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HUMN 1110 Introduction to Humanities 1 Literature

Humanities 1110 is a 3 credit hour course that meets three times a wee . The course provides an analytical and comparative study of works in literature from Antiquity to the 17th century. Approved for A&S Gen. Ed. distribution: Arts and Humanities.

Literature: This section includes works such as Homer’s Odyssey, Greek tragedy, Plato’s Symposium, Dante’s Inferno, Boccaccio’s Decameron, selections from Montaigne’s Essays, and Shakespeare’s King Lear.


HUMN 1120 Introduction to Humanities 2 Literature

Introduces students to works from the major Western literary periods (Baroque, Enlightenment, Romanticism, Realism, Modernism, Post-Modernism) from the 17th- through the 21st-centuries outside their national literary boundaries. Approved for A&S Gen. Ed. distribution: Arts and Humanities.

HUMN 1210 Introduction to Humanities 1 Art and Music
Giulia Bernardini/A. Siso 

Humanities 1210 is a 3 credit hour course that meets three times a week . The course provides an analytical and comparative study of works in music, and visual arts from Antiquity to the 17th century. Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum.

Music: A chronological study of Western classical music from Classical Antiquity through the Renaissance, with primary focus upon developments in the art of Western musical composition in its natural context: the intellectual tradition of Western civilization. We will study significant individual Western classical compositions both as artistic structures and as expressions of human thought and experience, and will note similarities between early Western music and the music of other cultures, times, and places. No prior knowledge of music is necessary.

Art: The art lectures will begin by investigating examples of the art and architecture of ancient Greece and Rome and will then move onto Early Medieval, Romanesque, and Gothic architecture and architectural sculpture. The semester ends with a survey of major Renaissance, High Renaissance, and Reformation works in painting, sculpture, and architecture. Throughout all periods of study, we will consider the question – and problem – of context; attempting to better understand the political, religious, social, and philosophical trends underpinning each era we encounter. No prior experience with art or art history is necessary. Approved for A&S Gen. Ed. distribution: Arts and Humanities.

HUMN 2000 Methods and Approaches to Humanities
Annje Wiese

Provides a transition from the introductory courses to the upper-division courses. Introduces the various technical methods and topics encountered in the department's comparative, interdisciplinary upper-division courses, including cultural studies, rhetoric, translation, hermeneutics, word/image studies. Approved for A&S Gen. Ed. distribution: Arts and Humanities.

HUMN 2100 Arts, Culture, and Media

Promotes a better understanding of fundamental aesthetic and cultural issues by exploring competing definitions of art and culture. Sharpens critical and analytical abilities by asking students to read and compare different theories about arts, culture, media, and identity, and then to apply and assess those theories in relation to a selection of visual and verbal texts from a range of cultural and linguistic traditions.Approved for A&S Gen. Ed. distribution: Arts and Humanities.

HUMN 3092/PHIL 3700 Studies: Aesthetic Theory
Graham Oddie

The primary focus of this course is to explore the philosophy of art. Creating, enjoying and appreciating art is one of the most distinctive features of human beings. Artworks are among the most valued entities in our culture, but also in most human cultures. But what is art, and why do we, or why should we, value it so highly? These are the core questions that we will address in this course. We will explore a variety of answers that philosophers have given to these basic questions. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it turns out to be difficult to formulate a coherent and consistent theory of art and of its value. One aim of the course is to become familiar with the main answers to these questions, and the arguments for and against them. The range of theories we will explore include: the representational theory, the expression theory, formalism, neo-Wittgensteinianism, and the institutional theory. But aesthetic theory encompasses more than the domain of art. A secondary aim of the course will be to locate art within the wider domain of aesthetic objects, aesthetic properties, and aesthetic experiences. We will examine a general account of aesthetic value, one that resurfaces from time to time, and was most explicitly expounded by Francis Hutcheson in An Inquiry into the Original of Our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue (1725). The concept of beauty, which was once thought to be central to the understanding of art, was pretty much sent into exile in twentieth century philosophy of art, but recently some philosophers of art have begun to pay attention to it again. Hutcheson's thesis is that beauty is unified complexity. We will explore how far this idea can give us a general theory of art and its value, and how that might fit in to a general theory of value. Same as Phil 3700. Approved for A&S Gen. Ed. distribution: Arts and Humanities.

HUMN 3093 Game Studies
Andrew Gilbert

Game Studies introduces basic media literacy by exploring the aesthetic and cultural principles behind the use and creation of one of (if not the) largest cultural forms of modern media. As 60% of all Americans play video games daily, and the industry itself surpasses cinema as the global games market reached 148.8 billion, it is wise for us to be able to read and critique such a massive part of our culture. This class will explore the specific theories associated with the media of gaming as well as dive deeply into several aspects unique to gaming (the avatar, the Dungeons and Dragons live stream, etc.).

HUMN 3093 004/FILM 3043 Cinema, Landscape & Architecture
Suranjan Ganguly

This topic is a multicultural investigation of the ways in which landscape and architecture are represented on film, focusing on issues such as margins and centers, political geography, exile, inner space, memory and time, the sublime, and transcendence. Course has strong intellectual content and draws exclusively on international cinema. Approved for A&S Gen. Ed. distribution: Arts and Humanities.

