Sandro Botticelli Kirchner self Anatomy Lesson

Detailed Course Description for Humanities 1B

Humanities 1B is an interdisciplinary introduction to human creativity in literature, philosophy as well as the visual and performing arts of mainly Western civilization from the Italian Renaissance to the present. This course explores our need to create, search for life's meaning and the impact of theses efforts on our contemporary, culturally diverse experiences. In this examination, the course engages both the history of thought (philosophy, science and history) as well as the history of art (including but not limited to music, architecture, film, painting, ballet and literature).

This course investigates the question of how we got to where we are today. What shifts in perception had to take place for the modern world to become our post-modern times? To answer this question, Humanities 1B begins with a brief review of the Middle Ages (or Dark Ages) to highlight the amazing explosion of artistic and intellectual creativity that took place during the time of the Renaissance. This whirlwind tour also traverses the era of colonialism and its effect on Europe, Africa and the Americas.

We then follow the emerging ideas from Humanism to the era of the Enlightenment, when scientific discoveries literally transformed the way humans saw themselves and their role in the cosmos. The writings of Goethe (Faust) and Shelley (Frankenstein) will serve as a foil to capture the dis-ease that arose in response to one-sided reliance on reason.

Once the period of Romanticism is behind us, enter the great economic and industrial expansion that coincides with the artworks of the French impressionists (such as Monet and Degas) to arrive at the stirring images of the Cubists Expressionist (such as Pablo Picasso, Edvard Munch and Franz Marc) that foreshadow the violent military confrontations of the 20th century.

The course concludes with an assessment of where modernity has left us. We look at post-modern art and philosophy to assess how the central question of "How do I live a good life?" has changed or stayed the same over time.

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


You can take HUMN 1B without having completed HUMN 1A. These courses do NOT have to be taken consecutively.

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