Introduction to the Humanities
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Introduction to the Humanities

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Introduces the Humanities and its Subfields.

Introduces the Humanities and its Subfields.

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    Introduction to the Humanities Introduction to the Humanities Presentation Transcript

    • Introduction to Humanities Just What Are Humans?
    • Humanities
      • The Study of the Human Condition
      • Just what is the human condition?
      • We remember the past
      • We can imagine the future
      • We have emotions: joy, depression, terror—the stuff of literature, the arts, philosophy
      • What enables us to think and express these things? Let’s look at ourselves a little closer
    • Taxonomy: We are Homo sapiens
      • We are the only human species on the planet
      • We have a brain; that’s why we think
      • We have a brain and system of speech: that’s why we have language
      • We have abilities to make and use tools
      • That’s why we can act, write literature, sing, draw pictures, create sculptures
      • And finally, we are bipedal; we stand and walk on two feet
    • What Goes into Humanities? Language
      • Language is the backbone of the humanities
      • Linguistics is the scientific study of language, but focus is on the aesthetics
      • Cuneiform (left) was among the first languages to be used in the Near East.
      • Classical Languages are the media for understanding the Greeks and the Romans
      • Latin was the language of the medieval churchmen
      • Written language is the foundation of literature (poetry, novels, drama)
      • No language, no humanities
    • What Goes Into Humanities: History
      • Humanities appeals to the past
      • Traditionally, scholars have to know their classical history
      • Systematic study of the families, societies and the great men (sometimes women)
      • Today, history is more of a social science with a dimension of time
      • Santayana: “Who ignores the past is doomed to repeat it.”
      • Faulkner: “The past is never dead: it isn’t even past.”
    • What Goes Into Humanities: Classics
      • Western Societies: The Greeks and the Romans
      • The philosophers: Plato, who emphasized the ideal, and Aristotle, who emphasized observation
      • The Playwrights: Sophocles, Ovid, Horace the satirist.
      • Homer, the epic poet
      • Mesopotamia: the epic of Gilgamesh, Hammurabi and his legal codes
      • Egypt: The Book of the Dead
      • China: Lao Tse, Confucius
      • Tibet: Its own Book of the Dead
    • What Goes Into Humanities: Law
      • Law comprise rules that govern human behavior
      • Found where there are state; it’s the power holders who make them; the police who enforce them
      • It is also based on philosophy, the values that create law.
    • What Goes into Humanities: Religion
      • Concerns the supernatural, that which is beyond the ken of the five senses and their extensions like the telescope or the microscope
      • Goes back to the Neolithic and beyond to animism
      • Half the world’s religions are Abrahamic—go back to the patriarch Abraham and form the root of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
      • Many are derived from the East with the doctrine of samsara (illusion), karma (consequences of past acts), and nirvana (liberation from samsara): Hinduism and Buddhism
      • Includes the question: where do we go after we die—the fundamental question of mortality
    • What Goes into Humanities: Philosophy
      • Philosophy means “Love of Knowledge.”
      • It asks who we are, and especially what we know and what is knowable
      • The Greeks systematized it, and Plato and Aristotle are the twin founders
      • Above: the philosophers are depicted at the Lyceum, the School of Athens
    • What goes into Humanities: The Visual Arts
      • Sculpture
      • Greek and Roman sculpture of the human form
      • Drawings, from sketches to hatching to use of pastels (upper left, Escher’s Drawing Hands )
      • Paintings, involving the application of a pigment within a medium and binder (glue) on a surface (lower left of the Mona Lisa by Da Vinci)
      • Photography and digital art are the most recent examples
      • Music is the interpretation of sound combined into melody and harmony (such as the nine symphonies of Beethoven, above)
      • Drama: the imitation of life on stage (Below: Shakespeare included many historical re-enactments on state— Julius Caesar, Macbeth.
      • Dance: An expression of human movement on stage performance, or sometimes in a spiritual setting (such as the Whirling Dervishes of the Sufi sect of Islam
      What Goes into Humanities: Performing Arts
    • The Territory Ahead: Historical Context I
      • First we look at the nuts and bolts of what makes us human: our anatomy and how it works
      • Then we look at the prehistoric phases of humankind: the Upper Paleolithic and the Neolithic
      • Finally we look at the formative civilizations prior to the Greeks
      • The Egyptians
      • The Mesopotamians
    • The Territory Ahead: Historical Context II
      • This leads us to the Greeks
      • Then we look at the Romans
      • Then we look at the hiatus between the Classic and the Medieval Periods
      • We look at Islam and How they preserved Western Culture
      • Then we conclude with the Medieval Period and the precursors of the Renaissance (lit. Rebirth)
    • The Territory Ahead: Topical Areas
      • We will examine the philosophies of each era: they are the motor force of all humanities
      • We look at the societies that spawned the philosophies: all were state level societies; that includes law.
      • We then look at the religions and the supernatural beliefs
      • Then we’ll look at literature, the visual arts, and the performing arts.
      • We’ll see if they express the way society was in their time
      • Or whether they were the inspiration of individuals
      • Or perhaps some combination of both.