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MIT staff blogger Chris Peterson SM '13

Humans 101 @ MIT by Chris Peterson SM '13

introductory SHASS classes this fall and recapping the lightning talks

Every year the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS) publishes a list of introductory subjects offered across its departments. The purpose of the list is to provide admitted students with a basic roadmap to the SHASSy side of MIT as they try to navigate the Institute and figure out where their interests lie. Many MIT students are interested in SHASS subjects, but economics at MIT is different from AP Macro, and disciplines like CMS/STS are rarely offered at high schools. So this list can help articulate/reveal the many options available as students consider their HASS requirement or disciplinary focus.

The list for fall 2017 includes:


21A.00 Introduction to Anthropology: Comparing Human Cultures; HASS-S  | G. Jones
21A.500J/STS.075J Technology and Culture; HASS-S  | S. Helmreich
21A.520 Magic, Science, and Religion; HASS-S  | G. Jones

Comparative Media Studies (CMS)

CMS.100 Introduction to Media Studies; HASS-H, CI-H  | J. Picker and S. Hong
CMS.300 Introduction to Videogame Theory; HASS-H  | M. Jakobsson
CMS.309J/21W.763J Transmedia Storytelling: Modern Science Fiction; HASS-A  | H. Hendershot


14.01 Principles of Microeconomics; HASS-S  | J. Gruber
14.02 Principles of Macroeconomics; HASS-S  | R. Caballero
14.73 The Challenge of World Poverty; HASS-S, CI-H  | F. Schilbach

Global Studies and Languages (GSL)

21G.030J/WGS.236J  Introduction to East Asian Cultures: From Zen to K-Pop; HASS-H  | E. Teng
21G.064  Introduction to Japanese Culture; HASS-H, CI-H  | P. Roquet
21G.070  Latin America and the Global Sixties: Counterculture and Revolution; HASS-H, CI-H | S. Greene

GSL offers language instruction courses at a variety of levels to suit your skills. All but ELS provide subjects for complete beginners:  Chinese, English Language Studies, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.


21H.001 How to Stage a Revolution; HASS-H, CI-H | P. Alimagham, M. Ghachem, C. Horan
21H.130 The Ancient World: Greece; HASS-H, CI-H | S. Ostrow
21H.157 The Making of Modern South Asia; HASS-S | S. Aiyar


24.900 Introduction to Linguistics; HASS-S, CI-H | A. Albright


21L.015 Children’s Literature; HASS-H, CI-H  | A. Bahr, M. Gubar
21L.021 Comedy; HASS-H, CI-H | P. Donaldson
21L.024 Literature and Existentialism (Proposed); HASS-H, CI-H | E. Brinkema


21M.011 Introduction to Western Music; HASS-A, CI-H | E. Pollock, T. Neff, A. Boyles
21M.030 Introduction to World Music ; HASS-A, CI-H | P. Tang, L. Flood
21M.051 Fundamentals of Music; HASS-A |  E. Kwon, K. Salfelder


24.01 Classics of Western Philosophy; HASS-H, CI-H | S. Haslanger
24.02 Moral Problems and the Good Life; HASS-H, CI-H | K. Setiya
24.08J/9.48J Philosophical Issues in Brain Science; HASS-H, CI-H  | E. J. Green

Political Science

17.20 Introduction to the American Political Process; HASS-S, CI-H  | D. Caughey
17.40 American Foreign Policy: Past, Present, and Future; HASS-S, CI-H | S. Van Evera
17.56 Politics of Crime and Policing (Proposed); HASS-S, CI-H | R. Bateson

Science, Technology, and Society (STS)

STS.004 Intersections: Science, Technology, and the World; HASS-H  | D. Fitzgerald
STS.026 History of Manufacturing in America; HASS-H  | M. Roe Smith

Theater Arts

21M.603 Introduction to Design for the Theater; HASS-A  | S. Brown
21M.604J/21W.754J Playwriting I; HASS-A  | L. Harrington, K. Urban
21M.605 Voice and Speech for the Actor; HASS-A  | K. Eastley, O. D’Ambrosio

Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS)

WGS.101 Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies; HASS-H, CI-H  | A. Walsh
WGS.110J/21H.108J  Sexual and Gender Identities; HASS-H  | C. Horan
WGS.S10 Special Subject: History of Women in Science and Engineering (New) | M. Weinstock


21W.747 Rhetoric; HASS-H, CI-H  | S. Strang
21W.755 Writing and Reading Short Stories; HASS-A  | S. Lewitt
21W.762 Poetry Workshop; HASS-A  | E. Barrett

If you’re interested in seeing the full range of courses at MIT, you can also browse the subject listings or departmental course listings.

For a visual tour-de-SHASS, you can also stare at this gorgeous, hand-illustrated poster representing this year’s SHASS Lightning Talks at CPW.

I explained the Lightning Talks in a blog entry last year. Basically, at CPW we have 10 faculty members give 5 minute talks on whatever the most exciting/interesting topic in the world to them is at that moment. This year, we had:

As an alumnus of (and occasionally lecturer in) CMS, I’ve always loved the SHASS courses at MIT, and view the particular kind of humanistic work we do as a strength of the Institute. Hopefully the courses, posters, and talks above serve as a useful map to the wonderful world of SHASS at MIT.