The Humanities program at Saint Michael’s consists of six courses each exploring the history of ideas and artistic expression primarily of Western thought but not exclusively. The two foundation courses, HU 101 Ancient and Medieval Civilization, and HU 102 Modern Civilization are offered every semester. An additional four courses, each covering a particular historical period, are offered on a rotating basis. These courses fulfill the LSC requirements for Literary and Historical Studies.

HU 101 - Ancient and Medieval Civilization

This course is a chronological and interdisciplinary study of significant texts from Antiquity and the Middle Ages Readings may include Virgil’s Aeneid, Saint Augustine’s Confessions, the Rule of Saint Benedict, the Lays of Marie de France, an Arthurian romance, and Dante’s Inferno.

HU 102 - Modern Civilization

This course explores key texts from the Renaissance to the present. Readings may include Shakepeare’s The Tempest, Rousseau’s Second Discourse on Inequality, Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, Marx’s Communist Manifesto, Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem and Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.

HU 203 - Renaissance and Reformation

An interdisciplinary survey of some of the most important influential texts and works of art in European history from about 1350 to 1650. Authors studied may include Machiavelli, Christian humanists (Erasmus and/or More), Catholic and Protestant thinkers (Luther, Ignatius Loyola, Calvin), Marguerite of Navarre, Montaigne, Descartes, and Shakespeare.

HU 205 - Enlightenment and Revolution

Covers the years from the seventeenth century to 1815. The major areas of consideration are: the Industrial and French Revolutions, and the causes and effects of the Enlightenment through the Napoleonic Era. Readings may include The New Science (Bacon, Galileo, Descartes, Locke, and/or Newton), and selections from the area of society and politics (Locke, Pope, Voltaire, and/or Rousseau). The second half of the course concerns the Romantic reaction against the Enlightenment and focuses on the poets Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley and Byron.

HU 207 - The Nineteenth Century

The Nineteenth Century is an interdisciplinary study of the main intellectual and literary currents in nineteenth century thought. Readings include Darwin, Marx, and Nietzsche as well as representative English, French and Russian novels.

HU 209 - The Twentieth Century

A cross-cultural, interdisciplinary course that draws on a wide variety of artistic manifestations in literature, art, music, and cinema.

George Dameron, PhD

Professor of History, Coordinator of Humanities, Chair Phi Beta Kappa
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Durick Library 306
Box 141
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Ph.D. Harvard University
M.A. Harvard University
B.A. Duke University

Areas of Expertise:

Medieval and Early Modern Europe; Medieval Italy, with particular focus on thirteenth and fourteenth century Tuscany (social, economic, cultural, political)

Courses I Teach:

  • Ancient and Medieval Civilization
  • The Black Death
  • Culture and Society in Medieval Italy
  • Early Modern Europe
  • The Franciscans
  • The Historian's Craft
  • Honors Colloquium
  • Joan of Arc (First Year Seminar)
  • Medieval Europe
  • Renaissance and Reformation
  • Senior Seminar
  • Topics in Medieval History: (topics vary and include "Women and Gender in the Middle Ages")

Nathaniel Lew, PhD

Department Chair, Professor of Fine Arts: Music
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McCarthy Arts Center 201
Box 377
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M.A., Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley
B.A., M.A. Cambridge University
B.A. Yale University

Areas of Expertise:

Twentieth-century British music, particularly opera, and its relationship to institutions and the broader culture. The music of English 20th-century composers Ralph Vaughan Williams and Benjamin Britten. Choral conducting. The music of Richard Stoehr (1874-1967).

Courses I Teach:

  • Medieval and Renaissance Music
  • Classical and Romantic Music
  • American Music Theater
  • Opera
  • Advanced Music Theory
  • Instrumentation and Orchestration
  • Techniques of Contemporary Composition
  • Chorale
  • Humanities: Modern Civilization
  • Honors Colloquium

My Saint Michael's:

I teach music history, music theory and humanities, and direct the College Chorale. I enjoy the creative freedom to teach a wide variety of subjects in a department where faculty and students are open to experimenting with new topics, materials and methods. In all of my courses on musical repertory I take the entire class to live performances. I love working closely with my students, and I love it when they respectfully disagree with one another in really productive ways. The music department also works hard to facilitate all our students' performance projects, some of which are ambitious and impressive.

