cultural encounters i humanities 101 fall 2015. why liberal arts?
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CULTURAL ENCOUNTERS IHumanities 101Fall 2015
Why Liberal Arts?
Middle AgesThe seven liberal arts were adapted to a program of basic Christian education. Scholarship focusing on the human and art declined. Critical thought was often restricted.
RenaissanceAn important distinction was made between the Humanities and theological discourse.
Revival of classical literature as the source of humanism.
The EnlightenmentHumanities and the natural sciences as complementary and not contradictory disciplines.
Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Influence of the natural sciences gained prestige
Disciplinary Areas of the HumanitiesEnglish and American StudiesMiddle Eastern and African StudiesEast and South Asian StudiesEuropean Studies
Other Languages and Literatures
History and Philosophy of Science
History of Ideas
Classics and Ancient History
History of Art, Architecture, Design
Theology and Religious StudiesCommunication and Media StudiesMusic and History of Music
Drama and Theatre Studies
Studies of other Performing Arts
The Flood Tablet, relating part of the Epic of GilgameshFrom Nineveh, northern Iraq, Neo-Assyrian, 7th century BC
Paleolithic cave paintings of the Lascaux Cave in France, ca. 17,000 B.C.
Lascaux 17,000 B.C.
Gbekli Tepe, ca. 10,000 B.C.
Achilles and HectorGreek Vase, ca. 490 B.C.
Studying Humanities Today: Fetishism of the Present as an Endpoint1991, history ends with liberal democracy-Taking todays political system as natural, not historical - Abolition of (the sense of) history- No alternative, what we have is permanent
- Also, it is absolutely new and unique
Fetishism of the Present as the only viable economy
Fetishism of the New as embodied by technology (mostly)Apple CEO Tim Cook introducing iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus and the new Apple TV in California on Sep. 9, 2015
Apple Cube (store) on the 5th Avenue, New YorkFetishism of the New as created and satisfied by commoditiesWhat is the promise of each new iPhone?A new life, a new look, a new style? A new prosthesis transforming the whole self?
Does this ever really happen through smart-phones?What makes them camp outsidethe Cube? (just new applications?)
HUM101: Why read texts from 2000 BCE through 1400 CE?35BCEDespite our fascination with our present moment as an endpoint and with the new as represented by commodities, de te fabula narratursuggests- A deep connection across ages and spaces of the world - A much broader and longer story of humans, human social existence Recurring clashes, preoccupations, and deep-seated structures in human history and societies Continuity with difference; history hasnt ended, major human questions are still with us: Justice, equality, freedom, ethical living, autonomy, relation to nature and so on
What is representation?
Definition one: a representation is a likeness, picture, model, or other reproduction
Definition two: a representation is (1): an image or idea formed by the mind (2): an idea that is the direct object of thought and the mental counterpart . . . of the object [or referent] known by means of it
(Merriam-Websters Unabridged Dictionary).What is representation?
What is representation?superhuman strength, masculinity, virility, dominance, awe, admiration, etc.Representation is twofold: it involves (1) mental imagery and (2) their psychological associations. For example: possible pictorial image of Gilgamesh, as imagined:(2) possible associated properties:
What is representation?strength,weakness, hierarchy,in-group/out-group, speed, social dominance,social submission, etc.Representing a text recruits your own encoded memories from experience (your background knowledge about the world). E.g.,(2) from play, we learn about:playing embodies a sense of ourselves and others.
What is representation?
This is representation
And this is representationOld myths, old gods, old heroes have never died. They are only sleeping at the bottom of our mind, waiting for our call. We have need for them. They represent the wisdom of our race. Stanley Kunitz
Epic Narrative, Modern HistoryRomare Bearden, Home to Ithaca (detail), 1977
John William Waterhouse, Ulysses and the Sirens (1891)
Romare Bearden, detail, Sirens Song (1977)
Odysseus and the Sirens, 340 BCE
Romare Bearden, Sirens Song (1977)