MODERN CIVILIZATION/HUMANITIES 102B

SPRING SEMESTER 2007/ Dr. George Dameron

MWF, 10:30-11:35

                                        Office:  Library 306/Telephone extension x2318

Office Hours:  Monday, 1-2; Tuesday, 2-4, and by appointment.

Email:  gdameron@smcvt.edu

Website: http://academics.smcvt.edu/gdameron/

 

Photo:  Paris, 2005 (George Dameron/copyright)

 

PURPOSES OF COURSE

Humanities 102 (Modern Civilization)/Honors is the second in a series of four-credit courses in the Humanities Program which explores in an interdisciplinary fashion the origins of contemporary society from the ancient through the modern periods.  Although it is a continuation of Humanities 101/Ancient and Medieval Civilization, it does not require Humanities 101 as a prerequisite.  Humanities 102 has the following goals: (1) to offer an inter-disciplinary and global introduction to some of the principal cultural and intellectual issues of the modern period (1400-2007) by exploring a selection of highly influential and seminal “texts” from Europe, Africa, and Asia; (2) to encourage students to think and write in an interdisciplinary manner, critically and analytically; (3) to inspire greater interest on the part of the student to study the history and culture of the modern era, 4) to examine these major cultural and intellectual concerns through some of the masterworks of 20th century film, (5) to nurture a greater appreciation for and understanding of the fine arts (especially film and classical music), (6) to explore issues associated with meaning and purpose through the prism of these selected “texts”, 7) to help enhance the student’s understanding of world geography associated with the texts and films being studied, (8) to fulfill a 4-credit Liberal Studies Requirement in Historical Studies/Literary Studies/Culture and Civilization, and (9) familiarize the student with research resources and reserve system in the library.

 

FORMAT

The course is four (4) credits.  There will usually be an informal lecture or presentation whenever we begin a new text or unit.  Otherwise, classes will focus exclusively on the discussion of the assigned readings.  Normally, a student will bring a question or comment to the class to begin discussion on the days devoted to discussion.  There will be seven (7) films associated with the course, and they will be shown on Wednesday evenings at 7 pm in Saint Edmund’s Hall 113.  Each film is linked thematically to the text.  There will be a concert of classical music associated with this course on April 13, 7:30 pm, McCarthy Recital Hall.  On those evenings we have a scheduled film (or the day of the concert), there will be no regularly scheduled class meeting that day.  After each film, we will have a short ten minute discussion. 

 

COURSE REQUIREMENTS

The requirements are the following:  participation in class discussions (10% of final grade), a midterm examination (20% of final grade) on February 16, a 7-9 page journal on at least four (4) of the films (20% of final grade) due on April 3 (a Thursday), focus papers (10% of final grade), brief quizzes (10% of final grade), and a final examination (30% of grade).  

 

FOCUS PAPERS

Every other Friday students will turn in one-page, typed focus papers that respond to study questions related to the readings (10% of final grade).  The questions are posted at the eCollege site of the course.  The papers will not be graded.  Students must turn in these double-spaced and hard copy focus papers at the class meeting on the day they are due.   No late submissions are acceptable.  However, students can elect to drop one required focus paper without penalty. 

 

THE JOURNAL

The journal (7-9 pages) is due April 3 (a Thursday).  It should focus on at least four (4) of the films, and the student can write about content (themes), structure, or technique.  Linking the films with one or more of the readings is also encouraged.  Students must use at least four (4) outside (secondary) sources from the library or from the online databases, and the journal must use endnotes or footnotes and a bibliography.  Many secondary sources on the films are in the Reference Section or may be placed on reserve.

 

QUIZZES

Every other Friday there will be a brief, 5-10 minute quiz on the readings and/or lectures (10% of final grade).  Make-ups are possible only in the event of a serious and documented illness or a documented family emergency.  Students are allowed to skip one of the quizzes and/or have their lowest quiz score dropped.

 

eCOLLEGE

eCollege is web based course management system that we will use for this course.   Accessible through eCollege are the syllabus, announcements about upcoming events, any documents or texts, study questions, and any other communication that I deem important to the management of the course.   The URL location for eCollege is www.smcvtonline.org, and you should place it in your Favorites folder.   Students can access eCollege by using their Login ID (the mikenet name) and College ID#, which functions as the password.

 

PLAGIARISM

Plagiarism is a serious academic offense.  According to the Academic Integrity Policy (St. Michael’s College Policy on Academic Integrity), plagiarism is the presentation of “another person's ideas as your own, by directly quoting or indirectly paraphrasing, without properly citing the original source.  This includes inadvertent failure to properly acknowledge sources."  The penalties for plagiarism can range from receiving a failing grade for the plagiarized assignment to receiving a failing grade in the course.  In some cases plagiarism can result in suspension or expulsion from the college. 