Tim Mackin, PhD

Associate Dean of Advising and Student Development

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Founders Hall 115
Box 379
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Ph.D. Johns Hopkins University
B.A. Colgate University

Areas of Expertise:

Writing, Modernist Literature, Literature and Philosophy

Courses I Teach:


  • Advanced Academic Writing
  • The Art of Memory
  • College Writing
  • Modernist Poetry


  • Modern Civilization
  • The 20th Century

Shefali Misra, PhD

Chair and Associate Professor of Political Science

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Saint Edmund's Hall 351
Box 398
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Ph.D. Brandeis University
M.A. Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
B.A. University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, India;

I have taught at Saint Michael’s College since 2009, before which I taught briefly at Oberlin College, Ohio. My research relates to the challenges of combining diversity with the civic cohesion demanded by democracy, both from the perspective of designated “outsiders” and of “members” who collectively make decisions about bestowing or withholding membership. UntiI 2000, I was a financial and political journalist for four English-language national dailies in New Delhi, India, for 11 years. In that role I traveled widely and wrote about international relations, and especially the politics of global trade. During that time, I reported for my home newspapers from Singapore, Geneva, London, Brussels, Geneva, Berlin, Bonn, Paris, and Seattle. My teaching of political theory and practice is thoroughly informed by this professional experience of “real” world politics and as well as the personal experience of spending over half of my life in the world’s most diverse developing country. I always strive to give students a flavor of the reality of the world in which we live and how that both shapes and circumscribes the possibilities of the world that we might one day live in.

Areas of Expertise:

  • Political Theory and History of Political Thought
  • International Relations and Political Economy

Courses I Teach:

  • (Modern) Western Political Thought 
  • Multiculturalism in Theory and Practice
  • Introduction to Politics
  • Feminist Political Thought
  • Democracy and its Critics
  • Identity in Politics
  • Introduction to International relations
  • Politics of the World Economy

Research Interests:

History of Political Thought, Liberal political thought, Rousseau’s Political thought, Democracy and diversity, Nationalism and citizenship, Politics of identity. My publications are in the fields of liberalism, multiculturalism, and Rousseau’s political thought and my current research is on the relationship between democracy, liberalism, and nationalism.

Christina Root, PhD

Professor of English

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Saint Edmund's Hall 336
Box 385
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M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D. Columbia University
A.B. Bryn Mawr College

Courses I Teach:

In the English Department:

  • British Romanticism
  • 19th and 20th Century British and European Literature

In the Humanities Program:

  • Enlightenment and Revolution
  • Modern Civilization

Roberto Saba, Ph.D.

Henry G. Fairbanks Visiting Humanities Scholar-in-Residence

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Durick Library 309
Box 121
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Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania
M.A. University of Sao Paulo
B.A. University of Sao Paulo

Areas of Expertise:

19th and 20th Century American History; U.S. Foreign Relations; Transnational History; Imperialism; Immigration; Slavery and Emancipation.

Courses I Teach:

U.S. History since 1865
Nineteenth-Century Humanities
American Empire, American Colonies (1840s-1940s)
Immigrant America

John Kenney, PhD

Professor of Religious Studies, Emeritus
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Durick Library 302
Box 375
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Ph.D. Brown University
A.B. Bowdoin College

I studied ancient philosophy at Bowdoin, majoring in Classics and Philosophy. I did graduate work in Philosophy at the University Pennsylvania, and then completed my Ph.D. at Brown in Religious Studies. After a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard, I taught for 15 years at Reed as Professor of Religion and Humanities. I came to Saint Michael's to be Dean of the College in 1995. Since 2006 I have been teaching full-time as Professor of Religious Studies. I also offer courses in the Humanities Program

Areas of Expertise:

Philosophy of Religion, Ancient Christianity

Courses I Teach:

  • Ancient and Medieval Civilization
  • Catholic Christianity
  • Medieval Christianity
  • Understandings of God
  • The Problem of Evil
  • Christian Mysticism

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