Sunday, October 10, 2010

HUST hits the Chi-town

Images from our semi-annual trip to the Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Graduate School Night - 10/11/10

Graduate School Night
Monday, October 11th
5:30-6:30 p.m.
140 Spes Unica

Please join us for an informal presentation and discussion on applying to and attending graduate school, led by Humanistic Studies professors John Shinners and Laura Williamson Ambrose. Topics will include the application process, an overview of traditional graduate programs in the humanities (M.A., Ph.D., and professional programs), information about funding options, general advice from faculty, strategies for writing the personal statement, and a "how to" session on describing your major and your liberal arts experience. For more information, contact Laura Williamson Ambrose at

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Free Lecture in Chicago

The Newberry Library Center for Renaissance Studies is happy to present its second History of the Book Lecture of the 2010-11 academic year:

2:00 p.m. Friday, 10/1, "Catholic Bible Publishing in the Vernacular after the Council of Trent: A European Overview," François Dupuigrenet-Deroussilles, Florida State University,

A reception will follow the lecture.

This event is free and open to the public; registration in advance is required.

Renaissance music

Friday, October 1
Debartolo Performing Arts Center

From the Debartolo website:
The 14-voice a cappella ensemble Pomerium transports us to the time of Michelangelo and Pope Julius II. Grand and solemn music in the Roman style of the High Renaissance, Musica Vaticana 1503–1534, includes richly textured motets preserved in the musical manuscripts copied for the Sistine Chapel choir. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Professor Bruno P. Schlesinger (1911-2010)

Founder, Endowed Chair, Master Teacher, Mentor, Friend

Link to his obituary in the South Bend Tribune

There will be a memorial service for Prof. Schlesinger on Wednesday, September 22 at 4:15 PM in Regina Chapel. Please note the time change.

This message from Director of Alumnae Relations Karen M. O'Leary was sent to SMC alums:

It is with a very heavy heart that I share with you news about the passing of one of the College’s most revered professors. Professor Emeritus Bruno Schlesinger, founder of the Christian Culture Program (Humanistic Studies), passed away peacefully at the age of 99.

Dr. Schlesinger was a true Renaissance man. His abiding interest in music, art, philosophy, and history made him the embodiment of the humanities on the Saint Mary’s campus for 60 years. His wide-ranging curiosity made him a model of interdisciplinary engagement for students and faculty.

Dr. Schlesinger’s devotion to the College was matched only by his students’ devotion to him. I know I speak for many alumnae in saying that he personified the “personal touch” that is such a characteristic of Saint Mary’s in the way he kept in touch with former students through countless letters, telephone calls, and visits. So, while we may have lost a dear professor, we know his influence lives on in the many alumnae who benefitted from his educational theories and expertise.

The College will remember him at a prayer service on Wednesday, September 22nd at 4:30 p.m. in the Regina Chapel. All alumnae are invited to attend.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Spotlight on Emily Foldenauer

Emily Foldenauer is part of the class of 2012 and is a Communications Major and Humanistic Studies Minor. Her favorite thing about HUST is the reading of a wide-range of texts as well as the historical background it offers. She's always loved literature and history. Emily believes her Communications major ties in well with her minor in HUST with the emphasis on participation and discussion that is inherent in the HUST courses. Emily is looking forward to seeing where her major in Communications will take her as well her minor in HUST.

Meet our majors

Tara Doyle
Emily Foldenauer
Kristen Glomb
Megan Haigh
Maggie LeMay
Alexandra Mauro
Molly Payne
Meredith Rizzo
Kimberly Roland
Hilary Ropp
Erin Scully
Amber Triano
Caitlin Yonto

Spotlight on Meredith Rizzo

Meredith Rizzo is a member of the class of 2012. In addition to graduating with a major in Humanistic Studies, Meredith is working on minors in Spanish and Religious Studies. Meredith spent the past academic year studying abroad in Rome, an experience she says she will never forget. She is excited to study the culture, history, and work of the Renaissance next semester through the Humanistic Studies department. Recently, Meredith has started a branch of Will Work For Food, a non-profit volunteer organization, on Saint Mary’s Campus. As president of Saint Mary’s Will Work For Food, she plans and partakes in various volunteer efforts. Meredith has many different interests and passions, but her biggest dream is to travel the world. Meredith is enjoying her time at Saint Mary's and is looking forward to her last three semesters. After graduating from Saint Mary's, Meredith hopes to be accepted into the ACE Teaching program at Notre Dame.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Summer Spotlight: Molly Haigh ('11)

This summer started early for me as I finished up my semester in Rome right before Easter on March 31. I then traveled for a few weeks throughout Italy and Germany (ending by getting stuck in London for a few days because of the Icelandic Volcano) with my family before returning to South Bend to attend summer school at Saint Mary's. I wasn't able to line up an internship for the summer after trying since November and the whole time I was in Rome to get one. I ended up staying the remainder of the summer after summer school (June-August) in South Bend  trying to find a job. I worked on a large design project for Saint Mary's including both summer and fall orientation programs for both parents and students and t-shirts for each day Welcome Week move-in weekend as well as the four dorms. I also helped my triplet brother (who is a student at Notre Dame) start up his website business,, that is essentially a platform for local business owners in the South Bend community to advertise their business (specials, coupons, locations, etc) to students and their families, bringing both the campus and community life together, benefiting both parties. At the end of the summer, I also started working at the new Irish pub at Eddy St. Commons, Kildare's Irish pub. 

