Columbia Core Pathways

Aesthetics and Ethics Pathway

Why do some songs give us goosebumps now while simultaneously taking us years back into our childhood? There are performances, images, separate and together, that make our heart race, our blood boil, or chill us to the bone. By what means are we moved, changed, and motivated by art that we describe as beautiful, powerful, transcendent? How do we find these states, and by what power—and by what right—do artists, writers, performers, and other creatives bring us there? In this pathway, you will explore how personal experiences, as well as social and commercial forces, shape and influence our aesthetic and ethical values. There is a dynamic web of connections between individuals, ideas, and institutions for you to discover, with threads of purpose and intent woven through it all. In these classes, you will engage with creatives who have used their work to promote social change as well as enthrall, and you will see how those efforts have altered history, culture and society, and the very moments of our lives, for good and ill.

  • Aesthetics and Ethics Pathway Courses

    History (HI) Courses
    HIST 101 African History and Culture to 1600
    HIST 102 African History and Culture Since 1600
    HIST 121 Europe & the West: Ancient Civilizations
    HIST 122 Europe & the West: Medieval Culture
    HIST 131 Middle Eastern History and Culture: from Muhammad to 1800
    HIST 132 Middle Eastern History and Culture: since 1800
    HIST 241 History of Mexico and Central America
    HIST 251 African American History and Culture: To 1860
    HIST 252 African American History & Culture: Since 1860
    HIST 256 Hispanics in the U.S. Since 1800
    HIST 257 Women in U.S. History: To 1877
    HIST 258 Women in U.S. History: Since 1877
    HIST 259 Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender History in the U.S.
    HIST 266 Cartoons and Satire in American History
    HIST 267H Public History: Presenting & Interpreting the Past: Honors
    HIST 268 The History of the Future
    HIST 321H The Enlightenment: Honors
    HIST 322H Taste and Consumption in French History: Honors
    HIST 351 American Cultural History

    Humanities (HU) Courses
    ARTH 110 Art History Survey: Prehistoric to Modern
    ARTH 210 20th Century Art History
    ARTH 236 Black Art and Visual Culture
    ARTH 237 Art of Islam
    ARTH 310 Contemporary Art: 1980 to the Present
    CULS 101H Introduction to Cultural Studies: Honors
    ENGL 246 Reviewing the Arts
    HUMA 226 Asian Journeys
    MUSC 162 Music Through the Ages, from Chant to R&B
    MUSC 163 Afro-Latin and Caribbean: US Musical Crosscurrents
    MUSC 165 Introduction to Musics of the World
    PHIL 101 Introduction to Philosophy
    PHIL 111 Ethics and the Good Life
    PHIL 212 Philosophical Issues in Film
    PHIL 214H The Evolution of the Mind: Honors
    PHIL 218 Philosophy of Religion
    THEA 202 Traditions of World Theatre

    Social Science (SS) Courses
    ANTH 101 Introduction to Anthropology
    ANTH 211 Ethnographic Films
    ANTH 212 Anthropology of Communication: Voices, Gestures, Silences
    ANTH 310 Visual Anthropology
    ANTH 312H The Artist in Society: Honors
    ECON 310H Ethics and Economics: Controversial Policy Issues of Our Time: Honors
    ECON 311H Irrational Economics: Why We Make Bad Decisions: Honors
    POLS 211 Human Rights
    PSYC 101 Introduction to Psychology
    PSYC 110 Social Psychology
    PSYC 212 Self Identity and the Mind-Brain Question
    PSYC 214H The Evolution of the Mind: Honors
    PSYC 310 Psychology of Creativity
    PSYC 312 Sex, Death, and the Unconscious: Freud and His Legacy in 20th Century Arts
    PSYC 313 Drugs and the Brain

    Literature (HL) Courses
    LITR 103 Introduction to Literary Interpretation
    LITR 110 Introduction to Poetry
    LITR 120 Introduction to Readings in Creative Nonfiction
    LITR 130 Introduction to Fiction
    LITR 160 Introduction to Drama
    LITR 225 Postcolonial Literature
    LITR 236 Introduction to U.S. Latinx Literature
    LITR 240 Introduction to Black Writers
    LITR 250 Introduction to Women’s Literature
    LITR 255 Queer Literature
    LITR 284 Literature and Visual Culture
    LITR 285 Graphic Narrative: Words, Image, Culture
    LITR 336 U.S. Latinx Literature
    LITR 340 African American Literature
    LITR 370 Romantic Poets
    LITR 375 Poetry and Jazz

