In the classic Holocaust account, Night, Elie Wiesel’s mentor suggested that “every question possessed a power that was lost in the answer”; in other words, questions are incredibly powerful, and that answers are often too simple. Over the course of the semester, we will focus our efforts on asking questions. We will be asking questions about who we are as individuals and who we are as a community and a nation. We will be asking questions about what makes us human and how we find meaning in our experience. We will be asking questions about how we fit into the world and our efforts to make it our own. The questions are not about any one particular academic field, but about all of them. Literature, history, biology, anthropology, music, art, psychology—they will all inform our journey this semester. The course will end in a project in which you will cross academic boundaries to explore a topic of your own choosing, to find your own answers—but most importantly, to ask your own questions.
HUM 220 Course Schedule: SUBJECT TO CHANGE
Week 1: August 16-20: Introduction
What is the difference between narrative and scientific models of understanding?
Triumph of the Will/Night and Fog
Week 2: August 23-27: What questions should we be asking? Discuss Elie Wiesel’s Night
What is the difference between open and closed questions?
Week 3: August 30-Sept. 3: What does it mean to be human?
Discuss Maslow, A.H. “A Theory of Human Motivation.” Psychological Review. 50 (1943): 370-396 http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Maslow/motivation.htm
Discuss Existential Realities article
Week 4: September 7-10: How do we create meaning from our common experience?
Discuss Campbell’s “Myth and the Modern World,”.
Week 5: September 13-17: How do we express that meaning? How do literature, music, and art serve as means of expression? Discuss Les Miserables.
Week 6: September 20-24: What does that mean for us as Americans? Research and discuss Manifest Destiny. (American West: Glorious Adventure or Crime against Humanity and Nature?)
Week 7: September 27-Oct. 1: Discuss Edith Eudora Kohl’s Land of the Burnt Thigh
Week 8: October 4-8: Discuss Into the Wild. Read Jack London’s “To Build a Fire” and “Love of Life”
Week 9: October 11-15: How does our pursuit of humanity affect the world around us? Discuss Farley Mowat’s Never Cry Wolf , Twain’s chapter on burning Lake Tahoe in Roughing It
Week 10: October 18-22 (10/18 & 19 are fall break.): How does humor fit in?
Weeks 11-13: October 25-29, Nov. 1-5, Nov. 8-12: What is our local experience?
Our local experience—Haywood county special topics
Week 14: November 15-19: Projects—due on November 15
Week 15 & 16: November 22-December 3, Dec. 6-10: Projects continued
Week 17: December 13: Final Exam