Now, I am trying to catch my breath and figure out how I am going to manage the semester. It's good to be back though!

Christian Culture Lecture 2010

You are
cordially invited to
the Saint Mary’s College
Christian Culture Lecture, 2010

Thomas Cahill
"The End of Christian Divisions: Achieving Reunion Through Truth-telling"
Wednesday, September 22, 2010 7:30 p.m.
O'Laughlin Auditorium
Saint Mary's College
(book signing to follow)

The major divisions of Christianity -- Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant -- could find reunion tomorrow afternoon, if only each division would admit that it is continuing to guard a favorite assumption that just doesn't hold up to rational scrutiny. This unnecessary manning of antiquated theological barricades is the work of clergy, many of whom might suffer significant loss if such a reunion were ever to come about. Lay Christians, however, would gain tremendously.

Thomas Cahill is the author of the best-selling books, How the Irish Saved Civilization, The Gifts of the Jews, Desire of the Everlasting Hills, Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea, and the Mysteries of the Middle Ages, the first five books The Hinges of History®, a prospective seven-volume series in which he recounts formative moments in Western civilization and the evolution of Western sensibility. He holds a B.A. in classical literature and philosophy from Fordham University and an M.F.A. from Columbia University. He has taught at Queens College, Fordham University, and Seton Hall University, served as the North American education correspondent for the Times of London, and was for many years a regular contributor to the Los Angeles Times Book Review. His most recent book is A Saint on Death Row: How a Forgotten Child Became a Man and Changed a World.

Tickets are required for this free event and are available at the Moreau Center Box Office, online, or over the phone. Box Office Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information call (574) 284-4626 or visit

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Summer Spotlight: Molly Schall ('11)

This summer I was Assistant Director at Camp Ella J. Logan, a resident girl scout camp in Northern Indiana. In addition to working in the office and acting as supervisor to the counselors, I was a lifeguard, and a boating and archery instructor.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Summer Spotlight: Hannahbeth Fischer ('11)

I had the privilege of working with several up-and-coming companies in St. Louis this summer. aTrek Dance Collective ( gave me the opportunity to write dance education grants, edit/design websites and develop the marketing campaign for the major Midwest Dance Intensive in St. Louis. aTrek is a not-for-profit collective dance group that supports developing artists and collaboration with the community. I loved working to build the Dance Co-op, because I think collaborative arts are the best for artists and the community. I was able to train with a summer-long dance intensive, and perform twice with IMPULSE Dance Intensive.

The Greitens Group ( is a rapidly growing company aiming to transform the country's view on public service and leadership. Working with Eric Greitens gave me exposure to social entrenpreneurship, publishing, research and writing. Supporting both The Mission Continues, a not-for-profit serving wounded and disabled war veterans (, and The Greitens Group Foundation, I worked with people who are dedicated to promoting awareness about international humanitarian issues by way of connecting and encouraging people to pathways of active public service.

Near the end of the summer I also jumped on board with Common Thread Dance, a brand new dance company in St. Louis. I am developing the video promos and campaigns under the direction of Jennifer Medina. (

Summer Spotlight: Martha Walter ('11)

I went on the European Summer Study Program which traveled to Paris, London, Edinburgh and Dublin. It was my first time traveling abroad and I had an amazing time! It was awesome to see things that I have been seeing in pictures my whole life such as the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, and even Abbey Road. I went to several art galleries (my favorite was the National Gallery in London) and saw many paintings that we have studied and discussed in our HUST classes. Thank you to the HUST department for giving me a grant to help pay for the trip!

Summer Spotlight: Megan Loney ('12)

I spent the summer interning at the U.S. Army Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute (located on Carlisle Barracks, PA). This was my second summer interning here. I spent my time updating the United Nations Peace Operations Case Studies that the organization keeps. I learned a lot this summer, but not necessarily from the specific work that I did. I learned the most from the people that work at PKSOI who are a mix of army personel, civilian contractors, representatives from the Department of State and USAID, and international fellows. Each one has extraordinary stories from their first-hand experiences. I was able to tour the Pentagon and the USAID offices in Washington, D.C. This summer has only strengthened my interest in working with an NGO or USAID in the foreign service after graduate school.

The photo is of all of the interns at the beginning of the summer on the steps of Upton Hall, the location of PKSOI, on Carlisle Barracks.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Notre Dame Shakespeare

Shakespeare season has begun again at Notre Dame. Check out the summer schedule for Cymbeline, The Taming of the Shrew, and the Shakespeare-inspired Kiss Me Kate.

