Apply for Humanities Core Lectureships

Thank you for your interest in applying for a lectureship in the HCD we are now accepting applications for the 2019-2020 academic year.

This site provides job descriptions and application instructions for lectureship positions in the Humanities Collegiate Division general education (Core) sequences. Applicants for these positions must be University of Chicago graduate students who have attained ABD status no later than the end of Spring Quarter 2019.

Hiring decisions will be made by faculty committees during the early summer quarter, and scheduling is done based on the scheduling requirements of the Humanities Collegiate Division. Preference will be given to those graduate students who have completed a substantial part of their doctoral dissertation, participated in the pedagogical training course offered by the College Writing Program, and served as writing interns in the Humanities Core. For details on the training courses offered by the College Writing Program, contact them at 773.702.2658 or

Applicants are free to apply for more than one sequence. Brief descriptions of each sequence are provided below. Complete descriptions of the Humanities Core sequences can be found in the College Catalog.

If you have questions, please contact the Collegiate Division Coordinator at

Expectations of Lecturers

Lecturers are chosen on the basis of their qualifications as teachers and scholars and the progress of their academic work. Lecturers have full responsibility for teaching one or more sections of a Core Sequence in the Humanities for one or more quarters. Within the limits established by tradition, faculty consensus, and a syllabus of shared readings, lecturers have discretion to teach the class as they prefer. The Faculty Core Coordinator of each Core sequence and the Master of the Humanities Collegiate Division are the resources to which lecturers should turn for assistance with their teaching.

The chief responsibilities of lecturers are the following:

  • Attend Teaching @ Chicago Workshop offered by Chicago Center for Teaching
  • Participate in all regularly scheduled meetings of the staff teaching in the same sequence. Staff meetings are arranged by the coordinators of each Core sequence
  • Prepare a syllabus that clearly states the objectives of the course, the requirements that students will be expected to fulfill, and the basis on which they will be graded
  • Announce clear policies on grading, attendance, class participation, and cheating, and adhere to those policies
  • Grade and comment on papers in a timely fashion
  • Maintain regular weekly office hours
  • Give students feedback on their performance
  • Work closely with the writing interns to integrate the writing workshops with the Core class
  • Submit final grades by the Registrar's published deadline

Humanities Core Courses Descriptions

This sequence examines the relationship between the individual and society in a rich and exciting selection of literary texts from across the globe. We address the challenges faced by readers confronting foreign literatures, reading across time and cultures, and reading texts in translation. We focus on two major literary themes and genres: Epic Poetry (Autumn Quarter) and Autobiography (Winter Quarter).

This sequence considers philosophy in two lights: as an ongoing series of arguments addressed to certain fundamental questions about the place of human beings in the world, and as a historically situated discipline interacting with and responding to developments in other areas of thought and culture. Readings tend to divide between works of philosophy and contemporaneous works of literature, but they may also include texts of scientific, religious, or legal practice. In Autumn Quarter, we explore fundamental ethical questions—concerning virtue, the good life, the role of the individual in society, the extent of human freedom and responsibility—as they were formulated by ancient Greek writers and philosophers. Winter Quarter focuses on the questions and challenges posed by the scientific and philological “revolutions” of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In Spring Quarter we return to the ethical questions of the autumn, but considered now from the vantage point of Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment thought. How do art and philosophy of the modern and contemporary periods approach questions of responsibility, obligation, and the possibility of human happiness?

This sequence offers an introduction to the seminal works of the Greek and Latin tradition. It follows a progression from Greek to Roman texts through to their reception in modernity every quarter and takes seriously both aspects of tradition: preservation and transformation. Each quarter has a trajectory of its own. In Autumn, the focus is on epic: Homer, Vergil, and an epoch-defining postclassical large-scale poem, such as Dante, Inferno, or Milton, Paradise Lost. Winter is devoted to tragedy and history with readings from Aeschylus, Herodotus, Livy, Seneca, Tacitus, and representative modern works, such as Shakespeare’s history plays, that combine these modes. The third quarter branches into distinct disciplines, genres, or themes. The premise is that classical antiquity was less foundational in any normative sense for Western culture than formative through the contingencies of history.  While there is no single unified classical tradition, ancient terms and ideas continue to resonate throughout our institutions, thinking, and values today.

