Humanities 102 Introduction to the Humanities “Humanities” comes from the Latin “humanitas,” meaning those powers or capacities regarded as common to or characteristic of human beings and the cultivation of these aspects of human nature. According to the 1965 National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act, the term “humanities” includes, but is not limited to, the study of language (both modern and classical), linguistics, literature, history, jurisprudence, philosophy, archaeology, comparative religion, and ethics. It also includes the history, criticism, and theory of the arts; those aspects of social sciences which have humanistic content and employ humanistic methods; and the study and application of the humanities to the human environment with particular attention to reflecting our diverse heritage, traditions, and history and to the relevance of the humanities to the current conditions of national life.
“Intro to the Humanities” surveys Western thought, literature, and the arts from antiquity to the present, focusing on philosophy, religion, painting, sculpture, architecture, theater, dance, literature, and film. These “humanities” are the core of the dominant ideals of Western tradition, and they characterize Western thought and the cultural concerns known as the Humanities. Humanities 120 seeks to synthesize our knowledge of these arts and traditions in order to improve our own aesthetic tastes and moral awareness. This is not a class about dates. It is a course about ideas, and your preconceptions will be questioned and questioned vigorously. This is not a course solely about memorizing and regurgitating; it is also a course about understanding and reasoning. Students are expected to think about course material, make connections, and form opinions.