Monday, May 17, 2010

We will miss you, Gail!

Picture taken at a lovely retirement dinner hosted by Professor Hicks.

HUST Graduates 2010

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Honors Convocation

Here are some photos from this year's Honors Convocation and hooding ceremony.

Monday, April 26, 2010

HUST hits Chicago

Recently, five Humanistic Studies majors joined Prof. Laura Williamson Ambrose on a trip to Chicago to see the Chicago Shakespeare Company's performance of The Taming of the Shrew. The group also met up with two of our fabulous alums: Carolyn Maltby and Molly Anne Gainey. The trip was organized by Prof. Chris Cobb in the English Department.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Tribute to Gail Mandell

As you may know, Professor Gail Mandell is retiring after close to forty years at Saint Mary’s. As you also know, she has been a guiding spirit of Humanistic Studies since she started teaching in the program in 1978, and all of you who passed through her classroom will have fond memories of the impact she made on your education and your life.

We thought it would be a fitting tribute to her to gather reflections from those of you who had Gail in some of the hundreds of Colloquiums and other courses she taught over the years. To that end, would those so inclined send us a brief reminiscence of, anecdote about, or greeting to Gail? If you have any relevant photos these would also be appreciated. We will collect these and put them into a presentation book for her. We will also post your reflections on the Hust blog.

If you could send these to us by April 15 (, we would be grateful.

With thanks in advance,
The Hust faculty

On Saint Patrick's Day last week, 2010 Christian Culture Lecturer Thomas Cahill published a lively piece in the New York Times Op-Ed page called "Turning Green with Literacy" about the role of early medieval Irish monks and other copyists in preserving much of the literature of Greco-Roman antiquity. It's a re-cap of the argument he made in How the Irish Saved Civilization, the first volume in his "Hinges of History" series whose last volume he will preview in his Lecture on September 22.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

In Our Classroom

In Colloquium and Cultural History
In "Lives and Times"
In "Greek and Roman Culture"
In "Asian Influence"
In "High Society"

Sunday, March 21, 2010

To be or not to be...Shakespeare?

Hilary Mantel, author of the Booker Prize winning novel, Wolf Hall, reviews Shakespeare scholar, James Shapiro's, new book, Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare? in The Guardian. Both Mantel and Shapiro have hit it big in the "crossover" market of highly popular, academically sound works on the early modern period in England. Mantel's novel tells the story of Anne Boleyn's rise and fall from the perspective of Thomas Cromwell; Shapiro's 1599 accounts for a pivotal year in the life of Shakespeare. All of these find company with Stephen Greenblatt's Will in the World, coincidentally published around the same time as 1599.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

HUST Week - March 22-26

Be on the look-out for the HUST Week events. Enjoy bagels and coffee with current students-- on hand to answer your burning HUST questions-- and a Careers in the Humanities Panel and Workshop.

Monday, 3/22 (9-11 a.m.):
Free bagels, coffee and answers to your questions about HUST
(first floor of Spes Unica)

Wednesday, 3/24 (6-7:30 p.m.):
"What will *you* do with a major in the humanities?": 
A Presentation, Discussion and Resume Workshop with HUST Faculty
Refreshments Provided (140 Spes Unica)

Friday, 3/26 (6-8 p.m.): 
HUST Club Meeting
Film (Bright Star), Pizza, and Used Book Exchange
Open to all (140 Spes Unica)

HUST Goes to the Shakespeare Theater, Fall 2009

Humanistic Studies majors attended the Chicago Shakespeare Company's production of Richard III in October, 2009.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Graduate School Resources

Choosing a Graduate School:

Keeping in mind the tough job market:

Alumnae resumes needed!

The Humanistic Studies Department is committed to preparing our current majors for life beyond the Saint Mary's classroom. Our course of study has been designed with this very objective in mind: we envision our coursework in the literature and history of Europe and the Americas as a crucial step in a lifelong learning process. So, too, do we understand the pressures of the 21st-century job market and the importance of translating these valuable HUST experiences and skills to employers, graduate schools, and colleagues.

It is with this in mind that we invite our alumnae to contribute to the Humanistic Studies Resume Archive. This collection will serve as a repository of alumnae resumes, a working pool of sample resumes that current students might reference as they begin the process of composing and creating their own job documents. Our goals are also more immediate: as a part of "HUST Week" activities, the Humanistic Studies Department will be offering a resume writing workshop to current and prospective majors. We feel that your career experiences and life path will be of particular interest to our current graduating class.

Of course, all names, addresses, and personal information will be removed from the documents to maintain anonymity. The archive itself will remain private--only accessible to the faculty and students of Saint Mary's College. The Humanistic Studies faculty and students would be equally interested in learning more about where your HUST degree has taken you. Feel free to offer informal thoughts, reflections, and suggestions to our current majors in our "Share your story" form.