Socrates asks, “Who is a knower of such excellence, of a human being and of a citizen?” We are all concerned to discover what it means to be an excellent human being and an excellent citizen, and to learn what a just community is. This course explores these and related matters, and helps us to examine critically our opinions about them. To this end, we read and discuss seminal works of the Western tradition, selected both because they illumine the central questions and because, read together, they form a compelling record of human inquiry. Insofar as they force us to consider different and competing ways of asking and answering questions about human and civic excellence, it is impossible for us to approach these writings as detached spectators. Instead, we come to realize our own indebtedness to our predecessors and are inspired to continue their task of inquiry. In addition to providing a deeper appreciation of who we are as human beings and citizens, this course aims to cultivate the liberating skills of careful reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

This sequence introduces methods of literary, visual, and social analysis by addressing the formation and transformation of cultures across a broad chronological and geographic field. Our objects of study range from the Renaissance epic to contemporary film, the fairy tale to the museum. Hardly presuming that we know definitively what “culture” means, we examine paradigms of reading within which the very idea of culture emerged and changed. Autumn quarter focuses on the way both objects and stories are selected and rearranged to produce cultural identities. Winter quarter focuses on the literary conventions of cross-cultural encounter and concentrates on how individual subjects are formed and transformed through narrative. We investigate both the longing to travel and the trails of displacement. Spring quarter works toward understanding the relation (in the modern and post-modern periods) between economic development and processes of cultural transformation. We examine literary and visual texts that celebrate and criticize modernization and urbanization.

This three-quarter sequence introduces students to the skills, materials, and relationships of a variety of disciplines in the humanities, including literary and language study, philosophy, cinema studies, history, theater, and the arts. We construe "aesthetics" broadly: as a study in sensory perception, value, and the formal properties of artistic products. "Medium," too, is understood along a spectrum of meanings that range from the "material cause" of art (sounds for music, words for poetry) to the "instrumental cause" (the apparatus of writing, film, the broadcast media). Our central questions include: What is the relation between media and kinds of art? Can artistic uses of media be distinguished from non-artistic uses? What is the relation between media and human sensations and perceptions? How do media produce pity, fear or pleasure? Do we learn new ways of seeing and hearing through the devices involved in painting, photography and cinema? What happens when we adapt or "translate" objects into other media: painting into photography, writing into film, or music into words? This not a course in "media studies" in any narrow sense. It is rooted in works of criticism and philosophy by such writers as Plato, Aristotle, Nietzsche, Freud, Lessing, Kracauer, Benjamin, and Barthes. We will range across historical eras to consider aesthetic objects of many kinds: films, paintings, photographs, novels, songs, poems, plays, and operas. In some instances, we ask questions about how the aesthetic object is situated in cultural history. More often, though, we will be fostering sensitivity to, and analysis of, the sensory, cognitive, and emotional shaping of the aesthetic experience as framed by the medium in which it occurs.

Language is at the center of what it means to be human and is instrumental in most humanistic pursuits. With it, we understand others, describe, plan, narrate, learn, persuade, argue, reason, and think. This course aims to provoke us to critically examine common assumptions that determine our understanding of texts, of ourselves, and of others. The Autumn Quarter of this sequence explores fundamental questions of the nature of language, concentrating on language in the individual: the properties of human languages (spoken and signed) as systems of communication distinct from other forms (including animal and artificial systems), whether some languages are more primitive than others, how language is acquired, used, changes, and evolves. The Winter Quarter is generally devoted to examining how language mediates between the individual and society, its origin, spread, and development, and its role in power, identity, culture, nationalism, thought, and persuasion, as well as its use in politeness, irony, and metaphor. Further examined are the natures of translation and bilingualism, and to what extent language shapes or influences perception of the world and cognition. The topics addressed in the Spring Quarter vary from year to year.