LS211 Introduction to the Humanities

for FA 2006

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LS211 Introduction to the Humanities


FA 2006 HO


Okerstrom, Dennis R.


Associate Professor of English


PhD, English and History

Office Location

305 Copley Hall

Office Hours

M & F, 9 -- 11; T & R, 9 -- 10, or by appointment

Daytime Phone

Ext. 6337


Semester Dates

21 August -- 15 December 2006

Class Days


Class Time

11:35 - 12:50 PM



Credit Hours


<EM>The Art of Being Human</EM>, by Janaro and Altshuler.

Additional Resources:
Films, handouts, and other resources will be available throughout the semester.

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
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Course Description:
(LS 211) A study of disciplines and concerns that promote humanness (such as art, music, philosophy and religion) and critical thinking: moral values, myths, love, and freedom. 3:0:3

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Note:  This is a general education (GE) course.  Therefore, some of the performance objectives are specifically related to the requirements for  GE courses.
  2. Students will demonstrate understanding of theories of origin, nature, and function of humanities
  3. Students will provide evidence of skill in academic research
  4. Students will demonstrate their skills in oral communication
  5. Students will demonstrate critical, aesthetic, and values literacies, in regard to humanities
  6. Students will demonstrate a more thoughtful awareness of multicultural and global considerations

Core Assessment:

Class Assessment:
Presentations, projects, a research paper, in-class writing assignments

<P>Attendance.  This is expected and required.  More than three absences will result in lowering the final grade by one letter for each additional three absences.</P> <P>Presentations.  Students will conduct a 20-minute presentation on a topic of abiding concern to the humanities.  This will be selected in consultation with the professor, and will be delivered before the semester break at the end of week eight.  Criteria for the presentation will be available in the first two weeks of class.  These can be done collaboratively, in groups of no more than three. This need not (and ideally should not) be a lecture, but rather the presentation of a topic that will include visuals, a class response component, and a clear statement of the issue considered.  Presenters should seek feedback from the class, and far-sighted students will select topics related to their research papers.  The presentation is 25 per cent of the final grade.</P> <P>In-class projects.  Several in-class projects (some solo, some collaborative) will be assigned throughout the semester.  These are noted in the assignments.  They will deal with critical issues in the humanities, and students will demonstrate through the projects both understanding of the issues and a clear statement of their position.  These will be both written and oral.   The various projects together constitute 25 per cent of the final grade.</P> <P>Research paper.  Each student will select a research topic relating to the humanities and write a 7 to 10 page paper, using sources correctly cited, and with an arguable thesis.   The student will make a case for or against some topic of concern within the humanities (example: there should--or should not--be some control over the content and display of art in public places.).  Critical thinking and analysis of the issue will be the guiding components of assessing the papers.  More detailed criteria will be provided during the first two weeks of class.  Additionally, each student will present the findings in the paper to the class, informally, for feedback.  This will be done before the final draft is completed to allow for possible changes suggested by peers.  It is not possible to overstate the importance of this paper being the sole effort of the student.  This is worth 50 per cent of the final grade.</P>

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
Turn off your cellphones, including that text-message thingy.  Don't be disruptive.  Don't run with scissors.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:
<P>Week One -- Introductions, and all that. What is humanness? What differentiates us from other species? Do we have to accept the bad and the ugly as well as the good in defining what it means to be human? </P> <P>Week Two -- Read Chapter 1, "You and the Humanities." Apollonian and Dionysian responses. Why do I need to know this stuff?</P> <P>Week Three -- Read Chapter 2, "Myth and the Origin of the Humanities." Archetypes. Motifs. Explanations. Childhood myths.</P> <P>Week Four -- Love. Read Chapter 13. What is love? What is its role in human endeavors? How has it been portrayed in popular creative genre? What do the scientists say? Is love an invention? Types of love. Love and marriage. Romantic love. Class project.</P> <P>Week Five -- Morality. Read Chapter 11. Definitions. Moral systems. Can morality be legislated? Sources of moral authority. Class project.</P> <P>Week Six -- Religion. Read Chapter 10. History and survey. Belief systems. Religion's role in love and morality.</P> <P>Week Seven -- Happiness. Read Chapter 12. Definitions. Philosophical views. Hedonism, Epicureanism, Stoicism. Class project.</P> <P>Week Eight -- Death. Read Chapter 14. What is it? History and definitions. Western views. Other world views.</P> <P>Week Nine -- Fall Break.</P> <P>Week Ten -- Freedom. Read Chapter 15. Personal definitions. Limitations and responsibilities. Personal will and freedom. Collaborative projects.</P> <P>Week Eleven -- Struggles of the Humanities. Read Chapter 3. What elements of human society conspire to limit human expression? What are our own hang ups? </P> <P>Weeks Twelve, Thirteen, and Fourteen -- Presentation of student research. Papers will be due by the first class period of week fifteen.</P> <P>Week Fifteen -- Issues in the Humanities. Censorship. Funding. Politics. Education. </P>

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87-89
Academic dishonesty could mean your failing this course.

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87
Plagiarism will mean failing this class.  Don't even think about it.

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "W".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 89-90

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .


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Last Updated:8/20/2006 7:34:10 PM