If you would like to contribute, please send your resume or CV to We look forward to hearing from many of you soon.

LinkedIn HUST Group

The Humanistic Studies Department invites current students and alumnae to join our new online alumni group on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is an online social network that connects people through easy-to-use, professional profile pages. In other words, it's a digital resume network. As such, it's perfectly suited to further developing the strong ties that already bind HUST graduates to one another, both past and present. Humanistic Studies has graduated an impressive group of women in its nearly sixty-year history. We are excited to continue to forge relationships among students, faculty, and alumnae in the digital domain.

How does it work?
Each person fills out her own work history, interests, and information; all of this is then "connected" to the profiles and resumes of fellow LinkedIn users. You decide who you connect with and what information is visible. In addition to work history, individuals can post personal webpages, brief bios, blogs, and other digital media related to their fields of work, experiences, and professional interests.

Why join?
With the current economic climate and the rise of the digital age, forging online networks has become more than simply a social pastime (on Facebook, MySpace, etc.). And, if who you know is sometimes as important as what you know, professional websites like LinkedIn offer unique opportunities to network online. Current students might use our HUST network to learn what careers our alums have pursued; past graduates might reconnect with old classmates; "connected" members might share job opportunities or advice. Whether you're just venturing onto the job market for the first time or reflecting on the many opportunities that have already come your way, your participation in our Student and Alumni Group will serve and strengthen the growing community of Humanistic Studies members.

Of course, our network also has the potential for social or even intellectual uses. Members could use the group to announce events (the annual Christian Culture Lecture, talks, concerts, festivals, museum exhibits, etc.), news articles, or even book lists.

How do I join?
Begin by signing up for LinkedIn. Once you have an account, go to the HUST Student and Alumni Network page on LinkedIn: also accessible here Request to join, and you will receive an approval within 24 hours. In order to protect the privacy of our members, the group will not be public--therefore, there will be a brief delay as we "approve" your request.

We hope you decide to join our digital community. Please email us at if you have any questions.

Spotlight on Brigette Mysliwiec

Brigette Mysliwiec is a current senior, majoring in Humanistic Studies and Art History. Brigette spent a delightful semester studying in Rome in the spring of her sophomore year where she was able to grow in her love of history and Renaissance art. When not studying Art History or Humanistic studies, she plays the piano and sings in a choir. Upon graduating, she plans to work at an art museum. Brigette's blog is here.

Spotlight on Hannahbeth Fischer

Hannahbeth Fischer is a member of the 2011 graduating class and a native to South Bend. She is pursuing a double degree in Humanistic Studies and a Student-Designed Major (SDM), approved in May 2009. It is a collaboration of digital media, dance arts and women's studies. (It has yet to be titled. Please email suggestions to hfisch01@ saintmarys dot edu). She is especially interested in interdisciplinary studies, which brought her to Humanistic Studies and an SDM. Hannahbeth co-directs a student dance collective on campus and sits as Ambassador on the River Park Arts Community board in South Bend. She recently received a grant to work with two non-profit organizations in South Bend to install a mural downtown. Before coming to Saint Mary's Hannahbeth took a year to travel with a performing arts company that is based in South Africa and tours in the States. If you cannot find her in the HUST department, dance studio or computer lab, you will most likely find her dancing in the sunshine or drinking coffee with other HUSTers. Hannahbeth's HUST blog is here.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spotlight on Grace Lape

Grace Lape is a Humanistic Studies major graduating this spring. She spent a semester studying abroad in Seville, Spain in the spring of her sophomore year. Last summer Grace interned in the Bronx and worked with women in crisis pregnancies. Over the past four years Grace has enjoyed the volunteer opportunities Saint Mary's has offered and participated in tutoring, coaching, and other service activities with various clubs. Currently, Grace stays busy by fulfilling her role as Saint Mary's Right to Life president, spending time with the elderly Holy Cross sisters at the nearby convent, and serving on the leadership council for Students for Life of Illinois. After graduation Grace plans on moving to Chicago and starting a volunteer core to work with pregnant women in the inner city.

Spotlight on Hannah Blad

Hannah will graduate with a degree in Humanistic Studies in 2011. Hannah has a minor in Biology and Intercultural Studies. In the summer of 2010, she will go abroad on the Saint Mary's European Summer Study program. After life at Saint Mary's, Hannah would like to earn a Master's in American Studies or a liberal arts program. When not at school, she works as a receptionist at a car dealership.

Spotlight on Kate Simon

Kate Simon, class of 2011, is pursuing a double major in Humanistic Studies and English Literature. Though she grew up in New Orleans, her parents have lived the last few years in Kuwait, a move that afforded her incredible opportunity for travel. This summer, she will be participating in a research program at the University of Michigan, studying gender and race relations in Shakespeare. When not studying HUST or English, she can be found working with Campus Ministry as a peer minister or drinking coffee in the sunshine. You can find her ePortfolio here.

