humanities or Social Sciences and Writing Experience.

Format: Lecture/Discussion - 3 hours; Extensive Writing.


  • Patrisia Gonzales, Red Medicine: Traditional Indigenous Rights of Birthing and Healing (University of Arizona Press, 2012)
  • Arthur L. Caplan, et al., Health, Disease, and Illness: Concepts in Medicine (Georgetown University Press, 2004)
  • Angie Chabram-Dernersesian, et al., Speaking from the Body: Latinas on Health and Culture
About the Instructor: Yvette Flores is a Professor in the Chicano/a Studies Department.

***Humanities 008. "Literature and Globalization" was cancelled on June 19, 2013***

Summer Session II

August 5 - September 13, 2013

HUM 1. Topic: "Contemporary Detective Novels" (2 units)  (See the flyer!)
CRN 73754 | W. Jack Hicks | TR 12:10-1:50P | 230 Wellman

Call them private eyes, sleuths, shamuses, dicks, snoops, p.i.s, peeps or worse, detectives are very popular in contemporary fiction and film. We’ll meet Easy Rawlins (unemployed in Watts); Los Angeles detective/Viet Nam vet Harry Bosch, working the dark City of Angels; Patrice Starling, a rookie FBI investigator who meets the evil genius Dr. Hannibal Lecter; Navajo policemen Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn, who patrol the desert “Big Rez” with traditional medicine and modern criminology; and forensic scientist Kay Scarpetta (think popular television such as “CSI” and “Bones”), who frees corpses of their secrets via cybertechnology, computer analysis and DNA scans. Their tales make fascinating reading and tell us about changing worlds, including the roles of detectives, criminals (and their awful deeds), victims and ourselves--who ignore, watch, impede or abet crime and punishment.

Prerequisite: None.

GE credit (Old): None.
GE credit (New): Arts & Humanities.

Format: Lecture - 2 hours.


  • Walter Mosley, Devil in a Blue Dress (Washington Square Press, 2002)
  • Michael Connelly, The Black Echo (Grand Central Publishing, 2012)
  • Thomas Harris, The Silence of the Lambs (St. Martin's Paperbacks, 1991)
  • Tony Hillerman, Skinwalkers (Harper, 2011)
  • Patricia Cornwell, The Body Farm (Berkley, 2004)

Note: HUM 1 can be repeated one time for credit if topic differs.

About the Instructor: W. Jack Hicks is a Senior Lecturer in the English Department.

***Humanities 001D. "Contemporary Detective Novels - Discussion" was cancelled on July 22, 2013***

HUM 4. Animals and Human Culture (2 units)  (See the flyer!)
CRN 73805 | Juliana Schiesari | MW 12:10-1:50P | 118 Olson

The course is designed to raise broad issues of humanistic import in the context of a subject matter of broad interest and concern, that of the relations between animals and humans. As such, the course serves to integrate general educational knowledge at the lower‐division level by proposing a humanistic perspective to material commonly dealt with on a scientific basis.

From the domestication of livestock in the Neolithic period to the modern phenomenon of pet keeping, animals have played an integral role in human culture, not only economically and emotionally, but also as an apparently limitless fund of images for dimension of animals in human cultures, not from the biological perspective of studying animals in themselves but from the humanistic standpoint of understanding what it means for human beings to be involved with animals of all sorts and in all sorts of ways. To what extent does traditional humanism, for instance, define humanity by virtue of its difference from the animal? How are animals represented in the literacy, artistic and cultural traditions of different societies and what do these representations tell us about the societies that produced them?

The animal theme – of obvious interest on a campus such as Davis that emphasizes biology, agriculture and veterinary medicine – also provides a pedagogical lens with which to focus on the ethical and poetic issues that define what it means to be not only human but humane. To this end, we will consider various human representations of animals and animal life in the shape of poems, novels, essays, paintings and films. Love, death, friendship, tolerance of difference and the value of life are not surprisingly among the great themes elaborated in those representations. In addition, moreover, to the airing of such “big” questions, the course will also offer practical introduction to contemporary methods of literacy, art historical and cultural analysis. As such, it is to be hoped that the course will also contribute to greater interdisciplinary connections between the sciences and the humanities.

Prerequisite: None.

GE credit (Old): Arts & Humanities and Writing Experience.
GE credit (New): Arts & Humanities.

Format: Lecture - 2 hours.


  • A Course Reader

About the Instructor: Juliana Schiesari is a Professor in the French and Italian Department as well as the Comparative Literature Department, where she also serves as chairperson.

***Humanities 004D. "Animals and Human Culture - Discussion" was cancelled on July 23, 2013***

HUM 15. Language and Identity: "Dropping the F-Bomb" (4 units)  (See the flyer!)
CRN 73756 | Eric Russell | TWR 10:00-11:40A | 129 Wellman

This course is designed to introduce you to basic principles of social science inquiry, data analysis, and writing through the exploration of taboo language, including insults, profanity, vulgarity, and expletives. Our discussions will center on a series of questions, including:
1.    What makes “bad language” bad? What sets a “bad word” apart from a neutral word meaning the exact same thing?
2.    Why do we say some words are inappropriate, whereas others are perfectly fine? Why is it acceptable to refer to “genitals” at a doctor’s office, but not use a more colorful or colloquial term? Why can a person be vilified for using one term for a particular ethnicity, whereas other terms are considered okay?
3.    Why is speech censored? Why do we bleep out words on television and the radio and is this effective?
4.    What can we learn about our values, expectations, fears and history by looking more closely at taboo language?
5.    How does looking at racial slurs or outdated language about race help us understand ethnic relations and tensions in our society?
6.    How does investigating words considered to be pejorative about a person’s sexual orientation enrich our views of sexuality and gender norms?
7.    What do taboo words that refer to women by way of their genitalia tell us about our expectations of women?
Objectives and goals
Throughout the quarter, you will meet the following objectives:
1.    Linguistic knowledge: you will learn to describe language using appropriate terminology and effectively present linguistic data.
2.    Analytical skills: you will describe data using appropriate terms and approaches; you will develop and test hypotheses about language use and linguistic behavior.
3.    Intellectual posture: you will adopt and apply objectivity with regard to language forms, opinions about language, and the description and analysis of linguistic behavior.

Furthermore, you are expected to hone your writing skills, focusing on form, rhetoric and style appropriate for the human and social sciences. You will apply themes from class lectures and readings to a question of personal interest in a final project and paper, demonstrating an ability to form coherent ideas and express these ideas effectively and appropriately.

GE credit (Old): ArtHum, Div and Wrt.
GE credit (New): ArtHum or SocSci and WrtExp.

Format: Lecture - 3 hours; Extensive Writing.


  • No textbooks
About the Instructor: Eric Russell is an Associate Professor in the French and Italian Department.