    Science (SC/SL) Courses
    BIOL 105 Biology of Human Reproduction
    BIOL 140 Biology of the Human Immune System: Health and Disease
    BIOL 150 Animal Behavior
    BIOL 210 Cancer Biology
    BIOL 215H Genetics: Honors
    PHYS 135 The Origin and Fate of the Universe
    SCIE 132 Personal Wellness
    SCIE 155H Science of Musical Instruments: Honors
    SCIE 205 Environmental Science

Movements and Media Pathway

Technosociologist Zeynep Tufekci notes that “Attention is oxygen for movements. Without it, they cannot catch fire.” This metaphor helps us understand how cultural, ideological, commercial, or even physical movements and causes become raging infernos or sputter and die. Who are the people at the heart of major moments of social change and how do their ideas spread, be it by intent or accident? How does media itself affect the message, and what are the tools that support that manipulation? This pathway allows you to explore the causes and movements that have shaped us, and the historical and ongoing role media plays in their proliferation or destruction. This pathway includes opportunities to engage in a critical analysis of the technology that impacts us as global citizens, as well as witness the media’s effects on a more personal level, examining its influence on group and individual behavior, including your own.

  • Movements and Media Pathway Courses

    History (HI) Courses
    HIST 152 U.S. History: From 1877
    HIST 221 Contemporary European Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict
    HIST 222 The French Revolution
    HIST 226 The Holocaust (1939-45)
    HIST 227 The Israeli/Palestinian Conflict
    HIST 228 Reform, Revolution, and Jihad in the Middle East
    HIST 253 Writings of Black Protest: To 1860
    HIST 254 Writings of Black Protest: Since 1860
    HIST 255 The Civil Rights Movement in Biography & Film
    HIST 256 Hispanics in the U.S. Since 1800
    HIST 257 Women in U.S. History: To 1877
    HIST 258 Women in U.S. History: Since 1877
    HIST 259 Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender History in the U.S.
    HIST 263 History of the American Working Class
    HIST 265 The 1960s
    HIST 267H Public History: Presenting & Interpreting the Past: Honors
    HIST 353H Oral History: The Art of the Interview: Honors
    HIST 354H The Great Depression & the New Deal: the U.S. in the 1930s: Honors

    Humanities (HU) Courses
    ARTH 339 Dada, Surrealism, Futurism
    CULS 101H Introduction to Cultural Studies: Honors
    CULS 214 Media, Politics and Intervention
    DANC 180 Introduction to Dance Studies
    HUMA 102 Introduction to Black World Studies
    HUMA 103 Introduction to Latin American Studies
    HUMA 104 Introduction to Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies
    HUMA 105 Gay and Lesbian Studies
    HUMA 221 Introduction to Digital Humanities
    HUMA 224 Urban Images in Media & Film
    HUMA 225 Film and Society
    MEDI 201H Culture, Race and Media: Honors
    TELE 250A Television Studies: | Prerequisites: ENGL 112 or ENGL 112H or ENGL 122

    Social Science (SS) Courses
    ANTH 101 Introduction to Anthropology
    ANTH 211 Ethnographic Films
    ANTH 213 Anthropology of Tourism
    ANTH 312H The Artist in Society: Honors
    COMM 326H Semiotics for Creators of Popular Culture: Honors
    POLS 110 Politics, Government, and Society
    POLS 213 Power and Freedom on Screen
    POLS 312 Urban Politics
    POLS 313 Politics of Money
    PSYC 110 Social Psychology
    SOCI 112 Women and U.S. Society
    SOCI 113 Sociology of Sports in the United States
    SOCI 210 Gender and Culture
    SOCI 301 White Power Movements and Ideologies
    SOSC 301 Women’s Life Stories
    TELE 357 Documenting Social Injustice

    Literature (HL) Courses
    LITR 105 Literature, Culture, and Power
    LITR 217 The Beat Generation in Literature
    LITR 225 Postcolonial Literature
    LITR 236 Introduction to U.S. Latinx Literature
    LITR 240 Introduction to Black Writers
    LITR 250 Introduction to Women’s Literature
    LITR 255 Queer Literature
    LITR 268 Literature on Film
    LITR 275 Science Fiction
    LITR 277 Fantasy Literature
    LITR 279 Zombies in Popular Media
    LITR 287 Literature and Gaming
    LITR 310 Studies in the Novel

