Introduction to the Humanities


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Introduces the Humanities and its Subfields.

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Introduction to the Humanities

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