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Collection Development @ SJSU Library

Collection Development Policy -  Humanities

Last Updated: December 2018

Programs Supported

The Humanities Department originally grew out of a desire to provide students with an integrated perspective on Western Civilization. In the late twentieth century, globalization resulted in a justifiable mandate that our students become aware of more than the Western European canon—that they learn about the teachings of Islam, the values of Asian cultures and many other aspects of world culture which were once so distant as to not require attention in our curriculum. Students are now provided with interdisciplinary perspectives on the great questions that have long preoccupied human beings, such as "who are we, were did we come from, and where are we going?" To acquaint students with the works of those who have grappled with ultimate questions, courses integrate history, literature, philosophy, religion, politics, music and art. Upon graduation Humanities students pursue a wide variety of occupations: law, journalism, librarianship, teaching, public service, social work and public relations.

Baccalaureate majors


Designed for students who are interested in interdisciplinary studies, the humanities major features concentrations in American studies, Asian studies, European studies, Middle East Studies, Comparative Religious Studies, and Liberal Arts. A special feature of the major is its flexibility. While the emphases represent coherent programs, they also offer considerable choice within the numerous area electives that allow students to develop individual programs of study to suit their own interests and needs. Devised to provide students with a liberal education through heightened awareness, broad knowledge and critical thinking, the humanities major prepares students for many professional programs and occupations such as law, librarianship, social work, communications, teaching and public service. 

  •      Concentration in American Studies
  •      Concentration in Asian Studies
  •      Concentration in Comparative Religious Studies
  •      Concentration in European Studies
  •      Concentration in Liberal Arts
  •      Concentration in Middle East Studies

Liberal Studies, Preparation for Teaching

This major is designed for students interested in teaching in elementary school or middle school. In addition, this program is approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) as subject matter preparation for diversified subject matter preparation. Like all other applicants, students must meet credential program standards and undergo screening for admission.

BA—Creative Arts

The Creative Arts degree is a flexible and individualized program of study which helps students meet their own learning objectives and graduate on time. No two students take exactly the same program of study. Students combine 12 or more units of core courses in interdisciplinary Creativity Studies with courses they select in Acting, Art History, Arts Education, Asian Theatre, Children's Theatre, Creative and Technical Writing, Dance, Digital Media, Film History and Production, Glass, Graphic and Interior Design, Literature, Movement, Radio and TV, Music Performance and Theory, Painting, Performance and Installation Art, Photography, Screen Writing, Sound Recording, Stage Lighting, Storytelling—to name some of the possibilities. Most students also complete special senior projects or internships. Key to the CA Program is an emphasis on thinking and the creative process, producing students who are critical, conscious and effective thinkers. Recent graduates have become successful visual and performing artists, teachers, art administrators, software developers, software engineers, physicians, writers, sound recording engineers, costume designers, arts therapists, multimedia designers, librarians and entrepreneurs. The Creative Arts Program at SJSU is the only one of its kind in the CSU system.

BA—Creative Arts, Preparation for Teaching

This major is designed for students interested in teaching in elementary school or middle school. In addition, this program is approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) as subject matter preparation for diversified subject matter preparation. Like all other applicants, students must meet credential program standards and undergo screening for admission.


Minor -- Comparative Religious Studies 
The religious studies minor offers a basic understanding of religious beliefs and practices for those whose careers would benefit significantly from a familiarity with some religious traditions, such as those in teaching, journalism, business, social work, medicine and law. The minor incorporates the study of religious traditions with reflection on what religion is and how we understand it.

Minor - American Studies

The American Studies Program provides useful preparation for graduate study, for elementary or secondary teaching, or for careers in law, public service or government. In addition to the minor in American Studies, a student can receive a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities with an emphasis in American Studies through the Humanities Department. All American Studies courses, whether for a major, minor, or for general education, enhance our understanding of how our nation developed in the past, what it has become, and how these changes affect us today. Courses focus on subjects such as the American dream, interracial relations, environmental issues, popular culture and women's concerns.

Minor - Asian Studies

The interdepartmental Minor in Asian Studies permits students to concentrate their course work in one of the following areas: General Asian Studies, East Asia, South Asia, or Southeast Asia. For each area, students will study the cultural background, social sciences, and language. The Asian Studies minor will acquaint students with the histories, traditional cultures and contemporary conditions of Asian countries and societies. Courses may be selected from anthropology, art, foreign languages, geography, history, music, philosophy, political science, religious studies and business.

