Colloquium Rationale and List of Works

The Rationale

The Rationale should include a discussion of the proposed topics of your Colloquium and some of the central works on your List of Works. For more information about the content of the Rationale, please see the Rationale web page.

The List of Works

In putting together the List of Works, students should think about works that have had a significant impact on their thinking and those that were important to their courses. Most importantly, students should talk to their adviser about works that may be relevant to the topics they plan to discuss in their Colloquium.

The list should consist of the kind of texts, art works, objects, music, or other materials students have encountered in their studies. What matters most is that these works be significant for your inquiry. Normally, students should avoid how-to manuals, self-help books, and most textbooks unless they plan to engage critically with these genres.

Items on your list should be carefully identified, with complete bibliographic information, including full title, name of author, and original date of publication for texts, and comparable information for other works.

The List should consist of 20 to 25 works.  The works should reflect geographic diversity. They should not all be drawn from a single region of the world.

You will be required to include works in the following categories though they may be arranged as you and your adviser see fit. Please note that the numbers of required works in each category do not and are not intended to add up to a total or 20 or 25 works, because some works will belong in several categories.

Your list of works should include:

  • four works from the Humanities produced after the mid-1600s, in Humanities fields such as Literature (including works of literature as well as literary criticism), Philosophy, History, the Arts, Critical Theory, and Religion;
  • four works from the Social and/or Natural Sciences that should be nonfiction works, produced after the mid-1600s, in the Natural Sciences (such as Biology, Neuroscience, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry or Astronomy) and Social Science disciplines (such as Political Science, Economics, Psychology, Anthropology, and Sociology)
  • seven works from pre-modern or early modern periods
  • five works that point specifically to your concerns in your concentration.

Among these works, you must identify:

  • four works that place your issues or questions in cultural, political and geographical contexts, including perspectives from the global south or from parts of the world outside of the regions in which you are focusing your concentration.

This means placing your inquiry in relation to debates about how knowledge is shaped by place, power and history.

  • four works that help you think historically about your themes and questions.

Thinking historically can mean examining the continuities and discontinuities of the object of study, theme, concept or problem with its earlier and later manifestations in order to help us understand its transformation over time. Taking an historical perspective can also mean examining the object of study in relation to contemporaneous ideas and phenomena in order to help us understand the meaning of the object in relation to its own historical moment.

These various categories can overlap—a work of social science may serve also as a work that helps to historicize your issues and concerns; a work from the pre-modern world can serve as a work that provides access to other geographies or to perspectives from the global south.


Please attach your Rationale and List of Works below as a single document. Make sure your name is included in the title of the document. Please indicate if you are submitting a revised Rationale and / or List of Works.

The Rationale and List of Works must be approved by your adviser. Upon submission of these documents and this online form, an e-mail will be sent to your adviser requesting their approval, which they will provide by following the instructions in the email. After your adviser’s approval has been received, your Rationale and List of Works will be sent out for a second review by a member of the Gallatin faculty. The Gallatin faculty reviewer may approve your Rationale and List of Works or may require revisions. If revisions are required, you should discuss the reviewer’s comments with your adviser, revise the Rationale and/or List of Works, and resubmit the Rationale and List of Works for final approval. Your revised Rationale and List of Works must be submitted no less than four weeks before your scheduled colloquium.
More information
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The Committee

If there are faculty who you intend to ask to participate in your Colloquium, please list their names below. Remember that one of your Colloquium committee members will be your primary faculty adviser, and at least one must be a member of Gallatin's full-time faculty. Note that you will submit a separate Colloquium Registration form to finalize your Colloquium committee.

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