    Science (SC/SL) Courses
    BIOL 110 The Biology of AIDS: Life of a Virus
    BIOL 140 Biology of the Human Immune System: Health and Disease
    BIOL 205 Epidemics: History of Disease and Response
    BIOL 220 Human Evolution
    BIOL 235H Evolution of Sex: Honors
    EASC 110H The Science of Global Change: Honors
    EASC 120 Meteorology
    EASC 145 Historical Geology
    SCIE 145 Introduction to Nanotechnology

Power and Justice Pathway

Both Voltaire and Stan Lee offer that, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Our every decision and interaction are infused with uneven power dynamics. Powerful institutions can use their resources and influence to advance their own interests or contribute to the common good. Individuals can use their positions of privilege to build walls or build bridges. In this pathway, you will examine ways that people and institutions have suppressed and subordinated others, and/or organized to resist injustice. Through a range of courses, you will be able to make connections between and among movements, past and present, that have shifted the balance of power in these systems. The result will be an ability to both question and respond to the impact of systems of power on your community, your craft, and your body.

  • Power and Justice Pathway Courses

    History (HI) Courses
    HIST 132 Middle Eastern History and Culture: since 1800
    HIST 141 Latin American History: To 1800
    HIST 142 Latin American History: Since 1800
    HIST 152 U.S. History: From 1877
    HIST 226 The Holocaust (1939-45)
    HIST 227 The Israeli/Palestinian Conflict
    HIST 228 Reform, Revolution, and Jihad in the Middle East
    HIST 251 African American History and Culture: To 1860
    HIST 252 African American History & Culture: Since 1860
    HIST 253 Writings of Black Protest: To 1860
    HIST 254 Writings of Black Protest: Since 1860
    HIST 255 The Civil Rights Movement in Biography & Film
    HIST 257 Women in U.S. History: To 1877
    HIST 258 Women in U.S. History: Since 1877
    HIST 259 Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender History in the U.S.
    HIST 261 History of Sport in the U.S.
    HIST 263 History of the American Working Class
    HIST 269 Slavery and Its Afterlives
    HIST 354H The Great Depression & the New Deal: the U.S. in the 1930s: Honors
    HIST 381 The Black Atlantic

    Humanities (HU) Courses
    ARTH 346 Gender, The Body, and Representation
    ARTH 347 Portraiture + Self + Society
    ARTH 348 Art and Ritual
    CULS 214 Media, Politics and Intervention
    CRWR 105 Story Across Culture and Media
    DANC 180 Introduction to Dance Studies
    DANC 330 Postcolonial Approaches to Dance Studies
    FASH 383 The Fabric of Cultures
    HUMA 102 Introduction to Black World Studies
    HUMA 103 Introduction to Latin American Studies
    HUMA 104 Introduction to Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies
    HUMA 105 Gay and Lesbian Studies
    MEDI 201 Culture, Race and Media
    RELI 211 Religion in U.S. Law and Politics
    RELI 311H Religion and Its Critics: Honors
    SIGN 125 Deaf Culture

    Social Science (SS) Courses
    ECON 101 Introduction to Economics
    ECON 310H Ethics and Economics: Controversial Issues of Our Time: Honors
    ECON 311H Irrational Economics: Why We Make Bad Decisions: Honors
    POLS 110 Politics, Government, and Society
    POLS 111 U.S. Foreign Policy
    POLS 213 Power and Freedom on Screen
    POLS 310 Equality and Justice
    POLS 313 Politics of Money
    SOCI 101 Introduction to Sociology
    SOCI 110 Social Problems in American Society
    SOCI 111 Race and Ethnic Relations
    SOCI 112 Women and U.S. Society
    SOCI 113 Sociology of Sports in the United States
    SOCI 210 Gender and Culture
    SOSC 301 Women’s Life Stories

    Literature (HL) Courses
    LITR 105 Literature, Culture, and Power
    LITR 140 Examining the African-American Cultural Experience
    LITR 225 Postcolonial Literature
    LITR 236 Introduction to U.S. Latinx Literature
    LITR 240 Introduction to Black Writers
    LITR 250 Introduction to Women’s Literature
    LITR 255 Queer Literature
    LITR 277 Fantasy Literature
    LITR 287 Literature and Gaming
    LITR 340 African American Literature
    LITR 342 Issues in African and African American Studies
    LITR 350 Women Writers

