LS211 Introduction to the Humanities

for F2R 2007

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LS 211 Introduction to the Humanities


F2R 2007 SC


Powe, Philip A.


Adjunct Instructor


M.A. Intellectual History, Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville
B.A. History, Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville

Office Hours

Prior to and after class


Semester Dates

Oct. 22 thru Dec.16

Class Days


Class Time

7:45 - 10:15 PM

Credit Hours


WOR - Ways of Reading, 7th Ed., Bartholomae and Petrosky, 2005. ISBN 0-312-40995-8.

Students may be directed to online articles and essays as part of the assigned reading for the course.

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:
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

Educational Philosophy:

The course is arranged into areas of coverage meant to invigorate your sense of what it means to be human, enliven your inquisitive spirit relative to Humanities study, and illuminate the relationships among your life, the world, and patterns replicated among humans. Such rich, interdisciplinary patterns, loosely identified, form the areas of coverage for this course, which you will investigate through class discussions and "exploratory" writings. You will also work through stages of writing, research, peer response and revision, for a substantial project, which you will share late in the term.

Furthermore, students will emerge from the class with a greater understanding of and appreciation for the humanities. We will work together "to liberate students from intellectual, social, and cultural parochialism" by investing you with 1) an understanding of your humanness, 2) a sense of the history of human thought and creativity, 3) a perspective of diverse and contrary ideas that have shaped human life and society, and 4) an examined set of primary values that lead to an understanding of what being human means.

As an instructor, I make myself available to students as often as possible. As a student I never thought it was good of an instructor to simply ignore e-mails and phone calls. All questions are relevant, and all students views are valid. if you have a question e-mail me, or check my office and leave a question there. These are for very general items. E-mail is the best way to get in contact with me.

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:

Week One: Defining the Humanities/The Changing Category of the Human/Post-humanism and Technology

Week Two: Anthropology/Human Culture/Participant-Observation and Ethnographic Methods

Week Three: Music/Aesthetics/Popular Culture
Week Four: Economics/Markets/Consumerism

Week Five: Research Project Development

Week Six: History/Revision/Methods and Problems for History

Week Seven: Philosophy/Experience/Formal Education

Week Eight: A Bundle of Relations/Final Exam 


Graded Components and Criteria
Written Project - A major research essay* exploring a topic in the Humanities. 1500-2000 words. Assessment of the written project will include developmental stages such as the prospectus and a draft. 30 % (30 pts.)
*Note: At the instructor's discretion, the nature of this project and its focus may vary from traditional models of research writing.
Explorations in the Humanities - One-page written summations exploring manifestations of humanness in specific areas of the Humanities. Students will complete three Explorations in the Humanities out of five opportunities. 20 % (20 pts.)
Interchanges in the Humanities - Weekly discussions centered on focal areas in the Humanities. 16 % (16 pts.)

Final Exam - A comprehensive final examination administered by an approved proctor during week eight. 20 % (20 pts.)
Correlation and Review - Weekly assessments of individual learning and progress. 10 % (10 pts.)
Introduction - Personal introductions and interchange. 2% (2 pts.)
Peer response - Posting a draft and responding to drafts of classmates. 2% (2 pts.)

Grading Scale: I will provide you with ongoing progress reports of your average grade throughout the term. The grading scale is:
A = 90 - 100
B = 80 - 89
C = 70 - 79
D = 60 - 69
F = 0 - 59

The course is designed for you to earn point toward 100.

Late Submission of Course Materials:

Late Work: Work must be submitted on time to be considered for credit. Late installments of the project (prospectus, draft or polished copy) will receive a full grade deduction for each day past the deadline. Therefore, an installment that is due Sunday night by midnight will not earn passing credit after Wednesday night. Late explorations will not be accepted. Conference area posts must be completed by the end of the week to be considered for credit.


Classroom Rules of Conduct:
Do not do anything to any one else that you would also not want done to you.” Confucius. Very simple. it is a matter of respect.

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 2007-2008 Undergraduate Catalog Page 85-86

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 2007-2008 Undergraduate Catalog Page 85

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.
  3. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  4. 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".
  5. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 2007-2008 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87-88

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: .

Additional Information:

This is the entire course schdule. I do reserve the right to alter this during the semester depending on reading and workloads.

Week 1:

Lecture: Reconciling the Humanities and Technology


About the Humanities: What are the Humanities by Wilfred McClay

Why the Future Doesn't Need Us, by Bill Joy, Wired Magazine

Dark Underbelly of Technology, by Tony Long, Wired News

Week 2:

Lecture: Reading Ourselves, Reading the Humanities

Reading: Ways of Reading, "Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight," Clifford Geertz, pp. 271-309

Exploration: Explorations in the Humanities: Anthropology

Explorations in the Humanities are one-page responses to the work of the week, following a prompt or set of optional prompts that occasionally ask you to branch out to various web sites or select angles of analysis. You will have five opportunities to complete an explorations paper, out of which you must complete three: one is available in week two, three, four, six and seven. In the end, explorations make up 20% of your final course grade. Review the syllabus if you have any questions about the grading breakdown for the course. You have the luxury of skipping two when you are having an unusually busy week. Extra credit is not available, nor is it an option to complete more than three explorations.