Spotlight on Megan Hooper

Megan Hooper is a senior HUST and Biology double major and Chemistry minor from Traverse City, Michigan. Megan also works at the Saint Mary’s Writing Center, helping other students appreciate and acquire their own writing skills. She has volunteered with various organizations in her four years at Saint Mary’s, including: South Bend Center for the Homeless, Memorial Hospital and Little Flower Parish. Megan will be attending Wayne State University School of Medicine in the fall of 2010, where she will undoubtedly dazzle her medical school colleagues with her knowledge of the humanities, from Icelandic sagas and the Benedictine Rule to Dante and Chaucer. Megan's blog is accessible here.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spotlight on Meghan Kelly

Meghan Kelly is a member of the class of 2010. She is majoring in Humanistic Studies, as well as double-minoring in Spanish and Sociology. Meghan spent her entire sophomore year abroad in Seville, Spain, and went abroad again during the summer of 2009 to travel China on a generous grant from the HUST department. At Saint Mary's, she works as an assistant for Dr. Alice Siqin Yang in CWIL (Center for Women's Intercultural Leadership) and is also a Eucharistic Minister. She has also been able to find time to play the piano this semester. Meghan is an active member of the Humanistic Studies Club where she can help plan HUST week and bring awareness of the major to underclasswomen. Upon graduating, Meghan will pursue a Master's in Speech and Language Pathology. Read Meghan's blog here.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spotlight on Molly Haigh

Molly Haigh, Humanistic Studies class of 2011, spent the last year studying abroad in the Saint Mary's Rome Program. Studying abroad has been a great way to "see the history and experience the western tradition first-hand," expanding upon her HUST education. Molly is completing a minor in Studio Art. In the future, Molly would like to work in the publishing industry or earn a Master's in Education. When she returns to campus, Molly will resume a busy schedule of working as a Dance Marathon Committee member, a Resident's Hall Association board member, working a part-time job and playing intramural basketball.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Spotlight on Molly Schall

Molly Schall, class of 2011, keeps very busy studying for her Humanistic Studies and German majors. In addition to being a double major, Molly is receiving a minor in Mathematics. This well-rounded HUSTie is the Secretary of the Around the World Club, Secretary of the German Club, a Resident Advisor in Holy Cross Hall, a Student Ambassador, and an alumna of the Notre Dame Innsbruck, Austria program. Molly's future plans are open, but she continues to foster a growing interest in Education programs and Museology. Read Molly's blog here.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Career Resources

The Job Hunt & Resumes

Tips & Resources:

The Humanities & the Job Market
  • This recent article from the Harvard Business Review nicely articulates the concrete skills and perspective that humanities graduates bring to the workplace.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The HUST Bookshelf

A few years ago one of our majors was walking down the main hall of LeMans with an armload of books. As she passed two other students she overheard one of them ask, "I wonder what her major is?" Her friend replied, "Must be Hust."

All of you remember the equation "Hust = Books." Follow these links to see some of the books we're using in our classroom and what's on our bedside tables.

HUST Christmas Celebration

Dr. Ambrose and Dr. Hicks dined with Humanistic Studies majors at Tippecanoe Place toward the end of the fall semester '09.

Spotlight on Sarah Gunn

Sarah Gunn is a member of the Humanistic Studies 2010 graduating class. In the summer of 2009, Sarah worked as an editorial intern at Simon & Schuster in London, United Kingdom. Sarah works as a student assistant in the Humanistic Studies, Philosophy and Religious Studies office in addition to writing for the news department at the Observer. After graduation, Sarah is moving to New York for an editorial internship at Penguin and would like to eventually attend graduate school for Health Communications. For a link to her blog, click here.

Spotlight on Mary Ellen Toth

Mary Ellen Toth is a current senior, majoring in Humanistic Studies and Spanish, with a minor in Philosophy. Mary Ellen spent a year studying in Seville, Spain. Back on campus, Mary Ellen sings in the Women's Choir and works as an assistant in the Spanish department. Throughout the year, Mary Ellen has coordinated events for the Humanistic Studies department, like the Christmas dinner and several HUST week programs. In the fall of 2010, Mary Ellen will begin a Master's program for Library Science. Mary Ellen's blog is here.

