Summer Humanities Institute - Christopher Newport University Summer Humanities Institute - Christopher Newport University
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The 2020 Institute has been canceled due to coronavirus safety precautions. We'll communicate directly with applicants for this year's program and we look forward to the 2021 Institute.


The year 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which guarantees and protects the right of women to vote. The passage marked the largest expansion of democracy in the history of our country, and the Summer Humanities Institute (SHI) will commemorate this historic moment with this year’s theme: "Suffrage, Inclusion and Representation."

Through seminar-styled courses, you will explore and creatively interpret themes of humanistic democratic engagement as represented in historical and contemporary Western thought and artistic expression. You will also examine various cultural understandings of how democratic ideals are embodied in the humanities, while also considering your own potential engagement as a student and community member.

SHI is a fantastic opportunity to experience and participate in an ongoing conversation in humanities scholarship at Christopher Newport University. Participants will enjoy:

  • Two courses for a combined three college credits
  • A two-week stay in one of our amazing residence halls
  • Engagement with faculty and staff
  • Social engagements
  • A sailing expedition
  • A theatrical production

The Summer Humanities Institute fosters valuable critical-thinking and writing skills. Plus, you will gain feedback from college professors before taking AP, IB or dual-enrollment courses, and earn three college credits toward graduation from Christopher Newport or transferable to other institutions.

Course Descriptions

Group A

Allegories of Patriarchy in Gothic Literature

Gothic literature, a sensationalistic genre that explores the macabre, the spectral and the supernatural, was a popular genre for many 18th and 19th-century female literary artists, such as Anne Radcliffe, Mary Shelley and the Brontë sisters.

This course will consider how women writers' contributions to the Gothic tradition in literature are relevant to European women’s movements for achieving universal suffrage in the 18th and 19th century, as well as the ongoing work for justice and full equality for women today.

Possible texts (available on Scholar) – novels will be excerpted

  • Anne Radcliffe, The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794)
  • Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (1818)
  • Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (1847)
  • Charlotte Gilman Perkins, "The Yellow Wall-Paper" (1892)
  • Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House (1959)
  • Toni Morrison, Beloved (1987)
  • Joyce Carol Oates, Haunted: Tales of the Grotesque (1994)

Dr. Jason Ray Carney
Department of English

Marching Toward the Vote: Race and Social Identity

Though activist groups regularly organize around individual aspects of social identity, often based in race, class or gender, many such groups also recognize explicitly that work against oppression must be consciously intersectional.

Via a particular focus on racial identity and the turbulent times of the 1960s, this course will explore the complex social identities we each inhabit. You will consider the injustices that led black Americans to demand the legal right to vote.

Possible readings

  • Christopher Paul Curtis, The Watsons go to Birmingham
  • Rita Williams-Garcia, One Crazy Summer

Dr. Patricia Hopkins
Department of English

Group B

Rooms of Their Own: How Women Writers Made Modernist Literature

This course will offer a tour of modernist literature written by women – works designed to change the way we think about women’s roles in culture, public life and the family.

You will read stories, poems and essays by writers such as Virginia Woolf, Mina Loy, Rebecca West, H.D. (Hilda Doolittle), Gertrude Stein, Marianne Moore, Nella Larsen, Jean Rhys and Elizabeth Bowen, while learning about the historical contexts that connect these works to the women’s suffrage movement.

Texts will be available on Scholar.

Dr. Anna Teekell
Department of English

First Feminists of Egypt: the Early 20th Century

In this course, you will learn about Egyptian Muslim feminists in the early 20th century. This movement gathered cohesion and momentum in the early decades of the 20th century. Class discussions will include engaging questions, like:

  • How is it that the first country to grant women’s rights and the last country to grant women’s rights are both majority Muslim countries?
  • How will people maintain traditions and resist external challenges in the era of expanding western hegemony?

Dr. Diana Obeid
Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures

Life at CNU

Summer Humanities Institute participants will stay in Christopher Newport’s modern, award-winning residence halls, which are furnished with spacious and comfortable bedrooms, computer labs, coin-operated laundry rooms, and television and recreation lounges.

Meals will be served on campus. Menus will vary but will offer plenty of variety and options.

Transportation will be provided for all off-campus excursions and activities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. Students who complete the program will receive three college credits.

June 14-26, 2020

No, all students must remain in residence on campus for the duration of the program. In addition to rigorous coursework, the Summer Humanities Institute embraces the benefits of a residential, liberal arts college experience.

No. Only rising high school juniors and seniors (students currently completing their sophomore or junior year) are eligible to apply for admission.

For rising juniors and seniors we can accept a PSAT or PLAN score report in lieu of SAT or ACT scores for admission review.

Our dining halls feature a variety of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options at every meal. If you have more specific needs, please contact us.

Yes. Rising seniors will have time to schedule an admission interview with a university fellow.

If you have additional questions, please email the College of Arts and Humanities at


The cost for in-state participants is $3,000, and includes the following:

  • Tuition
  • 12 nights of lodging (double occupancy, CNU residence hall)*
  • 28 meals
  • Transportation and admission to all off-campus activities

*Linens and towels are not provided; each student must bring their own.

Out of state cost: $4,500