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HUMN 1120 Introduction to Humanities II 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. Theorizes interdisciplnarity, genre studies, periodization, comparativism, thematology, hermeneutics, criticism, etc.

Credit not granted for this course and HUMN 1020. Approved for Literature and the Arts

HUMN 1220 Introduction to Humanities II Art and Music
Giulia Bernardini, A. Siso

The lectures for the Introduction to the Humanities 1220 course present students with an inter-disciplinary survey of the production of art and music from the Baroque period to the present. As a result of situating major works in their economic, historical, and cultural contexts, students develop the ability to consider visual and musical works not only in terms of their formal or stylistic qualities but most importantly to ponder how these characteristics emphasize the political, religious, and philosophical trends of the periods of production being analyzed. Selected primary and secondary texts from the fields of art history, musicology, art theory, music theory, philosophy, history, science, cultural studies and sociology help to reinforce students’ understanding of the trends under investigation and the methodologies that have been used in the scholarly and ‘mainstream’ discourses around them. The ultimate goal of the course is to familiarize students with the Western humanistic legacy in order to become articulate and analytical cultural critics of the world they inhabit.

HUMN 3093 Literature and Law
David Ferris

This course will examine how literature engages with how law (legal, scientific, aesthetic) is established and enforced and with how literature exposes contradiction and violence within law.  The course will cover a wide range of material and forms each of which present a conflict between literature’s tendency to defer and suspend judgement and law’s desire to enforce it.  Works and authors to be examined include Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes mysteries, Sophocles’ Antigone, selected stories from Boccaccio’s Decameron, The Return of Martin Guerre (book and film), Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Kleist’s “The Earthquake in Chile,” “The Foundling” and “Improbably Veracities,” Kafka’s “Before the Law” and “The Problem of Our Laws,” Carl Schmitt on law and sovereign decision, and excerpts from Benjamin’s “Critique of Violence.”

HUMN 3093 Avatars
Andrew Gilbert

This course seeks to introduce students to the analysis of posthuman thought via the concept of the avatar within our digital cultures. Through an interdisciplinary approach to theory, art, and culture, students will become familiar with the discourse of both humanism and posthumanism as it relates to games, virtual spaces, and digital embodiments. Students will read selected theories on defining avatars and posthumanism and engage with these texts in a critical fashion in order to develop skills in close-reading, critical thinking, and analytical writing. Our primary creative texts will span different modes and genres of media from video games to poetry from around the world. The final grade will be assessed based on tests, papers, quizzes, and participation. It is my desire that students gain a foundational knowledge of human complexity. These skills will be integral to the further study of cultural texts that shape society within any given class or within your everyday reality where the borders of the human self are measured or tested.

HUMN 3104 Film Criticism
E Acevedo-Munoz

Surveys the range and function of film criticism, introduces major positions and concepts of film theory, and focuses on students’ abilities to write about film. Prerequisite FILM 1502. Same as FILM 3104.

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.

Over the course of the semester we will analyze works of fiction to see how narrative functions and we will look at narrative as a way of organizing thought that applies to interdisciplinary contexts including pop culture, art, identity studies, medicine, and law. Authors to be studied will likely include Nabokov, Auster, Morrison, Atwood, Small, and more. We will also consult works from a variety of narrative theorists. Prerequisites HUMN 2000 or junior/senior standing.

HUMN 3702 Dada and Surrealist Literature
J. Pelcher

Surveys the major theoretical concepts and literary genres of the Dada and Surrealist movements. Topics include Dada performance and cabaret, the manifesto, montage, the ready made, the Surrealist novel, colonialism and the avant-garde, and literary and philosophical precursors to the avant-garde.

HUMN 3800 Paris, Modernity, and the Avant-Garde
Giulia Bernardini

Investigates the development of the concept of the 'avant-garde' in late-nineteenth and early twentieth-century Paris against a backdrop of political and social revolution. Analyzes the innovative nature of certain works of art, theater, photography, music and literature as well as the influence of the city. Probes and problematizes the concept of the artist as social outsider and cultural critic. 

HUMN 4011 Criminal Hero
Paul Gordon

Studies various theories of literary transgression by Aristotle, Nietzsche, Freud, Bataille and others to understand the many works, beginning with Genesis and the Iliad and including contemporary works such as Norman Mailer's The Executioners Song and the films of Herzog (Aguirre, Nosferatu) and Scorsese (Taxi Driver, Cape Fear) which feature this paradoxical figure.

HUMN 4135 Art and Psychoanalysis
Paul Gordon

Explores psychoanalytic theory as it relates to our understanding of literature, film, and other arts.  After becoming familiar with some essential Freudian notions (repression, narcissism, ego/libido, dream work, etc.), students apply these ideas to works by several artists (e.g., Flaubert, James, Kafka, Hoffmann, and Hitchcock).   Prerequisite, HUMN 2000 or junior/senior standing.  Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: literature and the arts.

HUMN 4170 Fiction and Reality
Annje Wiese

Reality television, fiction, meta-fiction, virtual reality, magical realism, documentary, propaganda, autobiography, testimonial, digital manipulation of images, robotics—all are popular today for their ability to explore and question the line between fiction and reality. This issue is not a new phenomenon; throughout history humans have tried to understand the distinction between fiction and reality. But our contemporary culture seems particularly interested in both the differences and similarities between the two concepts. In this course we will explore the ramifications of the assumption that a recognizable distinction between reality and fiction exists or that there is no objective way to distinguish the two. With the aid of diverse theoretical sources, we will analyze a selection of literary, scientific, and cultural works in order to see how they define reality and fiction. At the same time, we will think deeply about the nuances involved in and the consequences of these definitions. The goal of this approach is twofold: 1) to arrive at an idea of what these often ambiguous concepts mean in our culture and 2) to be able to critically apply this idea to the problems posed by the questionable status of the separation between reality and fiction. Approved for arts and science core curriculum: literature and the arts.