Humanities Course Outcome Guide

Introduction to Humanities
Hum 101 Prehistory through the Middle Ages
Hum102 Renaissance through the Enlightenment
Hum103 Romantic Era to Contemporary Society

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Examines the connections among arts, ideas, and human experiences through study and experience of selected works from Western and non-Western cultures. Emphasizes arts and ideas as reflections of and influences on social and cross-cultural change. Attendance at out-of-class activities is required. HUM101: Prehistory through the Middle Ages; HUM102: The Renaissance through the Enlightenment; HUM103: The Romantic Era to Contemporary Society. Courses may be taken individually and/or in any order.

PREREQUISITE: College level reading and writing skills (WR121) are strongly recommended for success in this course.


  • Recognize how studying the humanities helps us to understand human thought, creativity, and aesthetics in a global and historical context.
  • Critically interpret and evaluate artifacts and ideas from different cultures and different times, drawn from art, architecture, literature, philosophy, drama, music, dance and theater.
  • Demonstrate how understanding the humanities can enhance our own creativity and our appreciation of our own and other cultures.
  • Write and speak confidently about their own and other's ideas.


  • Small-group and large group focused discussions, presentations, and lectures.
  • Video, DVD, audio and artifact presentations.
  • Weekly writings in response to readings, discussions, and presentations.
  • Sustained comparisons of the connections between arts, ideas and different cultures throughout the term for formal writing (essays, short papers, quizzes).
  • Attendance at cultural events outside the classroom (museum visits, films, dance, music or theater performances).


  • Class Discussion Groups: Regular focused small-group discussions and informal presentations to class.
  • Weekly Writings: Informal journal writing in response to readings, discussions, films, and presentations.
  • Formal papers: Two traditional essays that expand on class themes and may analyze, for example, a particular culture, compare two time periods, two different cultures, different types of art, or the works of writers, philosophers, artists or other cultural artifacts. Two shorter papers that report on student reaction to attending a cultural event outside class.
  • Collaborative Presentation: Formal class presentation to share results of group research on class-related cultural topics, drawing on group members' interests and talents.



  1. Issues relating to cultural change within a given culture or time and across time and cultures in different global settings
  2. Interconnections between culture and government, religion, philosophy, history, social order, science and technology, and human needs.
  3. Filters of class, gender and ethnicity related to cultural concepts and artifacts.
  4. Importance of individual creativity in any cultural context, the process of creativity (imagination, discipline, preparation and practice), and its impacts on future generations.
  5. Process of decoding cultural artifacts by defining components of the artifact, understanding the context in which the artifact was created, and exploring the meaning and implications of this artifact.
  6. Appreciating diverse cultural landmarks across human history and in different global settings.
  • FIRST CIVILIZATIONS AND CLASSICAL LEGACY. Paleolithic and Neolithic cultures; myth and creation tales; the development of culture, politics and law, and arts in ancient Africa, Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Hebrews, India, Babylon, and China.
  • Bronze Age cultures of the Aegean, the Greek City-States, the Golden Age of Greece, its philosophy (Sophocles, Plato, Aristotle) and arts (architecture, the Parthenon, sculpture music, drama and poetry); comparative cultures of imperial Rome and Han China.
  • THE SHAPING OF THE MEDIEVAL EUROPE AND THE WORLD BEYOND. Philosophy of early Christianity and mystery cults, Buddhism, and Islam; influences of Buddhist and Christian religious belief on architecture, art and music. Emergence of Byzantine culture. Patterns of medieval life, crusades, medieval romance, code of courtly love, the cult of the Virgin Mary, troubadours, rise of towns; evolving thought and architecture of the Catholic church; medieval monasticism, Romanesque and Gothic influences on music, sculpture, and architecture. Comparative cultures of medieval India, China and Japan.


  1. Understanding Humanities as cultural artifact or performance
  2. Appreciating cultural change over time
  3. Valuing cultural difference in diverse contexts with an emphasis on cross-cultural perspectives
  4. Exploring the concept of global interconnectedness and cultural exchange


  1. What is the value of the humanities and of human creativity?
  2. How can we understand and appreciate cultures outside our own?
  3. What are the effects of patronage, censorship, and discrimination (age, class, ethnicity, gender) in different cultures at different times?
  4. How can we appreciate any cultural artifact and its context as well as its universal appeal?
  5. What do individuals contribute to our culture with their creativity and unique experiences?

SKILLS: To reach the learning outcomes, the student will need to master the following skills:

  1. Critical reading strategies that allow students to assess the ideas presented by writers, poets, philosophers, historians, and essayists.
  2. Visual literacy and principles of design and aesthetics that encourage students to evaluate cultural artifacts (for example, works of art, theater performances, or architecture) with particular attention to its structure, contexts, common and unique elements, intended and actual audience, and the relationships between form, content, function and aesthetics.
  3. Effective writing skills that include supporting and developing ideas, following standard conventions for written English, and using guidelines to appropriately document use of outside sources with in-text citations and bibliographies in formal and informal writing.
  4. Small group skills to discuss ideas and develop personal and creative responses to our study of the humanities.
  5. Presentation skills to effectively share individual and group work with the class.

Last Updated 2006