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Northwestern University

FD-LA: Literature and Arts

NOTE: Students who started taking classes at Northwestern in Spring 2023 or earlier should refer to the Area VI: Literature and Fine Arts page. The information below pertains to students who start at Northwestern after Spring 2023.

By taking courses in literature and art, students come to understand and appreciate the achievements of the creative imagination in a range of artistic forms and media. These include printed and oral literature, theater, music, the visual arts, and film and digital media. Students learn to describe, value, and critique such works; to identify and query the ideas and perspectives they represent; and to consider them as an array of aesthetic practices through which human beings have attempted to explore and transform their worlds. As students encounter the power of literature and art to imagine the breadth of human experience, they come to grasp the role of the arts in the evolution of human ways of knowing, being, feeling and expressing. At the same time, students examine the historical, cultural, and social contexts in which creative works are produced, which they at once reflect and contest. In recognizing the many ways in which texts and artistic works create meaning, and by paying attention to the factors that influence such processes, students gain exposure to the descriptive vocabularies, theoretical approaches, and reading practices common to criticism on literature and the arts. What is more, they develop essential skills in critical thinking and cultural analysis that will make them more conscientious readers of texts, images, and objects of all kinds.

learning objectives

Courses in Literature and Arts are designed to achieve the following learning outcomes:

Choosing courses

Review the list of approved courses in literature and arts. This list includes a wide range of literature courses as well as courses in music and in the visual arts. Students with good skills in certain languages other than English can satisfy the requirement by taking advanced courses taught in various languages.

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