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Humanities Course Descriptions

HUMA105M - Introduction to Music (3-0-3)

An introduction to Western Music. Students listen to, read about and discuss the great music of the Middle Ages, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Modern periods. (Fulfills Humanities requirement)

HUMA106M - History of American Popular Music (3-0-3)

Provides a historical overview of American popular music, from the mid-19th to the turn of the 21st century, including folk, jazz, ragtime, blues, swing, show music, motion picture music, country, rock and roll, soul, heavy metal, pop, grunge, rap and Latin / African music. Students will be required to listen to music associated with these styles. (Fulfills Humanities requirement)

HUMA126M - Introduction to Film (3-0-3)

Provides a historical overview of film from its inception to the present day. In addition to exploring textual elements such as narrative, characterization, plot and symbolism, film’s technical elements (mise-en-scène, cinematography, lighting, editing and sound) are considered. Emphasis is on film as both cultural artifact and institution. Major films, developments, genres, directors and movements are studied and the technical vocabulary needed to interpret, analyze and appreciate film is developed. (Fulfills Humanities requirement)

HUMA200M - Film and American Culture (3-0-3)

This course explores the relationship between American film and American culture. The emphasis is on film as a product of a specific period of time; its potential to both reflect and challenge American ideals will be considered. Readings, film screenings and discussions will focus on genre, important films/filmmakers and key developments within the industry. Prerequisites: ENGL110M or equivalent, or permission of the instructor. (Fulfills Humanities requirement)

HUMA205M - Special Topics in the Humanities: The 1619 Project (3-0-3)

The 1619 Project sponsored by The New York Times and the Pulitzer Foundation is described by its developers as follows.

“The 1619 Project is an ongoing initiative from The New York Times Magazine that began in August 2019, the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to re-frame the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative” (NYT 19).

This course will examine the 1619 Project as a view of American History in a range of perspectives rather than unilaterally where we often declare which perspective is or is not true. It provides an opportunity to critically think, discuss, research, argue, and write about current issues. We will seek answers in history, literature, music, poetry, art, social media, and journalism from the 17th century to the present. The course will focus on critical reading and application of the past to better understand our present and prepare for an ever-changing future.

HUMA205M - Special Topics in the Humanities: Superheroes, A Modern Mythology (3-0-3)

This course will explore the origins of superheroes in comic books and examine how the superhero has escaped the confines of a trivialized medium to represent the principles of American culture. We will also look at how superheroes reflect older mythologies and also respond to the needs and interests of modern society. We will consider not only printed comics but also new expressions of the characters in other areas, such as television, film, and digital media.

HUMA205M - Special Topics in the Humanities (3-0-3)

The Humanities explores what it means to be human within a contemporary or historical context. The Humanities provide us with the broad frameworks within which enduring questions of existence, relationships, values, and aesthetics can be examined from multiple perspectives. The Special Topics in the Humanities course changes thematically each semester and may explore ideas around evil, love, race, gender, sport, spirituality, and those strands which connect us and make us human. Prerequisites: completion of ENGL110M or ENGL110XM.

HUMA205M - Special Topics in the Humanities: Critical Thinking (in a Distracted World) (3-0-3)

This course presents a skill-based approach to critical thinking and attention management as a way to explore and evaluate ideas in the digital era of high-speed information, hyper-connection, and mass distraction. Students will be grounded in critical thinking's basic formative skills of distinguishing fact and opinion, making inferences, detecting biases, and reasoning inductively and deductively, while simultaneously developing the observation, mindfulness, and attention skills necessary to counterbalance the current effects of omnipresent digital stimuli.

This course infuses the core course content with the writings of such Stoic philosophers as Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius who remind us that we can only control our personal responses to external events outside of our control. Awareness of this concept will help students develop greater confidence in their ability to make rational choices and proper decisions. Prerequisites: ENGL110XM or ENGL110M.

HUMA205M - Special Topics in the Humanities: The Self, the Other and the Arts (3-0-3)

The purpose of this course is to explore our humanness through a study of artists and their art. We’ll look at painters, like the self-confident Frida Kahlo and the self-sabotaging Jackson Pollock. We’ll read poets like Allen Ginsberg who expressed himself fearlessly, breaking new ground. We’ll read short stories by authors like James Baldwin, Flannery O’Connor, Kate Chopin, and others, who grappled with themes of identity, race, religion, class, and gender. We’ll even dabble in some music and film. By the end of the course, each student will have compiled a “Gallery” of their own favorite works, reflecting upon their personal growth in understanding of themselves and others through the arts. Prerequisites: ENGL110XM or ENGL110M.

HUMA205M - Special Topics in the Humanities: History of Television (3-0-3)

This course provides a historical overview of television from its inception to the present day. Emphasis is placed on television as both cultural artifact and institution This course will examine this medium through a Humanities lens, exploring the impact it’s had on our understanding of people and the diverse human story. Students will also develop the technical vocabulary needed to interpret, analyze, and appreciate television. The course will analyze creative elements such as narrative, characterization, casting, directing, and design. Television’s technical elements (the “making” of good television including writing, rehearsing, production--with a special eye on pandemic production) will be considered as well. Prerequisite: Completion of ENGL100M/ENGL110XM or permission of the Department Chair.

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