1010: Introduction to the Humanities
This course approaches the humanities through
three thematic units: Crime and Punishment, Prometheus and Technology,
and War and the Human Psyche. The first unit concerns human
action and responsibility, the second unit mankind's long-standing
ambivalence toward technology, and the third unit warfare as
a phenomenon that brings out the best and worst in human beings.
All three thematic units of this course combine
a film, and readings from classical and modern literature, both
fiction and non-fiction. The classical readings often involve
Greek myths. These myths cut to the chase of what it means to
be human, as they depict the entire spectrum of human emotion
and behavior, from the most egregious crimes to self-sacrifice.
Further, most modern storytellers employ archetypal narrative
patterns, character types, motifs, literary tropes, etc. that
derive from Greek myths. Consequently, Greek myths remain vital
in no small part owing to their modern iterations.
Finally, class discussions will draw on a variety
of material in addition to the readings and films, ranging from
ancient sculpture, architecture and vase paintings (viewed through
digital slides) to modern art and current events. More than
a study of the classical tradition that considers vestiges of
classical culture in the modern era, this course presumes that
the past and present are symbiotically joined.