Chauvet Rhinos Nefertiti Ancient China

Detailed Course Description for Humanities 1A

Humanities 1A is an interdisciplinary introduction to human creativity in literature, philosophy as well as the visual and performing arts of mainly Western civilization from prehistoric times to the Middle Ages. This course explores our need to create and search for life's meaning. In a sense this course is an introduction to the history of culture and intellectual thought.

Humanities 1A begins with a discussion of the Cave paintings at Lascaux (see image above), which were done at a time when you could still walk from France to England. The course than follows the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt to explore the connection between artistic expression and human understanding of the world and one's place in it.

Once the course arrives in ancient Greece, the focus expands to include not only architecture (such as the Egyptian Pyramids, the Greek Parthenon and Hagia Sophia in Turkey), visual representations and myths (such as Gilgamesh and the Egyptian Creation myth), but also drama (such as Sophocles' Oedipus), poetry (such as Sappho's love poems) and philosophy (such as the writing of Socrates, Plato and Augustine).

After the course has traversed the age of the Roman Empire and the Middle Ages, we look at ancient China, Japan and India to get a more complete understanding of the world's cultural and intellectual development up to the 15th century.

If you have any further questions, please contact Dr. Falk Cammin @


HUMN 1A and HUMN 1B do NOT have to be taken consecutively. You can take HUMN 1A before HUMN 1B and vice versa.

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