Minor - Middle East Studies

The Middle East Studies Program is committed to helping students gain a better knowledge and understanding of the peoples, cultures, religions and conflicts of this strategic part of the world. The program provides background for students whose professional goals include the promotion of mutual understanding, tolerance and peace in the region. The Middle East minor is especially recommended to students seeking a career in international law, business, economic development, health care, education or religious studies. Courses encompass the disciplines of art history, anthropology, business, foreign languages, history, humanities, political science, sociology and religious studies.

Minor - Creative Arts

The minor program is individualized and adapts specific course requirements to each student's interests, goals, and prior academic and professional experience. The flexibility of program requirements makes creative arts particularly friendly to transfer and re-entry students.


This interdisciplinary program offers students the opportunity to study the humanites (including art, history, literature, philosophy, and religion) as expressed in American, Asian, European, and other world cultures.  In addition to the focus on a better understanding of the humanities, there is emphasis upon thinking and writing skills, critical reasoning and effective communication.  The program thus provides useful preparation for careers in research, teaching, law, public service, or government.

Special lower division general education programs: 

Humanities Honors Program: 1A/B-2A/B is a four-semester survey course in the Background of Western Culture and Society (1A/1B) and Modern Cultural and Social Institutions (2A/2B) which provides students with 24 units of core General Education in a format that emphasizes the interrelationship of art, literature, philosophy and social institutions. The course is interdisciplinary and team-taught, and is organized chronologically from the Ancient World through the Middle Ages, the Renaissance (1A/B), the Early Modern and Contemporary periods (2A/B). In the last two semesters (2A/B) the course focuses upon the emergence and development of American culture and institutions within the broader framework of European, African and indigenous American and Asian history and cultures. Interdisciplinary by nature, the course is comprised of both team-taught lectures and singly led discussion seminars which require reading the classic works of Asian, African, European and American Cultures.
American Civilization is a two-course, twelve-unit sequence which satisfies over one-fourth of all lower division general education requirements. The two courses, AmS 1A and 1B, provide the opportunity to study America's development and current conditions through themes such as the American dream, environmental issues, and ethnic and women's studies. The course consists of team-taught lectures, followed by smaller discussion seminars.

Existing Resources

The King Library serves as the University’s main resource for these subjects, including the San José Public Library collection available to our students. The King Library collection provides resources in a variety of formats (streaming video, compact disc, audiotape, phonograph records, etc.). SJSU's curriculum-related DVDs are housed in the Instructional Resource Center and included in the Library Catalog. Many related Humanities films are now available through the Library's streaming video resources,

The San José Public Library’s collection of DVDs—many of which fall in the “educational” category—is available for checkout to SJSU students.

EARMARC (East Asian Regional Materials and Resources Center) is an important additional resource for Asian Studies. Under the aegis of the Humanities Department, it provides audio-visual materials for high school and college students in Northern California. The video and film library holds hundreds of videos and reels, most of which are related to China or Japan. The collection also includes slide sets and audio materials. Almost all areas of East Asian society and culture are covered. Items are available on request to teachers in a university, college, or secondary school in Northern California as long as they are to be used for educational purposes.


Collection development for the Humanities Department is an interdisciplinary effort with many items collected under other disciplines, primarily history, literature, philosophy, political science, music and art. Secondarily, it obtains materials to support the interdisciplinary programs of the Humanities Department that were not purchased by selectors covering individual disciplines. Collecting for the Humanities Department tends to emphasize materials with a more general focus on cultural studies or an interdisciplinary focus. The Religious Studies program interfaces with other departments, such as Women’s Studies, Anthropology, Sociology, Philosophy, Art, Music, and History.

Our partner, the San Jose Public Library has a large number of general religion books in languages other than English, which should be of interest to Humanities students studying other languages. The SJPL’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection—which includes books, videos, cassettes and DVDs on Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement—may be of particular interest to students in American Studies. Cultural studies and popular culture are of interest to many in Humanities, and the merged collection of the King Library makes popular materials more accessible to our students and faculty.

Collection Strengths

The collection is fairly strong in basic, general undergraduate-level materials in Asian Studies. The collection is fairly strong in scholarly interpretations of the world’s major religious traditions, and Christianity is still much better represented than other world religions. The strength of the religious studies collection is to be as global as possible in covering the great diversity of religions and as inclusive as possible in covering the various methodological approaches to the study of religion.

Evaluation of Collection – Current Status and Future Plans

A.     Current research support

Studies in Humanities topics are supported by the Humanities related databases found in the Humanities Research Guide:

B.      Future Evaluation Plans

Collecting will continue to focus on those areas that “fall between the cracks,” such as cultural studies, popular culture and other interdisciplinary materials. Progress has been made in improving the percentage of materials in non-Western religions and materials. 

The Humanities Department will be narrowing its concentration focuses during Fall 2019.  At that time, the collection development policy guide will be revisited.