Humanities I, Fall 2005
Dr. Kyoo Lee, Manget 205 (Phone 8198), Office Hrs: Tu/Th 4:20-5:50pm, LaGrange College
See FAQs: Specification of Grading Criteria/Rules of Engagement in Class
The course will trace the evolution and impact of two important motifs upon the development of Western thought and culture. The two motifs will be the concepts of “Beauty and Transcendence” and the “Individual and Society.” At times these two concepts will be experienced in harmony, in antithesis, and sometimes in synthesis. Although not a survey course, it will incorporate historical perspectives and, when appropriate, relate those perspectives to non-Western cultural influences.
[Dr. Lee's Focus] Specifically, we shall study the cultural and spiritual legacy of the pre-modern West, while focusing on its dual origin, viz., logos (logic, sciences, law) and mythos (myths, arts, poetic imagination), dialectical interactions between which have been shaping the Western Humanities from its inception. Drawing on various artistic, religious, literary, philosophical and social-political texts from the Greco-Roman period and Medieval Europe, contextualized through a brief survey of other classical sets of productive oppositions such as Hellenism vs. Hebraism, Christianity vs. Islam, we investigate concrete and lively examples of
(1) how logos and mythos resist each other and (2) how they produce and transcend each other beautifully.
Course Objectives And Goal
- to identify the motifs of beauty and transcendence and the individual in society, as they recur in texts, music, art, drama, and other art forms
- to experience these concepts through the dialectical method
- to develop an understanding of the cultural framework within which these motifs emerged
- to trace the effects of these motifs on subsequent cultural endeavors
- to analyze the significance of these motifs and their influence upon modern aesthetics
Through focused readings and observations of selected texts, films, musical compositions or works of art, students will learn the importance of the concepts of beauty and transcendence that emerged, through dialectical interactions between logos and mythos, in the intellectual traditions of the West, which continues to inform and enrich our lives as a significant part of our cultural legacy.
The course will emphasize critical reading, lecture, discussion, use of library materials, computer literacy, and the enhancement of student oral skills: expect to undertake in this class a close study and engaged discussion of specific texts in question rather than a survey of historical facts or memorization of keywords. It is not an option but an imperative for the students to come prepared to discuss the material: the minimal completion of preliminary work such as a perusal of the assigned texts is assumed in class.
[WH] Matthews, De Witt, Platt, The Western Humanities, Fifth Edition
[R] ____________________, Readings in the Western Humanities, Vol.1
And additional reading assignments related to writing tasks and in-class discussion, in my library box and/or downloadable (if small) from the schedule page; [request a file transmission] individually and personally, if you wish to have a pdf copy rather than, or as well as, a hard copy. An appropriate method of file transmission that also respects copyright will be discussed then case by case. Course Requirements: You must also read FAQs re Grading for further important details
NB: All submissions and class activities must be in compliance with the honor code to which you pledge.
(05%) Attending : the College’s policy and conventional rules apply.
3 excused & 3 unexplained absences are allowed, but beyond that 6,
1 full grade drops automatically per class missed, e.g., from A to B, down to F.
(15%) Presenting: scheduled formal presentation: all presentations will be graded on the scale of 1 to 5.
Any alternative accommodation for those who have a fatal fear of public speaking is to be arranged separately after a
consultation with the instructor within 2 weeks before the start of the semester; no last minute, make-up request is accepted.
(20%) Participating: in-class discussions and other group activities; the level of class preparation too is continually monitored.
(10%) Coming to class prepared and Speaking intelligently: reticence or shyness will have to be complemented otherwise.
[Voluntary/Alternatively] One alternative way to contribute to class activities is to write a voluntary one-page class
note, worth up to 1 point, and e-mail it to the instructor within 7 days after each class; no late submission accepted.
[Note] Towards the mid-term break, and the final, there is a class vote that identifies most substantial and responsible
contributors: two top contributors, announced on the spot in class, will each receive 2 bonus points.
(10%) Occasional, in-class quizzes, before or after lecture; this is separate from an occasional group credit, which is a bonus.
(15%) Mid-term Exam
(15%) Final Exam
Grading Scale: A=100-90; B=89.99-80; C=79.99-70; D=69.99-60; F=59.99-0.
All the grades up to the final exam or paper are calculated numerically in order to give each student maximum opportunities to recuperate from any undesirable or accidental loss of points, and to evaluate more precisely the learning process and incremental achievements. The total figure will simply be converted to the corresponding letter grade. Therefore, there is very little reason either to rejoice or to despair at any stage of following the course. Just keep putting coins in the piggy bank, and your consistent and overall efforts will be justly rewarded: you reap what you sow, no less, no more.
[See FAQs for further details; Note that 69.99 will be a D, and 59.99, an F.]
Further Particulars On Evaluation and Code of Behaviour: Other Agreements [Common to All Humanities Courses].
