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*Courses that are asterisked are restricted for enrollment to Humanities majors until April 20.

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HUMN 1010: Introduction to Humanities

Giulia Bernardini/Alexandra Eddy

Humanities 1010 is a 6 credit hour course that meets six times a week (three literature discussion classes and three lecture-demonstrations in art and music). The course provides an analytical and comparative study of works in literature, music, and visual arts from Antiquity to the 17th century. Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: historical context or literature and the arts.

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.

Literature: The literature 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. When registering for Humanities 1010, students should sign up for a literature section. These sections meet three times a week, MWF.

HUMN 2000: Methods and Approaches to Humanities
Paul Gordon/Anthony Abiragi/Carla Jones

Humanities 2000 will be team-taught by various members of the Humanities faculty who will each offer a separate “mini-course” on one of the essential issues or methodological concerns which students can expect to encounter in their future coursework for the Humanities major.  Although the subject of each mini-course may be expected to vary from year to year, topics proposed by faculty in the past include: word/image studies; rhetoric; translation; the canon; gender studies; cultural studies; literature and the other arts; literary theory; philosophy and literature; etc.  Prerequisite HUMN 1010 or 1020.  Restricted to Humanities majors.

HUMN 2601: Kafka and the Kafkaesque
Davide Stimilli

One proof of a writer’s acknowledged status as a classic is undoubtedly the currency of his or her name in ordinary parlance.  Not only has “Kafka” become a household name, but even the adjective derived from his name, “Kafkaesque” is liberally applied to anything, from works of art to state bureaucracies, from types of shoes to architectural styles, by people who may have never read a word of Kafka’s writing.  The term is therefore often misused and misunderstood, in spite of being by now recorded and defined in every dictionary of the language.  This course is meant to counteract such a trend and to expose the students to a wide selection of Kafka’s literary output, with the aim of reaching our own tentative answer to the question: What is the Kafkaesque?  We will then expand upon Jorge Luis Borges’ suggestion, in a seminal essay he devoted to “Kafka and His Precursors,” that extraordinary writers change our understanding and appreciation of the past, as much as they modify the future of literature, and upon Gilles Deleuze’s contention, in his fundamental study of film aesthetics, The Movement-Image, that Orson Welles’ cinematographic style is the visual equivalent of Kafka’s literary style.  We will do so by looking for traces of the Kafkaesque in the verbal as well as the visual arts, beyond the empirical existence of the writer called “Kafka”.  Same as GRMN 2601.  Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: literature and the arts.

HUMN 3093: Topics in Humanities: Modern Media and the Parisian Avant-Garde, 1848-1914
Giulia Bernardini

From 1848 to 1914, France experienced intense socio-political tension and transformation.  Against a backdrop of imperial and republican struggles for power, its cities grew into sprawling urban centers populated by a working class inspired by the ideals of socialism, and by a growing bourgeoisie with expendable income and leisure time.  At the frontline of society was the avant-garde: the painters, musicians, and authors whose self-imposed task it was to translate this new state of modernity into their chosen media.  This class will study the Parisian avant-garde – its artistic personalities and movements – to investigate the notion of the artist as cultural commentator and to inquire how it built the foundations for twentieth century modernism.  Though we will focus primarily on the visual arts, works of literature and music will also be used to enrich our understanding of this era. Restricted to sophomores/juniors/seniors.

HUMN 3093: Topics in Humanities: The Arabic Novel
Haythem Bahoora

Focusing on the novel genre in the Arabic literary tradition, this course will examine both the aesthetic qualities of the genre as an artistic form and the ways it has depicted and intervened in the modern social, political, and cultural movements and events that have shaped the Arab world in the 20th century. Our theoretical anchor will be the inconclusive and often contentious debates on the question of modernity, and in particular, modernity in the colonial and post-colonial worlds. Our readings will be organized specifically around the following historical events and themes: colonialism and post- colonialism, discourses of progress and development, urbanization and representations of the peasantry, debates on tradition, gender and the role of women in society, and the role of religion in public life. Authors include Naguib Mahfouz, al-Tayyib Salih, Abd al-Rahman Munif, Sonallah Ibrahim, Edward Said, and Frantz Fanon. Same as ARAB 3330.

HUMN 3104: Film Criticism & Theory
R. Auguiste

This course surveys and engages with the major film theories. It also examines the role and function of film criticism. Students will screen at least one film each week, read pertinent theoretical and critical writings, participate insightfully in discussions, and write analytically and creatively about topics discussed and gestured toward in class. Same as FILM 3104.

