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Honors Cultures, Civilizations and Ideas: The Modern World

HUMN 5 is an interdisciplinary and thematic approach to the history of human culture and ideas. This is the third course in a sequence of four courses spanning all of human history ((HUMN 1, HUMN 2, HUMN 5, HUMN 6). Each course in the sequence is independent of each other – meaning that you do not need to have taken one course to be successful in another. We encourage you to take the course (or courses) in this sequence that best fits (or fit) your interests.

Have you ever wondered what it actually means to be “modern?” This course answers this question as we explore the Renaissance period through the Industrial age through the creative expressions of literature, art, architecture, philosophy, social values, and music. We begin the course with the humanist tradition and all of its glorious arts and ideas and we continue into an examination of how these extraordinary humanist ideas have shaped our post-modern aesthetics. You will discover that the “modern” transcends many genres and eras in our human culture. We will also discuss what drives the human desire for artistic, technological, and social innovations and its impact on our world today.

Class discussions, projects, reading selections, arts, and presentations will give you a viewpoint of the modern that will affirm our human capacity for great ideas!

Course Objectives

  • Engage in critical, creative, and independent thinking.
  • Stimulate curiosity about intellectual and artistic life.
  • Broaden perspectives on the diversity and dilemmas of human experience and knowledge.
  • Apply critical approaches to the analysis of various modes of cultural production in relation to the political, economic, social, and religious context of the time.
  • Explain the relationship between art, social organization, and political institutions in both Western and non-Western contexts.
  • Use diverse historical periods and cultural traditions as a framework for a more complex understanding of the contemporary world.
  • Analyze cultural production as both instruments of social control and ideological change.
  • Develop the habit of learning and responding to new ideas and challenges.
  • Think through moral and ethical problems and to examine one’s own assumptions.
  • Improve both oral and written communication, especially through critical reading and analysis.
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Questions? Contact Me!

Dr. Mona Rawal, Humanities Department Chair