[LATE WORK AND MAKE-UPS] It is your responsibility to know the due dates of exams and papers. Make up exams are strongly discouraged. The only valid excuses to miss an exam or turn in a paper late are official college activities, illness requiring medical care or extreme and verifiable personal emergency. You must notify the professor and present documentation verifying the emergency as soon as possible.
[INCOMPLETES] A grade of Incomplete is appropriate only to a student who is doing satisfactory work but for some reason beyond the student’s control has been unable to complete the work during the quarter. This deferment must be given written approval in advance by the instructor, department chair, and the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean. (LaGrange College Bulletin, 2000-2001 pp. 70-71)
[CODE OF ACADEMIC HONOR] According to the LaGrange College Student Handbook, p. 13, “The Honor Code, adopted in 1998 is the responsibility of every student, faculty member, and staff member at LaGrange College. All members of the College community are needed to support the enforcement of the Code which prohibits lying, cheating, or stealing when those actions involve academic processes.” The Code itself declares: “As a member of the student body of LaGrange College, I confirm my commitment to the ideals of civility, diversity, service, and excellence. Recognizing the significance of personal integrity in establishing these ideals within our community, I pledge that I will not lie, cheat, steal, nor tolerate these unethical behaviors in others.” In this course neither cheating on an exam nor plagiarism on written assignments will be tolerated. More specifically, keep the following in mind:
[Exams] Exams in this class are to be taken without consulting books, notes, outlines or fellow students, unless otherwise announced before the exam. Study groups can be very effective in preparing for your exam but once the exam begins, all collaboration must cease. Further, the use of electronic devices during an exam is expressly prohibited.
[Papers] Like preparing for an exam, exchanging ideas and interpretations as you prepare to write is perfectly acceptable. Remember, however, that you MUST cite and document any ideas used in your writing which are not your own, whether or not those ideas have been written down somewhere.
Further Advice for Humanities Students: How to Prepare for the Humanities Class and Exams
[Class Preparation] In order to learn from and succeed in this class, you must aim for a conceptual and comprehensive learning of the material, and try to develop an ability to articulate and connect points theoretically and interdisciplinarily, both in writing and speech; a mere cramming and cataloguing of facts/dates will therefore not work at all - a complete waste of sleep time.
Archival details annotated in or linked to some of the materials below are meant to give you some ideas about the geo-historical scopes of various artistic, intellectual, political, religious and cultural movements in Western modernity, which are useful and at times vital as background knowledge. And so you must retain and further cultivate such a historical and contextual awareness whenever analysing a text. However, there really is no need, at least in this class, to waste your time simply listing or memorising details without interpreting them, especially at the cost of losing a "big picture." If you have that time, go get some power sleep instead, so you can focus on your own thinking and class discussion. Search for, discover and create ideas and concepts contained in details, not simply data or facts which are available to any body these days at the click of a mouse. Work towards the future, not for the past. The Information Age is already gone; the Conceptual Age is just around the corner.
[Exam Format] 5 short essay questions, each worth up to 3 points, will be drawn from all the key questions raised and explored in
Pay attention to class discussion and primary readings including the texbook; recommended readings are not part of exam material.
[Sample Exam Question: Humanity, Transcendence and Eternity (Hum I, 2004)]
Recall that we started the course by reading an ancient Egyptian melancholic and finished it by reading Thomas Aquinas the Medieval optimist; the threefold theme of humanity, transcendence and eternity became a focal point of study. If that ancient Egyptian soul turned to mythos for an explanation, the Medieval theologian relied on logos:
a. Describe the differences and similarities between them hinted here, by noting briefly and concisely the specific
stories/theories/assumptions they each held.
b. Think and explain further on how Plato, by contrast, turns out to be a thinker of both logos and mythos. His allegory of cave would be a good example; but feel free to use your own.
Read and take notes on assigned texts
Engage in assignments and projects
Basic Requirements for All Humanities Papers:
Check these details before submitting your work; any element missed, points lost.
At least five to seven pages in length
Typed and double spaced
Citation of all sources where appropriate
Works Cited Page included in the File at the end of the text
No more two sources of my independent discovery are electronic.
More Detailed Requirements, Specific to Each Writing Assignment
Check these more task-specific details before submitting your work; any element missed, points lost.
Contact Programmes: Mandatory Attendance
One programme missed; one letter grade for the course lost.
Oct. 11th 6:00pm Dinner and A Movie, Student Center Assembly Room, Movie TBA.
Oct. 27th 11:15am Student Center Assembly Room, Dr. Albert Anderson, “The Quality of Education in Plato’s Republic”
Nov. 10th 11:15am Bailey Room, Father Paul Keriotis, the Greek Orthodox Cathedral In Atlanta, “The Greek Orthodox Church”
Nov. 11th 8:00am-3:45pm Field Trip to Greek Orthodox Church in Atlanta and the Carlos Museum at Emory University