Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities

Applications for ISHum are reviewed on a rolling basis. Please see the Program Requirements page and the ISHum Application for information on applying.
Program RequirementsISHum Application

Please note that the Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities major will be under review by a faculty committee during the 2019–20 academic year. While the program structure and curriculum are reevaluated, Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities will not be accepting applications to the major. For current program members, those in the Classes of 2019 and 2020, the major requirements will remain the same. Information about the future of the program will be announced upon completion of the review, and no new students will be accepted in the meantime. For discussion of complementary programs of study, please see your College adviser.

Program Overview

The Bachelor of Arts degree program in Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities (ISHum) offers qualified undergraduates the opportunity to shape an interdisciplinary plan of course work centered in but not necessarily restricted to study in the humanities. The program is meant to accommodate a course of study that could not be carried out easily within a single disciplinary major.

One of the notable features of the program is the requirement that every ISHum major complete a formal BA paper at the end of his or her term of study. In these papers ISHum students integrate their disparate fields of interest in truly interdisciplinary ways. The BA paper will normally be a work of analysis and research. It is also possible to make a creative BA project (in, for instance, poetry, visual art, or theater), which would be accompanied by an analytical write-up of the project’s methodology and its conceptual background or range of implications.

A currently enrolled University of Chicago undergraduate interested in becoming an ISHum major must submit an application. This application consists of the student’s selection and rationalization of a plan of courses that form a discrete field of interdisciplinary study. The application process is designed to make clear in each individual case what intellectual concerns are to be related to one another through interdisciplinary study and what method of comparative analysis is suited to such an approach.

Each student’s ISHum program of study comprises a primary field of six courses and two supporting fields of three courses each. (The ISHum degree program is laid out in detail on the Program Requirements page.) Below is a list of the titles that recent students have given to their fields, primary field first.

Past Primary and Secondary/Supporting Field Programs

The Role of Sculpture; Media Theory and Art-Historical Perspectives; Gender and Its Role in Media.

Subjectvity; Ethnic/Racial/Class Studies; Arts and Perception.

Film/Performance Studies; Interdisciplinary Study of (Bodily) Animacy/Inanimacy/Humanity; Czech Cultural Studies.

Theories and Histories of Media; Media Culture and Its Objects; Photography in Practice.

Theater; Linguistics; Creative Writing.

History of Aesthetics; Philosophy; Cultural Anthropology.

Slavic Literature; Germanic Literature; Literary Theory and Psychoanalysis.

Discourses on the Modern in Philosophy and Literature; Reading the Contemporary Art Object; Foundations of the Modernist Text.

Theoretical Approaches to Identity; Trauma, Commemoration, and Historical Memory; Community, Identity, and Art.

Predictability vs. Spontaneity, and Their Respective Relations to Good and Evil; God as External, and Therefore Metaphysical; God as Internal, and Therefore Aesthetic.