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Honors in the Humanities
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Honors in the Humanities (HTH),

established over 30 years ago, is the oldest honors program at Queens College.   HTH is designed for students who wish to explore and understand the origins and history of our contemporary artistic and intellectual culture.  The HTH minor’s full sequence of 9 courses (students must take at least six to graduate with Honors in the Humanities) is interdisciplinary in design and covers a broad range of fundamental works of literature, religion, history, philosophy, and art, and complements majors in any division of the college.

1. Three “Foundation” courses:

  1. Comparative Literature 101H, Global Literature: 3 hr.; 3 cr. Pre-requisite: ENGL 110: Great works of Ancient & Medieval Literature and Culture. [Satisfies one PLAS Reading Literature (RL) requirement, and fulfils the World Culture (WC) requirement and the Pre-Industrial Society (PI) extended requirement]; it also satisfies one Writing Intensive requirement. (EC1)
  2. English 130H: Writing about Literature in English: 3 hr.; 3 cr. Pre-requisite: ENGL 110: focusing on close reading of primary and secondary sources, conducting original research, and developing analytical arguments about literary texts in different genres, including poetry and drama. (EC2)
  3. Philosophy 104H: an introduction to ethics 3 hr.; 3 cr.: emphasizing classical as well as contemporary sources [Satisfies the Individual and Society (IS) requirement; fulfils the European Tradition (ET) requirement; it also satisfies one Writing Intensive (WI) requirement].

2. Four “Period” courses on the history of ideas and cultures: HTH 210, 220, 230, 240:

In each of these courses the instructor will choose, on the basis of his or her own interest and expertise, materials that illustrate a core issue, and, by placing these in their cultural and historical context, will use them as a basis for investigating the historical period and its potential contribution to our modern understanding of the humanities.  As part of the study of the sequence, students will confront the problem of differing interpretations and on-going debates regarding the choice and transmission of canonical texts, and study how ideas and forms both retain and lose value over time.  [200-level courses are offered in chronological sequence, one per semester, in various departments];

HTH 210. Ancient Worlds.  3hr. 3 cr.  Prereq.: By permission only.

A close study of some influential classical texts exploring their understanding of the human condition and its ethical and political consequences as well as the relation of gods and mortals and the limits of knowledge. Topics will include the place of the Greek and Roman literature and thought in relation to other ancient Mediterranean cultures, the character of oral literature and of the transition from the oral to the written, and the significance of reevaluating ancient ceremonial or religious literature as literature in the humanistic tradition. 

HTH 220. The Middle Ages.  3hr. 3 cr.  Prereq.: By permission only.

A study of material illustrating the encounters between Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, and the development of vernacular and courtly culture from the fourth through fifteenth centuries.  Topics of interests include the transmission of ancient knowledge through the Byzantine and Islamic empires, the expansion of cultural contact through trade, and the emergence of new theological and philosophical discourses.

HTH 230. The Early Modern World.  3hr. 3 cr.  Prereq.: By permission only.

An examination of the ideas of Renaissance and Reformation in the literature, theology, and philosophic thought of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries as well as the effects of the  encounter with the New World in the age of exploration; materials to be studied may include authors, texts, and art from both the Old and the New World.

HTH 240. Modern Eras. 3 hr.; 3 cr.  Prereq.: By permission only.

An examination of ideas of enlightenment and science, the development of secular philosophy, and the consequences of the political and industrial revolution for literature, thought and art from the eighteenth through twentieth centuries. Topics will include the effects of the encounter with Asian and African civilizations and the concept of “post-modern.”

3.  Seminar:

HTH 300. Senior Seminar. 3 hr.; 3 cr.  Prereq.: By permission only.

An intensive and interdisciplinary exploration of a major literary theme, philosophical issue and/or historical concern (e.g., The Problem of Evil, Literature and Memory, Utopias/ Dystopias, Music as Intellectual History).  The course may include both ancient and modern and both Western and non-western texts and art.

HTH 350: Honors Thesis, hrs. to be arranged; 3 cr. Prereq. HTH 300: Advanced Seminar. An independent study in which the student will research and write an annotated bibliography, and an honors thesis of at least 25 pages.

GRADUATING IN HTH: Students who complete at least six of the eight courses, at least one of which must be HTH 300, receive an HTH graduation certificate, and graduate with a minor in HTH, which is listed on the final transcript, as “Honors in the Humanities.”

Eligibility: A 3.3 GPA is required for admission to and retention in the Program.  Although it is recommended and typical that students begin the courses in their freshman year, sophomore entry is permitted.

GEN. ED. REQUIREMENTS RECAP: Students who complete the three Foundation courses (CMLIT 101H, Eng 165H, Phil 104H) fulfil their PLAS “Knowledge & Inquiry” requirements in RL and CV, and satisfy three of the four “Global Contexts” (ET, WC, PI) requirements; they also fulfil their Writing Intensive requirements.  For students to whom it still applies, the HTH sequence satisfies the following Liberal Arts and Sciences Area Requirements (LASAR): Humanities I, Tier 1 and Tier 2, Humanities III, one Social Sciences requirement, and Pre-Industrial and/or Non-Western Civilization.


Courses with Townsend Harris High School

HTH 101, 102Freshman Humanities Colloquium. 3 hr.; 3 cr. each sem. Prereq.: Open only to Townsend Harris High School seniors, with permission of the THHS Asst. Principal for Humanities.

Selected readings from the classic texts of the Western Tradition, from the Bible and the Greeks to the present. The course emphasizes critical reading & writing and student-led discussion.  
Effective Fall semester 2011, for Townsend Harris High School graduates who have completed HTH 101-02 and who matriculate at Queens College, HTH 102 satisfies one of the PLAS Reading Literature (RL) requirements (HTH 101 counts as three elective credits towards graduation).  Those who also minor in HTH will be waived from Eng 165H or CMLIT 101H, in consultation with the HTH Director.  Formerly, HTH 101-02 satisfied HUM. I Tier 1 and Pre-Industrial and/or Non-Western Civilization components of LASAR.


Summary of Requirements for the Minor in Honors in the Humanities:


Comparative Literature 101H, Global Lit; English 165H, Introduction to Poetry; Philosophy 104H, Introduction to Ethics; two or more from  HTH 210, 220, 230, 240; HTH 300.  Students should take at least two of the Foundation Courses (see above) before the 200-level courses.  But in this and other aspects of the course sequence, some flexibility is possible, at the Director’s discretion.



 Office Information


Director: Clare Carroll
Office: Honors Hall, room 20B

Phone: (718) 997-3180

Program Assistant: Wilma Hernandez

HH 19, Phone: 718-997-3180



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