HUMN 3660: Postmodern
Anthony Abiragi

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.

HUMN 4004: Topics in Film Theory: Jung & Film
Jim Palmer

The basic concepts of C. G. Jung’s archetypal psychology (shadow, anima/animus, character typology, and individuation) are studied and applied as tools of critical analysis to selected films and literary texts of the modern period. Same as FILM 3022.

HUMN 4093: Politics of Contemporary Literature and Art
Patrick Greaney

An examination of the role of politics in contemporary art and literature.  The first half of the course will focus on text-based practices in the visual arts in the 1960s and 1970s, and the second half of the course will investigate how these practices have been transformed by 21st century writers and artists. The course will include visits to the exhibition “Postscript: Writing After Conceptual Art” at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. Artists and writers to be studied will include Vito Acconci, Carl Andre, Luis Camnitzer, Craig Dworkin, Andrea Geyer, Kenneth Goldsmith, Sharon Hayes, Lee Lozano, Robert Morris, Adrian Piper, Vanessa Place, Wu Ingrid Tsang, and Andy Warhol. We will also read theoretical texts by Nietzsche, Benjamin, Adorno, Foucault, and Deleuze.

HUMN 4100: Writing the World in Traditional China
Paul Kroll

Examines the history and implications of the central role played by writing in premodern China, especially with regard to traditional constructions of the world, including relations with aesthetics, the non-human, and the spiritual. Key works of Chinese literature and thought from different periods are studied, with the aim of determining a particular type of Chinese humanism. All readings in English.

HUMN 4110: Greek and Roman Epic
Peter Knox 

Students read in English translation the major epics of Greco-Roman antiquity such as the IliadOdysseyArgonauticaAeneid, and Metamorphoses. Topics discussed may include the nature of classical epic, its relation to the novel, and its legacy.  No Greek or Latin required.  Same as CLAS 4110.

Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: literature and the arts.

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 arts and sciences core curriculum: critical thinking; ideals and value.

HUMN 4504: Goethe’s Faust
Edward Maier

We emphasize Goethe’s Faust parts I and II, but the course begins with Marlowe’s reworking of the original Faust material, includes Byron’s Manfred and selections from Dostoevsky and Nietzsche, before concluding with Thomas Mann’s novel Doctor Faustus.  The Faust theme has intrigued students of literature and thought for many centuries, and it serves as a metaphor for the modern condition.  How does one assign a value to the human soul, if Christianity is not accepted as the supreme authority?  What happens to notions of the good life in the age of Enlightenment?  How are human beings disposed to conceive of their essence “after the death of God?”  How does evil manifest itself in the twentieth century?  How does the dualism of the here and now versus the here-after influence humanity’s habitation of the Earth? Same as GRMN 4504/COML 5504.  Approved for the arts and sciences core curriculum: literature and the arts.

HUMN 4650: Religion, Power, Modernity
Ruth Mas

Examines the representation of religion in relationship to the claims made by modern narratives of power in fables, literature, graphic novels, visual materials and critical writings.

HUMN 4730: Italian Feminisms: Culture, Theory and Narrative
Cosetta Seno 

Studies Italian women writers, artists, and film makers of this century.  Literary and visual texts are analyzed in dialogue with readings of leading Italian gender theorists.  Italian history and culture is reread by following the development of a discourse about women.  Taught in English; readings in Italian for Italian majors.  Same as ITAL 4730. Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: cultural and gender diversity.

HUMN 4811: Nineteenth Century Russian Literature
Vicki Hendrickson

The 19th century was a turbulent time in Russian society, and nowhere are the heated debates over the future and welfare of the country more acutely revealed than in the literature produced in that period.  Such issues as “the women question,” the liberation of the serfs, radicalism, and nihilism all find expression through the various writers who dominated the literary scene – Pushkin, Gogol, Lermontov, Turgenev, and Dostoevsky, among others.  This course is intended to introduce students to not only the social movements, but the cultural movements as well.  Aside from the topics listed above, we will explore the sentimentalism and romanticism that reflected the Western influence on the Russian novel in the first half of the 19th century, and move on to the novels of realism exemplified by the literary giants of the second half of the century.  Grades for the course will be determined by quizzes, short papers, and a final, as well as participation in class discussions.  No prior experience with Russian language or literature is required.  Same as RUSS 4811.  Approved for the arts and sciences core curriculum: literature and the arts.

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’ Diary,Angels 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.

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