American University of Beirut

Critical Humanities for the Liberal Arts (CHLA)

Nadia Bou Ali
Professors:Hout, Syrine S.; Jarrar, Maher Z.
Associate Professors:Bou Ali, Nadia; Goodfield, Eric
Senior LecturerHarb, Sirene
Lecturers:Bizri, Rana; Bualuan, Hayat H.; Ekmekji, Arda;
El Amm, Charbel.; Hassan, Hani R.; Korangy, Alireza; Kozah, Mario
Instructors:Arasoghli, Aida A.; Hariri, Muhannad
Visiting Instructors:Yu, Fen ; Wieland, Klaus

The Critical Humanities for the Liberal Arts Program (CHLA) at the American University of Beirut is a unique, interdisciplinary space for critical inquiry into ideas that inform civilization.

Mission Statement

The mission of CHLA is to provide undergraduate courses in the humanities that support the American University of Beirut’s goals in general education and the advancement of knowledge. CHLA is committed to engaging students from all the faculties of the university in the study of the liberal arts. The program is interdisciplinary in nature. Its mission is to study the history of ideas; introduce students to primary texts; develop critical thought in the humanities; instill an awareness of global and contemporary concerns and foster humanistic knowledge.


According to the General Education requirements at AUB, all students are required to take a total of 9 credits in the Cultures and Histories and 3 credits in Human Values.

A minimum of 3 credits of those 12 must be taken from CHLA courses. Students can choose a course that is most compatible with their area of specialization and interests.

All CHLA courses are included among the General Education courses, all courses fulfill the designation ‘Cultures and Histories’. In addition to fulfilling the ‘Cultures and Histories’ GE designation, CHLA 210 fulfills the ‘Social Inequalities’ designation, and CHLA 214 fulfills the ‘Human Values’ designation.

Sequence I

  • CHLA 201 (every term): Ancient Near East and Classical Civilizations (3 hrs.)
  • CHLA 202 (every term): Medieval, Islamic, and Renaissance Civilizations (3 hrs.)
  • CHLA 205 (every term): Ancient, Medieval, Islamic, and Renaissance Civilizations (3 hrs.)

Sequence II

  • CHLA 203 (every term): Enlightenment and Modernity (3 hrs.)
  • CHLA 204 (every term): Contemporary Studies (3 hrs.)
  • CHLA 206 (annually): Modern and Contemporary Studies (3 hrs.)

The following CHLA courses are not included among the General Education Cultures and Histories courses: FREN 201, FREN 202, GERM 201, GERM 202, CHIN 201, CHIN 202, CHIN 203.


Students are required to take a Sequence I course before taking a Sequence II course. This is because acquaintance with basic intellectual elements from the epochs covered in Sequence I courses will help students in understanding elements covered in Sequence II.

Moreover, successfully completing a Sequence I course allows students to take any other CHLA course.

Students must have sophomore status or above to take a Sequence I course and junior status to take a Sequence II course.

Sequence I and Sequence II courses may not be taken simultaneously unless a Sequence I course has already been completed.


  • CHLA 205 overlaps with 201 and 202. Thus, CHLA 205 cannot be taken if the student has taken either 201 or 202, and vice versa.
  • CHLA 206 overlaps with 203 and 204. Thus, CHLA 206 cannot be taken if the student has taken either 203 or 204, and vice versa.


  • ENGL 102 or its equivalent is a prerequisite for all CHLA courses numbered 200 and above, ENGL 203 or ENGL 204 are co-requisites for all CHLA courses numbered 200 and above.
  • Students in the Freshman class may not enroll in CHLA courses numbered 201–206. For all other CHLA courses numbered 200 and above, freshman students may only enroll after the consent of the course instructor.

Sequence I and Sequence II Course Offerings

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