HUMN 3200 Fictions of Illness

Examines the ways in which the rise of modern medicine fueled the literary imagination with a new focus, new patterns of perception and potent metaphors. Through a study of various works of fiction, critical theory and medical history, the course traces how medical discoveries and the increasing professionalization of medicine manifested itself in modern literature.Approved for A&S Gen. Ed. distribution: Arts and Humanities.

HUMN 3210 Narrative
Annje Wiese

This course will examine narrative as a central form of representation in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries by analyzing the effects of form on how we understand and represent our world. Two questions will guide this examination: “what kind of relation (if any) is there between narratives and reality (or ‘life’)?” (posed by Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan); and, “what kind of notion of reality authorizes construction of a narrative account of reality?” (posed by Hayden White). With the aid of different theories of narrative, we will attempt to answer these questions by closely analyzing how narrative form represents and informs perception and experience as well as how this has changed throughout the past century. Approved for A&S Gen. Ed. distribution: Arts and Humanities.

HUMN 3240 Tragedy
Paul Gordon

In this course we will examine theories of tragedy (Aristotle, Hegel, Nietzsche) and apply those theories, in order to examine their potential efficacy, to various works of art. After a careful examination of Greek tragedy, beginning with Aeschylus and Sophocles and concluding with Euripides’ last play on The Bacchae, the only extant tragedy which deals with Dionysus and the “birth of tragedy,” we will examine the survival of tragedy in 19-th and 20th century works of art—specifically, the works of the William Butler Yeats, Ibsen (Hedda Gabler), Chekhov (The Cherry Orchard), and Tennessee Williams (A Streetcar Named Desire). Restricted to Sophs/Jrs/Srs. Approved for A&S Gen. Ed. distribution: Arts and Humanities.


HUMN 3660 Postmodern
David Ferris

This course will examine the event of the Postmodern and its effect within literature, film, architecture, culture, and critical theory. Beginning with works that signal and examine the onset of modernity, the consequences of postmodernity for our understanding of the modern as a sign of our intellectual, cultural, and social progress will be presented. Once defined in relation to the modern, our attention will turn to the problems and issues posed by the postmodern with respect to history, perception, and the concept of an era that is also our present. We will also examine various recent attempts to think beyond the postmodern. The course will include a broad selection of works from architectural theory to performance art. Approved for A&S Gen. Ed. distribution: Arts and Humanities.

HUMN 4030 Art of Travel
Giulia Bernardini

Examines the art of travel: not where to go and what to do, but rather philosophical concepts about why people travel. Areas of discussion will include exploration, discovery, escape, pilgrimage, the grand tour, expatriotism, exile, nomadism, armchair travel, and the sense of home. Materials will include books by travel writers, novels, films, essays, short stories, art, music, and historical documents.Approved for A&S Gen. Ed. distribution: Arts and Humanities.

HUMN 4155 Philosophy, Art, and the Sublime
Paul Gordon  

“Perhaps the most sublime utterance is that inscribed on the temple of Isis: “I am all that is, that was, and that will ever be; no mortal has lifted my veil.” (Kant) In this course we will examine theories of the sublime and apply those same theories to various works of art. Beginning with Longinus, we will then move to the beginning of modern discussions of the sublime in Burke and Kant before proceeding to the “golden age” of sublimity, 18-19th century German and English romanticism. After a study of sublimity in Goethe’s Faust we will then turn our attention to the writings of the English romantic poets (Shelley, Wordsworth, Coleridge), as well to the early 19th-century novel, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. After an examination of the sublime paintings of Turner (and his predecessors) we will move, in the final section of the course, to an examination of the survival of the sublime in the 20th century paintings and films of Barnett Newman, Georgia O’Keefe, Werner Herzog, and John Carpenter. Prerequisite HUMN 2000 or junior /senior standing. Approved for A&S Gen. Ed. distribution: Arts and Humanities.

HUMN 4835 Literature and Social Violence
Cathy Comstock

This honors seminar focuses on both literary and non-fictional texts about social violence, so that we can compare the understanding and effects made possible through different media, including film in some cases. We’ll study gang culture, homophobia and AIDS, the effects of racism and poverty on gutted-out neighborhoods and school systems, and the politics of hunger. We’ll also look at sources of great hope and positive action, such as Mountains Beyond Mountains, The Freedom Writers’ DiaryAngels in America and other ways in which both art and social action can make a transformative difference. All this is combined with the option to get extra credit by doing volunteer work in community agencies, since the personal experience with the effects of social violence helps us to understand the class materials—and our culture overall—more deeply.

As a means of approaching works from across the disciplines and beyond, we will be learning how to do discourse analysis of the language of both the texts and our society. In this way the class will focus especially on our methods of making meaning and how those meanings act to maintain or transform our cultural structures. Approved for A&S Gen. Ed. distribution: Arts and Humanities.

The class texts include Do or Die, Angels in America, The Bluest Eye, Freedom Writers’ Diary, Savage Inequalities, Gandhi the Man andTortilla CurtainRestricted to sophomores/juniors/seniors. This course is approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: contemporary societies.