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HUMA1301: Introduction to Humanities
Instructional Office Hours
The ACC catalogue describes this course as "A study of representative samples of literature, art, and music of various periods and cultures. The study of the interrelationships of the arts and their philosophies emphasizes an understanding of human nature and the values of human life."
There are no course prerequisites for Introduction to the Humanities. A passing score or the equivalent on the reading portion of the TASP is required, and I highly recommend a passing score or the equivalent on the writing portion.
We will explore the Western tradition by juxtaposing seven cities: Sumer, Athens, Ravenna, Florence, London, Paris, and Vienna. I have chosen two major themes, center/periphery and transformation, to help elicit from these cities both the patterns and the transgression of patterns identified as "periods" and "styles."
The study of the humanities from a comparative and interdisciplinary perspective affords the student the opportunity not only to acquire a deeper appreciation of particular works of art but also to gain a larger perspective on the work of art as an expression of the human spirit in a particular time and place. This perspective contributes to a deeper understanding of the continuities and discontinuities in the history of stylistic traditions.
Our class meetings will consist predominantly of discussion, group work, and presentations. We will use a variety of media in the presentations, including film, audio, web material, etc. The group work and group presentations will be an essential component of the class.
The major form of individual assessment will be evaluation of the presentations and writing assignments (essays, etc.). I may also use online forms to gather information about your progress in the coursework. I would prefer that assignments be submitted by email wherever possible.
I have set up a listserv for this class for additional discussion of issues that we do not cover in class. See my instructional web for details.
The texts will be available in the ACC bookstore. Additional readings will be available either in class or on my instructional web.
My philosophy regarding honors courses is that such courses are not merely more work but work at a higher level. The course I have designed therefore requires greater self-direction and independence, and I expect you to collaborate with me in the conduct of the course. This "introduction" to humanities is organized around multiple explorations of seven cities. We will examine each city in terms of five dimensions: social/technological context, literary arts, performing arts, plastic arts, and philosophical/religious traditions. While I have invented this basic design for the course, you and I will share the responsibility for identifying much of the course content. To this end, much of your work for this course will be researching these dimensions and sharing your findings with the class.
Your grade for this course will be based on in-class presentations, collaborative work, and written work demonstrating the pursuit of the objectives of the course. The following description is an overview of the course, but the Coursework Guide provides a more detailed explanation of each component.
Each student will be responsible for five presentations and one five-page essay. For each presentation, you will work with others to research one of the five dimensions of one of the cities we are exploring and present your research to the class for discussion. You will be expected to provide handouts in order to help organize the material, and you will lead a portion of the discussion. The essay is an opportunity to reflect on the material we cover in the course of the semester; it is cumulative in the sense that I will ask you to reflect on the patterns and themes we have discerned in our explorations of the seven cities. The assignments will be weighted according to the following chart:
Due dates for assignments will be arranged in class and posted on the main page for your course. Please note that I will not accept work after the stated due date, except by prior agreement. All written work done outside of class must be typed (using a standard fontno italics!) and double-spaced, and I prefer that you submit written work done outside of class by email whenever possible. Please see my Course Policies for further information.
I expect everyone to participate in class discussion. Class participation should be informed. By this I mean that everyone should come to class prepared for the day's work.
Review my Course Policies online at
Students have the right to believe whatever they happen to believe and, within the appropriate constraints that follow from the organization of a course and its class meetings, to express those beliefs. Grades will never be based on the beliefs that a student maintains, but only on the quality of the philosophical work performed by a student in conjunction with the course.
Cases of academic dishonesty will be pursued according to the procedure set forth in the Student Handbook, “Student Rights and Responsibilities,” Section J, “Academic Dishonesty."
Students with Disabilities
ACC is committed to full compliance with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you are entitled to accommodation and have not done so already, contact the Office for Students with Disabilities as soon as possible to request appropriate accommodations
This is a very brief overview of the course content. See the main page for important dates.
This page was last updated 08/23/2009 08:16:53 PM by mdaude.