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College of Arts and Sciences

    Hands-on Humanities

    Teaching as an Embodied Practice

    The University of South Carolina is home to a rich collection of resources in the humanities, arts, and social sciences. From the McKissick Museum on the Horseshoe to the Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections at the Thomas Cooper Library, our students, faculty, and staff are engaging with humanities resources to activate their research and learning.

    We wanted to showcase how faculty make the humanities come alive in the classroom using material artifacts in our libraries and on campus. We set out to do a demonstration in our first year during Family Weekend in 2021, but the changing nature of the pandemic ultimately made that impossible.

    Instead, we decided to document some of the exemplary ways that faculty use archival materials in their teaching, bringing students into the collections to experience artifacts in an embodied way. In these videos, our faculty show how their students touch, smell, and even sing from, the objects and documents.

    Napoleon's Description of Egypt in the Classroom: Hands-on Humanities with USC Professor Carol Harrison

    Hear about History professor Carol Harrison’s class visits to the Napoleonic manuscripts of Egypt, which dramatically illustrate Napoleon’s failed military ambitions in the country and his conceptions of the “Orient.”

    Produced by Dayton Witouski, Media Arts class of 2023

    Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Choral Manuscripts

    Here, Associate Professor of Music History Kunio Hara brings his students to view, and sing from, a variety of medieval and renaissance illuminated choral manuscripts.

    Produced by Dayton Witouski, Media Arts class of 2023

    Using Comics in the Classroom: Hands-on Humanities with USC Professor Mark Minett

    In this video, Film and Media Studies and English professor Mark Minett shows his class the Gary Lee Watson Comics Collection, using it to highlight how transmedia storytelling is a longer tradition than we think. These videos remind us that rare books and special collections enliven and are central to questions of the humanities. They are not inert old books but active tools, and the faculty's expertise brings them to life.

    Produced by Kristin Harrell


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