LS212 Introduction to the Arts

for SP 2008

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LS 212 Introduction to the Arts


SP 2008 HO


Okerstrom, Dennis R.


Associate Professor, English and Liberal Studies


Ph.D., English and History

Office Location

305 Copley

Office Hours

8:40 -- 10:10, T - R; 9:30 -- 11, M - F or by appointment

Daytime Phone



Class Days


Class Time

11:35 - 12:50 PM

Credit Hours


The Humanities Through the Arts, by Martin and Jacobus, 7th edition.  Boston, 2008: McGrawHill.

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:
A variety of additional resources, including texts, graphics, bibliographies, and websites, will be made 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.
Career Counseling - The Career Development Center (CDC) provides services for all stages of career development.  The mission of the CDC is to provide the career planning tools to ensure a lifetime of career success.
Park Helpdesk - If you have forgotten your OPEN ID or Password, or need assistance with your PirateMail account, please email or call 800-927-3024
Resources for Current Students - A great place to look for all kinds of information

Course Description:
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

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:

Class discussion, presentations, short response papers, a longer analysis paper, and a final project.


Each week we will be studying and working in a variety of genre, and students will be expected to participate in the hands-on exercises and the discussions.  Participation in these exercises combined with written responses will be 50 per cent of the final grade.  We will be considering nine or 10 different genre; each student will write five short (2-3 pages, typed, double-spaced, 12-point font or smaller) response papers, utilizing viewpoints and key terms relevant to the discipline being studied,  but primarily engaging the art on a personal basis.  Students will choose the art forms to which they write responses; any five will suffice.
Additionally, each student will attend an art event (other than a pop-culture concert--sorry, Garth and Hannah) and write a short (3-5 pages, typed, ds, 12- pt) analysis paper using terms and background pertinent to the genre.  This might be a trip to the art museum, an art gallery, live theater, a poetry reading, a ballet or other dance presentation, an opera,  a classical music or jazz event, a photo exhibit, or an art film (I know that's an amorphous term--check with the prof if you are unsure about a particular film).  Please try something you have not already experienced.  That's worth 20 per cent of your final grade.
And finally, the final project.  Each student will create a final project reflective of any of the art forms we have considered this semester.  This could be a drawing or painting; an original sculpture; an architectural drawing;an original story, poem, or play; an original musical composition or dance; a portfolio of photography; or a short film.  These will be presented to the class in the last three weeks of the semester (and carry over to the final exam period if necessary).  This will constitute 30 per cent of your grade.  Please, it's too soon to panic.  You will not be evaluated on the "professionalism" of your creation, but rather on your ability to explain (and thus to validate your knowledge) the elements of your creation.  Thus, you will be expected to deliver a short monologue regarding your project, to include why you chose the genre, some background about the genre, and some of the key elements involved.  In some way, your presentation should also incorporate your philosophy of art or your personal belief in the importance of art in our lives.

Late Submission of Course Materials:
Late work is a major pain for your professor and unfair to other students.  Late work will not be accepted except in extraordinary circumstances,  determined on an individual basis.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
Grown up rules apply.  Don't run with scissors.  Turn off your cell phones.  Unplug personal conversations when class begins.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Please note that this is a trailguide, and not a contract chisled in stone.  We might spend more or less time on a topic as class interest dictates.
Week one: What is art?  Without reading anyone else's beliefs, think about your own personal definition.   Of what value is art in your own life?  Is all art equal?  What should it convey?  What does it say about a culture?  What values does it reflect?
Week two:  Consideration of definitions.  What is art?  How does it differ from other human creativity?  Is art ever found in nature?  How do we know if art is good, bad, or merely ugly?  Read chaps. 1 & 2.
Weeks three and four:  Literature and drama.  Poetry.  A primer of terms.  Centos.  Found poems.  Concrete poems.  Multiple levels of meaning.   Drama.  Some history.  A primer of terms.  We'll watch a play on film.  Perform some reader theater.   Please consider attending a live performance this semester.  Your ticket stub will substitute for one of your five response papers.   Chaps. 7 & 8.
Weeks five and six:  Painting and sculpture.  Elements of color, proportion, line, perspective, and composition.  How do these elements affect us emotionally?  Is a painting or sculpture bad if it disturbs us? Why does Picasso's "Guernice" elicit the response it does?  Chaps. 4 & 5.
Weeks seven and eight:  Architecture.  What are all those styles, anyway?  How much does function influence form? In what ways do culture and geography influence architecture?  What does monumental architecture say about a culture?  Should the public be subjected to untried and unproven architectural experiments?  Why shouldn't all churches look like churches, art museums like art museums?  Chap. 6.
Weeks nine and ten:  Music and dance.  How does music affect us?  Why?  In what ways does music reflect an essence of a culture?  What does all music have in common?  Why does some music seem so strange to our ears?  Traditional dance.  Ballet.  Modern dance. Shall we?  Chaps. 9 & 10.
Weeks eleven and twelve:  Photography and film.  How has technology transformed art?  What are the limitations of photography and film, if any?  Are photography anf film crafts, rather than art?  Chaps. 11 & 13.
Weeks thirteen, fourteen, and fifteen:  Student presentations.

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
Attendance will affect the final grade.  Two unexcused absences.  For each additional two unexcused absences, the final grade will be lowered one grade.

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:1/12/2008 10:54:27 AM