Humanities 304
Section 01 [H]
Spring 2009
SLN 35444
MWF 1:10 - 2:00
Todd 404

Dr. Michael Delahoyde
Avery Hall 355 -- Washington State University
Hours: MWF 9:00 - 10:45 am, and by appointment.
Phone: 509-335-4832


Course Description:

We were all born in it, but what was it? When I was taking courses in 20th-century music and literature, there were still a couple decades left to figure out after the textbooks had been written. We Y2K survivors can now start to get some perspective on the century that bred us.

The 20th century in the mind of your average dolt boils down to Nazis and computers. If this were apt, then woe to the idea of humanity. Fortunately, much was happening in the arts throughout the century. This Humanities course is designed to acquaint you better with the human, thoughtful, and innovative side to life through literature, music, art, architecture, film, food, fashion, and other accomplishments of the so-called modern period and up to the present.

I am particularly interested in how the principles and struggles raised in these artistic materials speak to conditions still harassing us in contemporary times and culture. I will encourage you to see and to make connections between ideas and attitudes in classroom discussions, and to develop some expertise in new areas that interest you.

Course Objectives:

To gain exposure to modern thought, art, and influence by poring over some of the major artistic works of the last century which have shaped our culture and the way we think.

To increase intellectual maturation and clarification of our own values through examination of ideas and attitudes in literary/cultural contexts and through articulation of these in academic discourse.

To develop skills in critical thinking, verbal analysis, and detection of subtlety through reading, discussion, and writing about literature and other arts.

Required Texts:

Colette, Sidonie-Gabrielle. Chéri and The Last of Chéri. 1920, 1926. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001.
ISBN: 0374528012.

Kafka, Franz. The Metamorphosis. 1916. Bantam Classics, 1972.
ISBN: 0553213695.

Čapek, R.U.R. and The Insect Play. 1920. NY: Oxford University Press, 1961.
ISBN: 0192810103.

Sartre, Jean Paul. No Exit and Three Other Plays. 1944. Vintage Books, 1989.
ISBN: 0679725164.

Robbe-Grillet, Alain. Jealousy. 1959. Grove Press, 1994.
ISBN: 0802151063. [Or the single Riverrun Press edition.]

At least one more work yet to be chosen.

[Lots of other crucial and cool materials will be provided in hand-outs, on various types of screens, and, if it proves possible, on plates.]

Course Requirements:

A significant part of your life this semester has to become Humanities studies. This course is packed with "stuff" and studying it all can be demanding, but at least we'll be doing it together as a learning community. Because classroom interaction is essential for this to be a valuable experience, and because frequent quizzes and homework writings will be exchanged or posted, more than a few absences will affect your grade regardless of reason. Here's the math:

I will frequently ask for relatively minor homework assignments to be turned in (or submitted electronically on the eLearning system), designed primarily to stimulate subsequent discussion and to practice conventions for writing about literature and the arts. At other times I will ask you to answer questions in writing in class, often ad lib responses to the reading or listening or observing before class discussion begins. Homework assignments and quizzes will receive numerical grades (points) and, although these writings cannot be made up (except for a couple optional writings that can take their place), the final semester totals will be curved if necessary. (30%)

You will be responsible for some sort of contribution to the learning community that may serve also as work towards one of the written projects: perhaps a brief but impressive lead-off presentation on a topic arranged in advance that is dazzling, informative, and glamorous, involving some research, or parallel outside reading, and possibly snazzy visual aids; or a handy web page. Class participation and other service to the learning community -- occasional group work, for example -- will be expected. (10%)

You will submit two written projects of manageable length. Late papers will receive F grades; failure to turn anything in, even late, will result in an F for the course. (30%)

Your presence will be kindly requested at two miserable exams. (30%)

Students with Disabilities:

I am committed to providing assistance to help you be successful in this course. Reasonable accommodations are available for students with a documented disability. Please visit the Disability Resource Center (DRC) during the first two weeks of every semester to seek information or to qualify for accommodations. All accommodations must be approved through the DRC (Admin. Annex Bldg. Room 205). Call 509-335-3417 to make an appointment with a disability specialist.
Academic Integrity:
As an institution of higher education, Washington State University is committed to principles of truth and academic honesty. All members of the University community share the responsibility for maintaining and supporting these principles. When a student enrolls in Washington State University, the student assumes an obligation to pursue academic endeavors in a manner consistent with the standards of academic integrity adopted by the University. To maintain the academic integrity of the community, the University cannot tolerate acts of academic dishonesty including any forms of cheating, plagiarism, or fabrication. Any student plagiarizing on any assignment or cheating on any exam in this class will receive an F for the course and will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct, who remind us that Washington State University reserves the right and the power to discipline or to exclude students who engage in academic dishonesty.

20th-Century Arts & Humanities Index

Dr. Michael Delahoyde, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of English
WSU Copyright, Disclaimer, & Freedom of Expression Policies
Washington State University