On Our Bedside Table

Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall (Dr. Ambrose)

Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go (Dr. Ambrose)

Toni Morrison, A Mercy (Dr. Ambrose)

Junot Diaz, The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar

(Dr. Ambrose)

Elizabeth Kostova, The Historian (Dr. Ambrose)

Geraldine Brooks, People of the Book (A history of a rare Hebrew manuscript from its origin in medieval Spain to its present-day museo-political strife around the globe.) (Sarah Gunn '10)

David Eagleman, Sum: Forty tales from the Afterlives (Eagleman's startlingly imaginative "proverbs" about what the afterlife could be, which is really more an existential projection of how we imagine and value our own lives. Charming, provocative, beautifully written.) (John Shinners)

Ross King, The Judgment of Paris: The Revolutionary Decade that Gave the World Impressionism (Author of Brunelleschi's Dome, here King explores what led to the innovations of Manet. A wonderful recreation of the mid-19th-century Paris art world.) (John Shinners)

Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible (Sarah Gunn '10)

Sigrid Undset, Kristin Lavransdatter: The Wife and The Cross (The last two volumes of Undset's epic story of Kristin, which take her from her marriage to her death bed. A great historical novel and one of the best evocations of medieval life, in this case, the 14th century.) (John Shinners)

Jeanette Walls, The Glass Castle (Sarah Gunn '10)

The New Yorker (Philip Hicks)

Salman Rushdie, The Enchantress of Florence (Dr. Ambrose)

Colloquium and Cultural History

Medieval Literature

Abelard and Heloise, Letters and the Story of My Misfortunes
Augustine, Confessions
Benedict of Nursia, Rule
Beroul, Romance of Tristan
Geoffrey Chaucer, Canterbury Tales
Dante, The Inferno
Einhard, The Life of Charlemagne
Everyman and Other Medieval Miracle Plays
Geoffroi de Charny, The Book of Chivalry
Gregory the Great, Life of St. Benedict
Hrafnkel's Saga and Other Icelandic Stories
Jean de Joinville, The Life of St. Louis
The Life of Christina Markyate
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Song of Roland
Virgil, Aeneid

Renaissance and Reformation Literature

Boccaccio, The Decameron
Robert Bolt, A Man for All Seasons
Baldassare Castiglione, The Book of the Courtier
Benevenuto Cellini, Autobiography
Laura Cereta, Collected Letters of a Renaissance Feminist
Erasmus, Praise of Folly
Ignatius Loyola, Autobiography
Martin Luther, Selected Writings
Machiavelli, The Prince
Sir John Mandeville, Travels
Thomas More, Utopia
Petrarch, My Secret, Selected Letters and Poems
Shakespeare, Sonnets

Early Modern Literature

Francis Bacon, Essays
Aphra Behn, Oroonoko
Olaudah Equiano, Narrative of the Life
Françoise de Graffigny, Letters of a Peruvian Woman
John Locke, Second Essay on Government
John Milton, Paradise Lost
Michel Montaigne, Essays
Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, Relacion
Duc de Saint-Simon, Memoirs of Louis XIV
William Shakespeare, Othello
Voltaire, Candide
Mary Wollstonecraft, Vindication of the Rights of Women

Romantic and Modern Literature

James, Baldwin, The Fire Next Time
Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights
Albert Camus, The Plague
Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents
Martha Gellhorn, The Face of War
Graham Greene, Journey Without Maps
Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude
Ivan Turgenev, Fathers and Sons
Virginia Woolf, To The Lighthouse

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Spotlight on Nicole Bieganski

Nicole Bieganski is a student of the Humanistic Studies class of 2011, in concert with her History major. An alumna of the European Summer Study program, Nicole appreciates the multifaceted nature of study in the HUST concentration. She enjoys studying the history and literature of the Western tradition, as well as the forum for discussion, creativity, and exploration that the classroom provides. Nicole is also a member of the dance company and choir at Saint Mary's. View Nicole's web page here.

Spotlight on Rachel Frank

Rachel Frank is a member of the class of 2011. Along with her Humanistic Studies major, Rachel is also pursuing a Political Science major and has completed a minor in French. In addition to acquainting herself with works of the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and politics, Rachel enjoys writing and reading as much as possible. A member of the Saint Mary's College Women's Choir and the student-run a cappella group, Bellacappella, Rachel enjoys singing and writing music. She hopes that her love of the French language one day brings her to Paris. With the help of the skills learned from her HUST education, Rachel plans on enrolling in law school in the fall of 2011, and hopes to one day work in international law. Her e-Portfolio is accessible here.

Spotlight on Martha Walter

A true interdisciplinarian and a member of the 2011 graduating class, Martha Walter has complemented her HUST major with minors in both Math and Studio Art. She is particularly interested in photography, silkscreen printing, and pottery. Martha hopes to expand her intellectual interests even further in the future by taking courses in journalism and magazine writing, with an eye toward a future career in the field. She also hopes to be able to incorporate her love of art into her life after Saint Mary's. This summer will prove especially exciting for Martha as she heads abroad for the first time as a part of the European Summer Study program. Martha's webpage is here.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Why Major?

