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HUMA1301: Introduction to Humanities

Matthew M. Daude, Ph.D.

Synonym: 32495
Spring, 2002

12:00-1:15 PM
RGC 017

Contact Information

Office Rio Grande Campus
Peach Street Office Building, Room 2-I
ACC email mdaude@austincc.edu
Instructional email matthew@thoughtexperience.com
Instructional Web http://www.austincc.edu/mdaude

Instructional Office Hours

Monday 9:00 to 10:30 AM RGC, Peach Street, 2-I
Tuesday 9:00 to 11:00 AM online (Windows Messenger or Blackboard)
Wednesday 9:00 to 10:30 AM RGC, Peach Street, 2-I

Other times by appointment

Course Description

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."

Course Rationale

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.

PHIL2321 Objectives

Departmental Course Goals

  1. To become acquainted with representative works of art from the major historical periods and styles
  2. To explore the ways in which works of art are expressions of particular places and times
  3. To acquire a deeper appreciation of art as a manifestation of the human creative spirit


  1. Students will demonstrate familiarity with representative works of art from the major historical periods and styles
  2. Students will be able to discuss the context of representative works of art, particularly regarding the continuities and discontinuities of stylistic traditions
  3. Students will demonstrate increased understanding of and appreciation for art.

Instructional Methodology

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.

Required Texts/Materials

Calvino. Invisible Cities
Euripides. The Bacchae
Shakespeare. The Tempest
Voltaire. Candide
Kafka. Metamorphosis

The texts will be available in the ACC bookstore. Additional readings will be available either in class or on my instructional web.

Coursework and Grading Policy

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:

Five presentations (15% each)




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 font—no 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


Academic Freedom

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.

Academic Dishonesty

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

Course Outline

This is a very brief overview of the course content. See the main page for important dates.

bulletIntroduction: The Khan's invisible cities
bulletThe Bacchae
bulletThe Tempest
bulletConclusion: What the Khan saw

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This page was last updated 08/23/2009 08:16:53 PM by mdaude.