In this course, the student will:
1. Identify the major artists, writers, and thinkers of these periods
of Western culture.
2. Demonstrate a grasp of the chronological development of Western
3. Analyze representative works of visual arts, drama, music,
literature, philosophy, and religion.
4. Compare and contrast the style of works of successive periods of
5. Examine their own ideas, values, and beliefs and determine how
these relate to the heritage of Western culture.
6. Integrate ideas, patterns, and information from two or more
7. Demonstrate in writing the ability to analyze, compare and contrast,
to weigh philosophical arguments, to examine values, and to
integrate materials from several disciplines.
1. The course will focus on the arts, ideas, and values of Western
2. The course will use representative primary texts, including primary
works of literature, visual arts, music, drama, film, and/or
3. The course will proceed chronologically or thematically and will
encompass Western Culture from approximately 1600 A.D. through
today, including the cultural eras of the Baroque, the Neoclassical,
the Romantic, the Modern and the Post-modern.
4. The course will focus on works of enduring significance in Western
Culture and on the legacy or heritage of Western culture in todays
5. Representative primary texts:
Literature: Representative examples of literature such as Milton,
Fielding, Richardson, Austen, Balzac, Bronte, Dickens, Dostoevsky,
Flaubert, Hugo, Tolstoy, Melville, Twain, Faulkner, Sartre, Camus,
Kafka, Proust, Borges, Garcia Marquez, Solzhenitsyn, Baldwin,
Wright, Ellison, Morrison, Kingston.
Poetry. Representative examples of poetry such as Pope, Shelly,
Byron, Wordsworth, Elliot, Yeats, Dickenson, Whitman, Paz, and
Theater: Representative examples such as Corneille, Moliere,
Racine, Ibsen, Chekov, Brecht, Cocteau, O'Neill, or Beckett.
Film. Representative examples of film by directors such as Chaplin,
Ford, Hitchcock, Huston, Welles, Bunuel, Renoir, Fellini,
Rossellini, or Bergman.
Philosophy and Social/Political thought: Representative examples of
philosophical thought, such as Bacon, Locke, Hobbes, Rouseau, Smith,
Voltaire, Kant, Marx, Mill, Freud, Nietzsche, De Beauvoir, Fridan,
Fanon, Foucault, or Bakhtin.
Assignments typically will include:
1. Careful reading and analysis of assigned primary texts.
2. Reading assignments in humanities textbook or supplemental readings
to establish cultural context.
3. Examinations, including quizzes, mid-term, final, and/or take-home
4. Written essays requiring students to analyze representative works of
literature, art, music, and philosophical/religious thought or
requiring students to compare and contrast, integrate ideas, or
examine ideas, values and beliefs.
5. Participation in cultural activities, and response papers or reviews
(including field trip option).
6 Creative projects (optional, depending on instructor).
Roy Mathews and F. DeWitt Platt: The Western Humanities, 3rd edition
William Fleming: Arts and Ideas, 9th edition (Harcourt Brace, 1995)