Tell us about the Department of Humanistic Studies here at Saint Mary’s College.
Having a hard time deciding on a major? Enjoy reading, writing, and discussion? Feel as though you’d like to learn more about the “big picture” and be able to answer questions like, “How do Dante’s and Shakespeare’s works fit into history?” “How did Christianity shape the Middle Ages?” “Why are there Catholics and Protestants?” “Why did the Italian Renaissance produce so many great artists?” “What’s the link between the French and the American Revolutions?” If so, then HUST is for you!
We offer a unique, dynamic course of study that combines elements of all of the humanities and looks at culture in all its diversity. Throughout your education with HUST, you’ll be encouraged to see how it all connects: history and literature, music and art, philosophy and religion. 
What classes can the students expect to take in the Department of Humanistic Studies?
HUST offers a number of intro courses that feature spirited conversation and stimulating readings, all while fulfilling the college’s general education requirement. Some of our most popular courses include Lives & Times (HUST 103)—real-life stories of fascinating individuals throughout history; Myth, Legend, and History (HUST 197)—different ways of seeing the past from Cleopatra to the Titanic; High Society (HUST 212)—a thousand years of British royals and aristocrats from King Arthur to Princess Diana; and Greek and Roman Culture (HUST 292)—love, friendship, sex, beauty, and myth in the ancient world.
For the major, students take four tandems or paired courses (one in literature, one in cultural history) that take them through Western Civilization from the Middle Ages to the present (8 classes total, plus an art history class).
Courses in Humanistic Studies are taught by professors trained in history as well as literature, with fields of specialization that include medieval religious life, eighteenth-century women, travel literature in the seventeenth-century and twentieth-century poetry.
What campus or off-campus activities are students involved in that major in Humanistic Studies?
Humanistic Studies majors are active participants in a number of activities including dance, athletics, campus societies, campus ministry, and community service. The student-run Humanistic Studies Club offers its members a forum for sharing an interest in the humanities through a variety of academic and social events. The club also provides a space outside the classroom for majors of all years to get to know one another.
What knowledge and skills will students learn by majoring in Humanistic Studies?
Humanistic Studies prepares its graduates for both the working world and their journey as life-long learners. As a major or minor, you will sharpen your analytic abilities, enhance your writing skills, develop confidence in oral communication and delivery, and learn the art of persuasion. In our small, seminar-style classes, you will form an intellectual community with your peers by often working in teams and forming study groups. Our graduates frequently comment on their surprise at discovering how essential these assets are in the business world, from drafting grant proposals to editing online web content to coming up with a new approach to a client’s problem.
In this highly competitive 21st-century global market, it is crucial for college graduates to think outside of the box and draw connections between diverse fields, cultures, or viewpoints. HUST hones these skills and serves as an ideal preparation for law school and graduate school in the humanities, as today’s programs put a premium on interdisciplinary thinking.
The knowledge you gain during your two years as a HUST major is far-reaching as it takes you across the literature, history, thought, and art of Ancient Rome, the Middle Ages and Renaissance, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, the 19th century and up to our own day. Developing at once a deep and broad understanding of Western Culture will give you a perspective from which to appreciate other cultures, today and in the past.
In addition, our students often comment on how easily they find themselves involved in conversations they never imagined—crossing, for example, the bounds of political history, postmodern literature, renaissance art, Church history, or baroque music—with confidence and ease.
Just ask some of our majors:
  • “My HUST journey has made me a more analytical, worldly, and confident woman, able to see the ‘big picture’” (Sarah Gunn, ’10)
  • “Humanistic Studies is refining my ability to learn from multiple dimensions, whether the written word, an engraving, or a song. The ability to see connections has empowered me to understand how people frame their world and translates how I frame mine” (Hannahbeth Fischer, ’11).
What majors does a minor in Humanistic Studies complement well?
Humanistic Studies adapts well to almost any major/minor: English, History, Psychology, Modern Languages, Religious Studies, Biology, Business, Sociology and Social Work—to name a few of our most recent double-majors and minors. In addition, many of our students have studied abroad, and our program is designed to complement those experiences and schedules. In short, a double major or minor in HUST offers you the opportunity to enrich your college experience by joining the generations of women who have graduated with the breadth of knowledge and skills that HUST provides.
What internships have students participated in and what kind of research opportunities are available to students? 
Humanistic Studies majors are competitive for a number of different internships and research opportunities. Recent students have interned at Simon & Schuster Publishing (London), Ave Maria Press, Snite Museum of Art, Northern Indiana Historical Society, and the College Football Hall of Fame.  Not only does the department have special funding to support juniors in summer study abroad programs, but it also offers grants to support six-week summer internships in London, England. 
What careers can students look forward to with a major in Humanistic Studies?
Our most recent graduates have landed jobs in corporate communications, non-profit administration, teaching, and publishing. For example, Katy Karr ('06) is a communications assistant for Bank of America, New York; Anne DeCleene (2003) is a civil rights complaint investigator; Michelle Sherman (’08) teaches high school in New York City; Michelle Biersmith Hennings (2004) works for the Lyric Opera in Chicago (human resources); Kirsten Kensinger (’07) volunteers with the Peace Corps in Guatemala; Katherine Docter (2004) is a school psychologist; Kate Williams (’07) works with the Indianapolis Peace Institute; Kristine King ('08) works in the operations office of the Wisconsin State Treasurer; Rachel Berg Walters (2006) is a 1st Lieutenant in the US Army; Cara Ford (’00) is an assistant registrar at Mills College in California; Tiffany McIver (2007) is a tour guide in Rome and Regan Doherty (’97) was the Associated Press correspondent in Jerusalem before coming to her current position writing for a magazine in Bahrain that focuses on economics throughout the Persian Gulf region. Attending graduate school and law school are also natural “next steps” for many our students. Majoring in HUST gives these students an edge in the application process as they explain what makes them, and their major, unique.
Other popular careers for HUST majors include museum work, library and information sciences, business, sales, and insurance. For more information on Careers with HUST, see the testimonials for HUST graduates on our website: Also see the presentation, "What are you going to do with a major in the Humanities?" give during HUST Week 2010.
If a student wanted to know more about Humanistic Studies as a major or minor (if applicable), what would be the next step?
For more information about our program, feel free to talk it over with a professor: Laura Williamson Ambrose (, John Shinners (, Philip Hicks (, or Gail Mandell ( We will explain how our flexible, dynamic major/minor courses can fit into your college plan. Some of our best resources, of course, are the students themselves. Humanistic Studies majors would be happy to share their thoughts and experiences about the program, as well as their reasons for deciding to go with HUST. Just email a faculty member and we can connect you with a current student. Finally, you can learn more about our program online ( or on our brochure, available in the Humanities Suite, first floor of Spes Unica (east end).

