Humanities students are required to take two 3-credit mandatory core seminars in their first year: HUMA 888 (Methodology) and HUMA 889 (Thematic). The specific content of these courses may vary from year to year. See below for current and selected past course descriptions.

Humanities 2022-2023 Courses

Fall 2022

HUMA 888: Seminar in Interdisciplinary Studies I (3 Credits)

Positioning research creation: Theory, History and Practice

Professor: Cynthia Hammond, Department of Art History

Course Description

This course will address core questions that arise as students enter their first, doctoral-level seminar in an interdisciplinary degree setting: How does one move from mono-disciplinary training to an interdisciplinary research mode? What is the difference between a research method and a research methodology? How does my planned work count as “knowledge”? And if I don’t (yet) know the answers to these questions, do I really belong in this program (am I an imposter?). By helping students answer these and other questions for themselves, the course will help students to articulate and frame their work for the purposes of grant applications, research proposals, and ethics protocols. Relatedly, the course plan is designed to introduce students to degree expectations, and some of the key steps that they should anticipate along the way.

We will take a case study to orient our collective learning: the still-emerging theory and practice of research-creation. Traditionally, western universities have considered the creative arts to be separate from other disciplines, because it was assumed that the arts could not produce objective truths, reasoned arguments, and thus could not “contribute to knowledge.” In recent years, however, new forms of inquiry have surfaced, including research-creation, social practice, autoethnography, and creative oral history methods, none of which make claims to objectivity or universal truth. All insist, in fact, on breaking down the purported barrier between the researcher and the researched. What, then, do such approaches produce, as knowledge? The answers are important to Humanities PhD students because, as part of their journey as doctoral candidates in a scholarly program, they must ultimately be able to defend their own work as having produced knowledge, no matter what disciplines and methods they have chosen to employ.

This course will be useful for students who are planning to take a research-creation approach in their doctorate, likewise for students who want to better understand what methodology and interdisciplinarity are, and mean, for their own work in the Humanities program. It will be of great interest to students who have wondered about the (perhaps covert) creative aspects of their own prior training, in any field.

Winter 2023

HUMA 889: Seminar in Interdisciplinary Studies II (3 credits)

Embodiments: Reciprocity

Professor: Dr. VK Preston, Department of History

Course Description

This course brings interdisciplinary conversations on embodiment, performance, and theory into shared focus with contemporary reflection on reciprocity. It builds on the research-creation focus of HUMA 888 (Fall 2022) to take up themes traversing knowledge-sharing through the affordances of our class’s location between faculties, practices, and facilities. This enquiry extends to co-relationship as taken up in the work of Indigenous scientists as well as writers in fields from performance theory to queer phenomenology.

The aim of the course is to support incoming doctoral students’ access to university resources, processes, and programs. Coursework includes perception-based scores, instructions, and experiential worldings as well as close reading and assignments that engage in collective study of both works of art and writerly theoretical enquiry. This approach draws from critical dance studies, performance theory, research-creation, media history, archival theory, and embodiment studies. Engaging with work by artist-scholars across disciplines, alongside cultural and critical theory, this course considers pluralism a keystone of enquiry shaping interdisciplinary speculation.

This course’s objective is to support graduate-level research. Particular attention turns to questions of the public, of the library, and the activation of spaces between us. More finely, this course explores arguments regarding the concept of embodiment in writing on kinesthetics, theories of capital, illness, movement, disability, politics, and resistance. These sites of enquiry necessarily take us towards Indigenous-settler relations, critical university studies, race, gender, and intersectional enquiry. In addition, we’ll look at writing on editing, revision, and the circulation of ideas—reaching towards artists, authors, and editors who engage with expanding possibilities of publication.


In addition to the two core Humanities courses, students take a selection of elective coursework usually distributed as 3-credit courses in their three fields. These elective courses normally consist of a combination of 3-credit directed study tutorials and regularly scheduled graduate courses offered by other departments that are relevant to the student's program of study. Please note that the selection of courses is determined in consultation with the student’s advisory committee, in accordance with the needs of the student’s program of study and available faculty resources. The number of elective courses a student is required to take is dependant on their curriculum stream:

  • Curriculum stream 2017 and after: 4 courses (12 credits)
  • Curriculum stream pre-2017: 6 courses (18 credits)

Electives chosen from regularly scheduled graduate courses

Humanities students may take graduate courses offered by departments at Concordia that are relevant to the student's program of study. A course description and a completed and signed  Humanities Graduate Course Registration form is required for each regularly scheduled graduate course registration. With the approval of the advisor in the field, Humanities students may also register, through CREPUQ, for a graduate course offered by another Quebec university.

To identify relevant graduate courses to fulfill the 18 credits of elective courses, students are encouraged to consult with their advisors and browse the graduate course offerings on the websites of the departments relevant to their fields of study (or find that information from the respective graduate program assistants). Another resource is the Graduate Open Courses listing compiled by the School of Graduate Studies.

Electives as directed study tutorials

Directed study tutorials provide Humanities PhD students with the opportunity to pursue advanced and focused work with individual faculty members in the three fields that constitute the student’s program of study. Tutorials can be taken with the advisor in the field or another faculty member, but each tutorial is subject to the approval of the student’s advisor in that field. Tutorials involve regular meetings and on-going assignments, in addition to at least one major final paper or project. A tutorial course description and bibliography as well as a completed and signed Humanities Directed Study Tutorial form is required for each directed study tutorial registration.

HUMA special topics courses

Humanities students may also take special topic courses offered by the Humanities program when relevant to the student's program of study.

Past HUMA core courses

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