           

THE FILM SERIES

The seven (7) films are linked thematically to the texts, and all will be shown on Wednesday evenings at 7:00 pm, Saint Edmund’s Hall 113.  On days when films are shown, there will be no morning class meetings.   All of the films appeared recently (2002) in the two lists published by the British film magazine, Sight and Sound, as “the greatest films of all time.”  The lists are compiled by the magazine.  One list represented the poll results of 145 critics, and the other represented the results of a poll of 108 directors.  

 

THE HUMANITIES PROGRAM CONCERT SERIES

The Humanities Program sponsors an annual concert series, integrated into the Humanities 102 syllabus.  Students are required to attend.  This semester the concert is on April 13, 7:30 pm, McCarthy Recital Hall.  The program of the concert is posted at the Humanities Program web site.  The concert organizer and performer, Dr. P. Orgel, will visit the class on April 11 to discuss the upcoming concert.

 

ATTENDANCE AND CLASS PARTICIPATION

The class participation requirement includes attendance in class, at the scheduled film showings, the concert, involvement in discussions, and the timely completion of class assignments.   I also encourage students to take full advantage of my office hours.   Students, who, for some legitimate reason, miss the Wednesday film screenings, will need to meet with me during office hours to discuss the film after they have seen it.

 

As a courtesy, students should inform me in advance of any anticipated absence. Please arrange all travel arrangements so that you will not miss any scheduled classes, the concert, exams, or films.   Make-ups and extensions are possible only for documented illnesses or compelling and documented personal reasons.  The exact date and time of the final exam will be announced shortly, but it will take place during the week of May 7-11.

 

DOCUMENTED LEARNING DISABILITIES

Students with documented learning disabilities should feel free to discuss with me whatever special accommodations are necessary regarding assignments and examinations.   Special documentation of such needs should be obtained through the office of the Coordinator of Academic Compliance (Ms. Toni Messuri).

 

REQUIRED BOOKS FOR PURCHASE

 

ON COURSE RESERVE:

Christine de Pizan, “The Tale of Joan of Arc”, in The Selected Writings of Christine de Pizan, trans. Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski and Kevin Brownless, edited by Renate B-K (New York:  W. W. Norton and Co, 1997):  252-262.

 

COURSE PLAN

 

INTRODUCTION TO COURSE

·        Petrarch (1304-1374), selected poem (class handout)          

·        Lecture:  “Christine de Pizan”                                      January 15

 

THE EARLY MODERN RENAISSANCE

CHRISTINE DE PIZAN (1431)

·        Christine de Pizan,    3-55                                                     January 17                  

·        Christine de Pizan, 55-97                                                      January 19/q

·        Christine de Pizan, 97-122 and “The Tale of Joan of Arc”

  (on reserve)                                                                           January 22

·        *Film:  “The Passion of Joan of Arc” (1927, Dreyer)        January 24*                  

·        Christine de Pizan, 217-257                                                  January 26/fp

 

NICCOLÒ MACHIAVELLI (1469-1527)                 

·        Lecture:  “Machiavelli”                                                         January 29

·        Machiavelli,   The Prince                                                         January 31, Feb. 2/q

 

 WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (1564-1616)

·        Lecture:  “Shakespeare”                                                          February 5

·        *Film:  “The Godfather, Part 1” (1972, Coppola)               February 7*

·        Richard II                                                                                February 9/fp, 12

·        *Film:  “The Godfather, Part 2”  (1974, Coppola)              February 14*

 

**HOURLY EXAMINATION**                                                       February 16

 

**FEBRUARY BREAK **                                                                 **February 19-20**

 

ENLIGHTENMENT, ROMANTICISM, AND REVOLUTION (1700-1900)

MARY SHELLEY

·        Lecture:  “Mary Shelley”                                                         February 21                

·        Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (1818)                                            February 23/q, 26

·        *Film:  “Vertigo” (1958, Hitchcock)                                    February 28*

 

KARL MARX

·         Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto (1848)                           March 5, 9

·        *Film:  “The Battleship Potemkin” (1925, Eisenstein)     March 7*

 

THE AGE OF EXTREMISM (1900-2007)

VIRGINIA WOOLF

**Spring Break**                                                                     March 9-18

 

GEORGE ORWELL

 

CHINUA ACHEBE

 

**Easter Break**                                                                                 **April 5-9**

 

THE HUMANITIES PROGRAM CONCERT SERIES

(no regular class meeting; concert at 7:30 pm)

 

HANNAH ARENDT

 

JAMES M. MCPHERSON

 

CONCLUSION TO COURSE                                                        May 4/fp        

 

Final Examination (Week of May 7-11—specific date and time tba)