Other Resources:
Notre Dame's First Year of Studies offers a "Why Major in...?" podcast series. The podcast by the Dean of Arts & Letters nicely compliments the goals of Humanistic Studies.

(Content originally posted on the Career Center's "Spotlight on an Academic Department")


The Humanistic Studies Club has as its major goals: to provide a forum for Saint Mary's students to share their interest in the humanities; to sponsor academic, social, and cultural activities that serve this end; to offer opportunities for junior and senior majors to get to know one another; to help recruit students to the Humanistic Studies major; to generate enthusiasm for the major generally. In the past, the Club has sponsored lectures, organized field trips, hosted parties, and produced HUST t-shirts and sweatshirts.

This is a student-run Club. In any given year, the level of activity or even the existence of the Club has depended on the interest and support of Saint Mary's students. Membership is open to any Saint Mary's student who shares the goals of the Club, whether she is a Humanistic Studies major or not. No one class is intended to lead the Club. For this reason, elections for offices are organized so that both seniors and juniors can provide joint leadership for the Club. The department's S.A.C. Representative may or may not be an officer.

The Club was founded in 1991 by Tracy Hartzler-Toon '92. In the early years of the Club, Professor Hicks served as advisor. Since the late 1990s the Chair of the department has assumed that role.

Anyone interested in further information regarding the Club should contact one of its officers or the Chair of the department.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Meet the Faculty

Laura Williamson Ambrose, Assistant Professor 
Professor Ambrose teaches several of the Colloquium courses in the Humanistic Studies Department, but her area of specialization is in early modern English literature. She has also enjoyed teaching the Department's introductory course, "Lives and Times", in which students examine the relationship between place and identity in memoirs, short stories, novels, and plays. Her published works include "Travel in Time: Local Travel and Seventeenth-Century English Almanacs" (Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, 2013), "The Blended Advising Model: Transforming Advising with ePortfolios" (International Journal of ePortfolio, 2013), and a forthcoming article on travel in Shakespeare's England (Cambridge World Shakespeare Encyclopedia).  Professor Williamson Ambrose also organizes the Department's notable Christian Culture Lecture. You can find out more on her ePortfolio.

Philip Hicks, Professor
Professor Hicks teaches several of the Department's Cultural History Courses as well as the introductory classes, "High Society" and "Lives and Times." His interests in eighteenth-century history and culture have led him to publish several articles on gender and political identity and a book length study, Neoclassical History and English Culture: From Clarendon to Hume (1996). Professor Hicks is Chair of the department.

John Shinners, Professor (
While he is trained as a medieval historian, Professor Shinners teaches a range of Humanistic Studies courses including the popular "Greek and Roman Culture" as well as several Cultural History and Colloquium courses. His published works include Medieval Popular Religion: 1000-1500 (2000) and Pastors and the Care of Souls in Medieval England (1998). Professor Shinners was named Bruno P. Schlesinger Chair in 2010.

Gail Mandell, Professor (
Professor Mandell has taught and developed all of the Department's Colloquium courses as well as a popular tandem class between Humanistic Studies and Psychology. She has also enjoyed teaching the introductory course, "Asian Influence on Western Culture." Dr. Mandell has published several books including Phoenix Paradox: A Study of Renewal through Change in the Collected Poems and Last Poems of D.H. Lawrence (1984) and a biography on Sister Madeleva, Madeleva: A Biography (1997). Professor Mandell retired in 2010.

HUST Alumnae

Alumnae Profiles:

Sunday, February 14, 2010

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