Students typically begin with the first-year course, "Odyssey of the West," IPHS 113-114. Balancing tradition and innovation, the introductory course starts with the ancient world and ends with World War II. The course aims to help students explore the past as it informs our present. Unlike any other program of its kind, IPHS 113-114 blends lectures, small seminars (typically twelve students), and one-on-one student-faculty tutorials in an effort to guide students as we move deftly between text and context.
Intermediate and advanced IPHS courses investigate more deeply ideas and developments introduced in the first-year course. Our most cutting-edge digital humanities classes offer a look at the present and even the future. "Programming Humanity" provides a unique interdisciplinary look at our current state by exploring recent technologies and the ideas behind them. Will our increasingly technological age program us, or can we program humanity into our technologies? "Artificial Intelligence for the Humanities," the first course of its kind in the world, moves between the theory, practice, and ethics of AI, all the while asking key questions about how AI may reshape our view of humanity.
Through innovative interdisciplinary courses, we prepare students to confront our past, our present and our future. Knowing how we got here, our students are equipped to tackle key issues emerging from our current technological world and are ready to anticipate and predict opportunities and challenges they will face in the future.
On the surface, IPHS may seem like many other introductory humanities courses offered at top colleges. Actually, though, we're unique. Some schools offer lectures by seasoned professors and sections with less-experienced instructors; others offer only a seminar where you meet to discuss your personal reactions to the book, often with an instructor who may not even have a background in the field. Kenyon's program is quite different. Each week, you'll attend two or three lectures, most given by IPHS professors, with a few guest lecturers given by other distinguished Kenyon faculty. These provide the historical context for each week's reading, as well as a sense of how each text fits into the tradition we're exploring. Then, you'll meet once weekly in a smaller seminar led by one of our professors, where you'll engage in a more in-depth reading. Finally, every three weeks or so, you'll write a 4-5 page tutorial paper which you'll present, alongside a fellow classmate or two, to your seminar leader. The tutorial gives you a chance to formulate your own personal responses to these great works, as well as to initiate a dialogue with your professor about the text and your writing.
Because the course includes both a lecture and a seminar, it counts for a .75 units of credit each semester. We recommend that you not overextend yourself by enrolling in too many units, especially your first semester. Since the course is a year-long course, your grade in December will be provisional. IPHS 113-114 satisfies many of your breadth requirements. It is open to both freshmen and sophomores.
Although each seminar will have its own unique feel, we recommend that you pick your seminar based on your schedule. The class experience is consistent across sections: you'll read the same texts, attend the same lectures and take exams together. Your section will remain the same throughout the year.