LS212 Introduction to the Arts

for F2J 2009

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LS 212 Introduction to the Arts


F2J 2009 PV


Miriani, Dr. Ronald


Instructor/Adjunct/Retired Professor of History at Park U.


Ph.D. (History) The University of Michigan

Office Location


Office Hours


Daytime Phone



Semester Dates

October 20th to December 8th

Class Days


Class Time

5:30 - 9:50 PM



Credit Hours


None.  It is assumed that students have access to the internet.

Additional Resources:

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:
LS212 Introduction to the Arts (MGE): A study of the common elements in the visual, verbal and performing arts and how they reflect values of different cultural periods. The course also includes a survey of themes, genres, and representative work in the classical, romantic, and modern art forms. 3:0:3

Educational Philosophy:
We learn by reading, observing and listening to each other; we also learn by expressing our own opinions in public andd private discussion. 

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate understanding of the connections between art and other facets of society
  2. Develop an awareness of the impact of art on individuals and society
  3. Analyze elements of a variety of art genre
  4. Research an art subject and show evidence of collection, synthesis, and formulation of a thesis

Core Assessment:

Class Assessment:
There will be three quizzes, on classicism, romanticism and modernism. Students will make three brief oral presentations on a person or subject relating to each of these three periods.  Students will submit a term paper (with an oral presentation) on a subject approved by the instructor.  A guide for writing the term paper will be provided by the instructor.  Each student will visit the Nelson-Atkins Museum at some point in the term. 

Attendance (20%), Participation (20%), Quizzes (20%), brief oral presentations (15%), Term Paper (25%).

Late Submission of Course Materials:
Late submission of any material must be with the permission of the instructor.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
Students must arrive on time for class and observe courtesy towards the instructor and other members of the class.   It is hoped that we will form a learning community.  Cell phones are to be shut off. 

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Course Topics and Dates:


I will hand out a more detailed outline for each class period as we meet, including a list of sources, videos, etc.


October 20th:

Organization of the Course

What is art?

The many uses of art.

Three Western periods/styles of art: Classic, Romantic, Modern 


October 27th: Classicism in Antiquity (roughly 750 B.C.-400 A.D.)

Bring to class some object to which you attribute beauty and usefulness. 

Using the internet or a text book, come to class prepared to discuss:


      The art of the ancient Egyptians and Greeks of the Mycenaean period (before 750 B.C.)

      The creation of city states in Greece (c. 750-400 B.C.)

            Politics (polis or city state), economics, warfare, religion (and its art), athletics                           (Olympics), theater

            The design of temples, theaters, sport arenas (the Coliseum in Rome) and sculpture

      The importance of the Greek defeat of the Persian Empire (c. 500-479)

      Alexander’s conquest of Egypt, Iran, creating a grand “Hellenistic” world to the East.   

      The spread of Greek ideals throughout the Mediterranean:  Rome imitates Greece?

      What are the elements of classicism?  What makes it so attractive even today?

      Decline of classicism with barbarian invasions of the Roman Empire.


      Meanwhile, in China we find Confucius and the Tao.  In India we find Buddhism and the Baghavad Gita.  Chinese and Indian sculpture.  The sari for women’s dress.     


November 3rd: Classicism in the Renaissance and Enlightenment (roughly 1300-1800)

      Survival of (some) classicism in Europe through the action of the Christian Church.

      The rediscovery of serious classicism in Italy during the 13th to 15th centuries. 

            Churches, Sculpture, Dress, Science—geography, exploration, Copernicus 

      The Reformation sets progress back—like fundamentalism today 


      The peak of European classicism: The Enlightenment: 1650-1800.

            The beginning of the industrial revolution creates a wealthy middle class in England

            Wealth and new knowledge through exploration and trade

            The birth of science as we know it: Newton, Galileo, Harvey (human anatomy)

            “Absolute” monarchies—which were not really absolute: Louis XIV

            The art of the “old regime:” Dress, architecture, music, painting, sculpture.

                        Haydn and Mozart

            The most Enlightened of Men: The American Thomas Jefferson.

            The birth of European (democratic republics): The American and French Revolutions.


      Meanwhile, in Japan (and China), temples, calligraphy, the tea ceremony (as an art). In the Muslim East, the great romantic poets Rumi and Hafiz. 


November 10th: Early Romanticism (roughly 1800 to 1850)

      Revolutions begin intellectually but become emotional, nationalistic and violent.

      The French Revolution and its effect on all of Europe 

      The Revolution in poetry, painting, music, even dress!

            Wordsworth in England, Beethoven in Europe, Emerson in America

                        The Hudson River School revolutionizes the American psyche 


November 17th: Later Romanticism, roughly 1850 to 1880s (and Contemporary Romanticism)

      The successes and failures of the French Revolution and “democratic” Europe

      The Revolution of 1848 ends political romanticism

      The map of Europe from 1848 to 1880.

      Still, romanticism continues in art, music, and continues through the 20th century,

            Especially in popular music—Van Morrison, etc.  The American musical stage: Rogers &          Hammerstein, Jerome Kern, George/Ira Gershwin.  Movies (chick flicks?)

      Romanticism and the Catholic Church—“the sacred heart of Jesus.”  Protestant pietism.

            Revival of Gothic churches, making an emotional statement

      Why is romanticism still relevant?


November 24th: Early Modernism (roughly 1850 to 1914 & World War I)

      The development of powerful, large contemporary states with powerful economies

            Esp. the rise of modern Germany.

      Science benefits life (pasteurization, inoculation from smallpox, etc.) but challenges

            the classical and romantic views of the world and the Bible (Darwin)

      Large scale industrialization (steel, railroads, even brewing!, skyscrapers, huge cities) brings             people from country to city.  Creates wealth, poverty & changes how people spend time

      Modernization of painting (impressionism, etc.) vs. photography 

      Modern dress—out with impractical clothes. 

      Modern architecture—can you build a large, interesting building?  Modern houses?

            Housing for the middle class in Kansas City c. 1920s. 

      Night life and art


December 1st: Later Modernism, Since World War I (and Contemporary Modernism)

      The World Wars challenge the belief in progress

      The Depression (1929-39) challenged faith in capitalism & the economic system 

      The Holocaust challenges faith in human nature and has great effect on the arts

      Painting departs from all earlier models—abstract expressionism, dada, Picasso

      American jazz comes from lower classes and threatens traditional music everywhere

            As time goes on, jazz becomes incomprehensible too!

      Authoritarian regimes (Nazi & Communist) have their own official art policies

      Science (which made sense in the day of Newton) becomes incomprehensible:

            Einstein, Heisenberg (quantum mechanics), string theory?  The more we know the          more complimented our knowledge gets: DNA. 

      Atomic & Nuclear explosions scare everybody

      Establishment of a peaceful Europe after 1945.  Peace means wealth and faith in democracy. 

            European countries become increasingly socialistic. 

      Revived capitalism in America threatens democracy.  The G-20 and the riots that accompany all meetings.


      Meanwhile, Japanese and Indians adopt a lot of Western political and economic institutions and technology, while keeping cultural core culture.  World music?  


      Term Papers Due


December 8: Student Presentations & Term Papers Returned. 



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 2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87

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 2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92

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 "F".
  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 2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95

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:10/11/2009 2:22:22 PM