About HUMA 1301: Introduction to Humanities

This course provides an introduction to the study of humanities, using the theme of storytelling as a guide.

Course Description: This stand-alone course is an interdisciplinary survey of cultures focusing on the philosophical and aesthetic factors in human values with an emphasis on the historical development of the individual and society and the need to create

Student Learning Outcomes (SLO):

1.    Demonstrate awareness of the scope and variety of works in the arts and humanities.

2.    Articulate how these works express the values of the individual and society within an historical and social context.

3.    Articulate an informed personal response and critically analyze works in the arts and humanities.

4.    Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the influence of literature, philosophy, and the arts on cultural experiences.

5.    Demonstrate an awareness of the creative process and why humans create.

General Educational Outcomes (GEO):

1.    Critical Thinking: Students will develop habits of mind, allowing them to appreciate the processes by which scholars in various disciplines organize and evaluate data and use the methodologies of each discipline to understand the human experience.

2.    Communication Skills: Students will communicate ideas, express feelings, and support conclusions effectively in written, oral and visual formats.

3.    Personal Responsibility: Students will develop habits of intellectual exploration, personal responsibility, and physical well-being.

4.   Social Responsibility: Students will demonstrate a global perspective toward issues of culture, society, politics, environment, and sustainability.

The idea of the story often conjures up the kinds of tales we encountered as children, ones that swept us away to different times and places, took us on adventures we could never have experienced under the protection of our families. This may well illustrate the power of the story at its most fundamental level — to transport us out of ourselves, offer us experiences that we may never have, and allow us to empathize with the characters that have them.

Still, the act of storytelling is more complicated than it first appears. For example, in studying the humanities, we will encounter stories in many forms: in the visual arts (painting, sculpture, ornamentation), the performing arts (drama and dance), music, literature (stories both oral and written), religion, philosophy, and history. All fall under the umbrella term of the humanities and all have a story to tell. Storytelling may be the most powerful attribute we humans possess.  The ability to tell stories may be responsible for our domination of the planet Earth and our capacity to learn and pass on information from one generation to another; it may even hold the key to our survival as a species.  In essence, our ability to tell stories may have been what made us human in the first place and that has enabled us to participate in a story told on the grandest scale: The Human Story.

The Human Story began perhaps six million years ago before our species even evolved into the creatures we are today. Since then, our storytelling ability has played a powerful role in the development of our world civilizations, in our tragedies, and in our successes. It has empowered us to build great monuments like the pyramids in Egypt over 4,500 years ago and spaceships that allowed us to walk on the moon.  But it has also enabled us to manufacture bombs—the atomic bomb and its cousin, the hydrogen bomb—that could annihilate mankind in the wrong hands. Storytelling carries with it tremendous responsibilities along with potential dangers if misused. In the wrong hands of greedy leaders, corporations, or technocrats, we could see our freedoms, our independent thought processes, and perhaps our continued ability to function as human beings disappear.

Which stories will we choose to tell in this century and beyond? Which stories will we choose to believe?  What will be the consequences of our choices? Recognizing that stories can empower or corrupt, these are some of the questions we will entertain in our study. Unless we acknowledge the importance of storytelling, recognize the power it can exert on us as human beings, and assess the motives behind the stories we tell and are told, we become storytelling’s victims, our brains given over to men or machines that will do our thinking for us.


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Storytelling Copyright © 2021 by Pamela Bond is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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