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Enhancing The Humanities At Bowdoin

About Course Clusters

May 2013

A grant from the Andrew Mellon Foundation is helping the  College launch an ambitious cross-disciplinary initiative encompassing various facets of the humanities.

 During these last busy days of classes as we gear up for final exams and commencement, we are also hard at work preparing a number of exciting new opportunities for students when they return to campus in the fall.

With a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Bowdoin is embarking on an initiative that will support thematic instruction across the humanities.

Through this initiative, areas within the existing curriculum will be coordinated as multi-year “course clusters” connected by a common theme (for example, the “Civil War Era”), creating collaborations that provide a path for students to explore such a theme from many perspectives over the course of their Bowdoin education, in conjunction with—or alongside—their majors and minors.

Each cluster of courses will offer new opportunities for students to engage with faculty research, provide support for independent student research, and incorporate symposia and lectures involving distinguished visiting speakers. Together these activities will enrich the experience of students across traditional disciplinary boundaries and nurture a stronger intellectual community among faculty and students in the humanities and humanistic social sciences.

The three inaugural clusters, The Civil War EraMediterranean Studies; and Medieval & Early Modern Studies, are described here. Chosen earlier this year through a competitive review of proposals from faculty, each of these course clusters reflects shared research and teaching interests among faculty from a range of disciplines and departments.