Option I. Identify and discuss at least two examples of "ensembles of texts" (remember that "texts," defined broadly, indicate any readable situation) that reflect a cultural form you are familiar with. This option may overlap with your emerging ideas for the project this term. It may work through your ideas about "focused gatherings" or "spurts of living" as you understand them. Use one or more of Geertz' terms or phrases in your exploration. How do such "texts" reflect humanity?

Option II. Geertz tells us, "Attending cockfights and participating in them is, for the Balinese, a kind of sentimental education." What does he mean by this? How does this compare with forms of "sentimental education" familiar to you? Explain. In your explanation, be sure to account not only for the "educational" aspect, but also the "sentimental" aspect.

Week 3:

Lecture: Voice: Artistic Judgment, Meaning and Freedom

"The Voice" Simon Frith

"On Truth and Lies in a Non Moral Sense", Nietzsche, WOR 451 to 461.


Option I. This option is an exercise in minimalism, reduction and summary. Choose any excerpt of five consecutive paragraphs from Frith's essay. Be sure to include the page and paragraph number beginning the selection: second full paragraph on page 288, for example. Write a 80-100 word summary of each paragraph. Then--in a final 80-100 word nugget--work out one summary statement about how this section connects meaningfully with our study of the Humanities.

Option II. Compose an artistic judgment of any single music sample from the lecture in terms of aesthetics, mimesis and morality. Divide your exploration those three headings, then write about how you have applied each form of artistic judgment to the selection. If you do not have the technological means to listen to the selections, you may apply this process to another song of your choice.

Option III. Choose any single music sample from the lecture and use Frith's analytical scheme of instrument, body, person and character to write a brief analysis of voice in the selection. Clearly demonstrate your understanding of each of the four elements in his scheme as you use them to analyze the selection you choose.

Week 4:

Prospectus due!

Lecture: Industry, Labor and Consumerism: Appeals to Humanness

"Markets are Conversations" by Doc Searls and David Weinberger


Option I
. Is Sisyphus a suitable model for meaningless labor or the futile worker? Do you agree with Camus that we must imagine Sisyphus as happy? Why? Does the model break down or fail in fundamental ways? How so?

Option II. Choose one corporate mission statement and analyze it based on the following questions. How does it appeal to your humanity? Is it convincing? Is it genuine? Is it merely empty rhetoric? What are the key points of emphasis? Do you have any values in common with this company, leading you to conclusions that this would be a great place to work or an honorable place from which to purchase products? Be specific with the language used in the mission. What kinds of words are used? Be sure that you choose a for-profit corporation rather than a governmental agency or non-profit organization for this option.

Option III. Write a creative sketch about the customs involving work or consumerism in the area you live. You can turn your work to alternative kinds of writing such dialogue, parody, stream of consciousness, etc. Have fun with this option, but be sure your work reflects the patterns played out around you, as you know them. You might focus on the local industries or corporations, the way traffic reflects a bustle of workers at predictable times, the ever-improving mega stores growing like so many well-nourished weeds in suburban markets, and so on.

Week 5:

Your rough drafts are due by Wednesday night

Lecture: Deep Revision and Writing in the Humanities

Reading: Grief and the Headhunters Rage, WOR Rosaldo, 585 to 603

Week 6

Lecture: A Compass in Time: History and Legacies

Reading:"Haunted America," WOR, Patricia Nelson Limerick, pp. 409-448

"Indians" : Textualism, Morality and the Problem of History", Tompkins, WOR 654 to 664


Option I. For this option, follow the lead of the Assignments for Writing prompt #2 on page 446. In particular, work through the following questions: What good is the knowledge of war, misery, greed, incompetence, and slaughter? What do we gain besides a revival and restoration of the misery? What is the usefulness of history, particularly for the general public? You don't need to answer these specific questions, but your exploration should account for your own position on some of these issues. Your response will also make specific references to Limerick's essay.

Option II. Select two of the patterns (in Limerick's twelve points) that hold, for you, the most striking application to any other battle, police conflict, or armed action in Modern history (other than Vietnam, which is mentioned by Limerick). Be specific, rather than general, about the "event" you choose. This might require some research to familiarize yourself with the specific event. Explain the connection as it applies to the context of the event you are analyzing. Then, identify one point that bears the least connection to your event. Explain the applicability of each of your choices.

Week 7:

Gen Project due by Sunday

Lecture: A Philosophy of Experience: Spirituality, Spoilation and Packaging

Reading: "The Loss of the Creature," WOR, Walker Percy, pp. 467-484


Option I. Explain the process of discovery for one of the prisoner's in Plato's Cave. Why is the prisoner who returns from the light treated the way he is? Presuming you recognize a similar kind of enlightenment among any of Percy's examples, why do you suppose Percy doesn't account for the treatment of the enlightened individual? Is Percy as concerned with this social dimension?

Option II. Apply either Plato's "Allegory" or Percy's "The Loss of the Creature" to formal religious experiences (in church or among clergy) as you have known them to be mediated by humans. This should not be a testament of your own belief system; instead, it will be an explanation of interactions and experience as you know it. Be sure to connect your experience with Plato's notion of discovery and enlightenment or Percy's ideas about preformulation, packaging, sovereignty and recovery (among others). Are the theories from Percy or Plato applicable to religion? To spiritual experience? How so?

Week 8:

Lecture:Humanity and Humanity: Punishment and Crime

Reading:"Panopticism", Michel Foucault, WOR, 221 to 254

Final Exam Thursday NIGHT!!!!!!


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Last Updated:9/20/2007 6:12:03 AM