    Science (SC/SL) Courses
    BIOL 105 Biology of Human Reproduction
    BIOL 110 The Biology of AIDS: Life of a Virus
    BIOL 115 Botany: Plants and Society
    BIOL 205 Epidemics: History of Disease and Response
    BIOL 235H Evolution of Sex: Honors
    BIOL 240H Animal Behavior Observational Research Methods: Honors
    EASC 101 Geology: Earth as a Planet
    EASC 115 Natural Disasters
    EASC 130 Mammal Evolution
    SCIE 205 Environmental Science

Societies and Sustainability Pathway

Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and activist, observed that “you cannot protect the environment unless you empower people, you inform them, and you help them understand that these resources are their own, that they must protect them.” As humans in the middle of a great American city, we can lose touch with the delicate balance between how we find the physical environment and how we impact it and transform it. Through a range of courses, you will explore the growth of cities and complex societies, and you will learn how our decisions transform the environment. In this pathway, you will build a framework for questioning and contributing as an artist and a citizen to an equitable and sustainable future for all of Earth's inhabitants.

  • Societies and Sustainability Pathway Courses

    History (HI) Courses
    HIST 102 African History and Culture Since 1600
    HIST 123 Europe & the West: Modern Europe
    HIST 141 Latin American History: To 1800
    HIST 142 Latin American History: Since 1800
    HIST 143 History of the Caribbean: To 1800
    HIST 144 History of the Caribbean: Since 1800
    HIST 262H History of the American City: Honors
    HIST 263 History of the American Working Class
    HIST 264H The Nineteen Twenties and the Birth of Modern America: Honors
    HIST 268 The History of the Future
    HIST 355 History of Chicago

    Humanities (HU) Courses
    ARTH 220 Global History of Architecture
    ARTH 237 Art of Islam
    CULS 321 Globalization and Culture
    FASH 383 The Fabric of Cultures
    HUMA 102 Introduction to Black World Studies
    HUMA 103 Introduction to Latin American Studies
    HUMA 222 Nature and Environmentalism in U.S. Culture
    HUMA 224 Urban Images in Media & Film
    HUMA 227 The Chinese City in Literature, Art, and Media
    PHIL 101 Introduction to Philosophy
    PHIL 110 Logic
    PHIL 218H Philosophy of Religion: Honors
    RELI 214H Religion in Chicago: Honors
    RELI 310 Religion, Capitalism, Empire

    Social Science (SS) Courses
    ANTH 210 Urban Anthropology
    ANTH 213 Anthropology of Tourism
    ANTH 312 The Artist in Society
    ECON 101 Introduction to Economics
    POLS 212 Politics of Poverty in Developing Nations
    POLS 310 Equality and Justice
    PSYC 110 Social Psychology
    SOCI 101 Introduction to Sociology
    SOCI 110 Social Problems in American Society
    SOCI 111 Race and Ethnic Relations

    Literature (HL) Courses
    LITR 103 Introduction to Literary Interpretation
    LITR 110 Introduction to Poetry
    LITR 120 Introduction to Readings in Creative Nonfiction
    LITR 130 Introduction to Fiction
    LITR 160 Introduction to Drama
    LITR 225 Postcolonial Literature
    LITR 236 Introduction to U.S. Latinx Literature
    LITR 240 Introduction to Black Writers
    LITR 250 Introduction to Women’s Literature

    Science (SC/SL) Courses
    BIOL 115 Botany: Plants and Society
    BIOL 130 Human Anatomy and Physiology
    BIOL 135 Animal Physiology
    BIOL 145 Marine Biology
    BIOL 220 Human Evolution
    BIOL 245H Ecology: Honors
    EASC 101 Geology: Earth as a Planet
    EASC 105 Oceanography and the Marine Environment
    EASC 115 Natural Disasters
    EASC 125H Vertebrate Paleontology: Honors
    EASC 135 Dinosaur Evolution and Extinction
    EASC 136 Dinosaur Evolution and Extinction: Lab
    SCIE 125 Energy & the Environment
    SCIE 133 Nutrition
    SCIE 205 Environmental Science