USU Humanities Homepage

Objectives/Policies
Instructions for Readings
Course Outline

Nationalism & War
Culture & Ethnicity
Economics & Poverty

USU 1320 Civilization: Humanities Syllabus

Instructor: Aaron L. Crawford, Box Elder High School

E-mail: aaron(dot)crawford(at)besd.net

Phone: (435) 734-4840

Webpage: www.historyofcrawford.com

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 3

Text: Rossinow, Doug and Rebecca S. Lowen. The United States Since 1945: Historical Interpretations.

We will also examine many primary documents. These are listed in the course schedule. A few of these will be linked from my website; others will be given in class.
Note that we will consider excerpts instead of entire documents in most cases (except the articles in Rossinow & Lowen).

A note about the syllabus:    I've found that students often attempt to find loopholes in rules and policies and people occassionally get upset over unforeseen issues. Therefore, I reserve the right to change policies and procedures at any time. Such changes will be posted here and announced in class. However, since I've found that students tend to ignore anything resembling announcements, I suggest you check back here from time to time to ensure you have not missed any changes.

Objectives:

By the end of the class, you will:
1. Increase your cultural literacy (understanding and awareness ) of divergent cultures that participate in modern society,
2. Identify broad themes that cut across human history and culture,
3. Understand the nature, history, and methods of the humanities, especially historical & cultural methodologies.

Scope & Content:

The purpose of this course is to provide a “basic understanding of a broad range of themes, which cut across human history and continue to be important in contemporary society.” Such an endeavor entails a journey of self-discovery. We will examine our own humanity in an attempt to achieve self-understanding via a number of the humanities including History, Folklore, Anthropology, American Studies, Philosophy, Literature, and others. The humanities are a broad subject, and while all of these disciplines will inform our study in this course, we will focus primarily on certain events selected from recent American history. I have chosen to examine the broad themes of history thematically rather than chronologically as a way to analyze varying responses to similar issues in different times and cultures.

Instruction/Pedagogy:

  • You will learn to critically analyze both primary and secondary documents, including journals (academic and historic/personal), speeches, novels, narratives, newspaper reports, music, poetry, and movies/television.
  • We will visit three large topics (Nationalism & War; Culture & Ethnicity; and Economics & Poverty) by examining a new case study each week. While we consider a topic, we will combine lecture, video, audio, guest speakers, and readings to ensure a thorough understanding of the issue.
  • As we progress through the week, we will shift from a lecture format to a discussion format. You are required to critically analyze the information given and form an informed opinion, then to share this opinion with the class during class discussions. Class discussions are graded according to your participation and the thoughtfulness of your arguments.
  • Participation is worth approx. 5 pts/wk. If you miss a day, go into the powerpoint. View any videos online, read any articles/essays we discussed, and give me a paragraph about what you learned.
  • Assigned readings are in your syllabus. Refer to the course calendar, so you know the completion date for each reading. I expect you to come to class prepared to discuss the readings, with the reading assignment done.
  • You will complete a writing assignment every three weeks. There is also a fairly substantial project due once a month.
  • The teachers' code of ethics for the state of Utah requires me to inform you that students will be discussing their personal political beliefs.
  • You should also note that we view images and videos with some difficult content, like the aftermath of the atomic bombings or the victims of the 9/11 attacks. Most are viewed as images with my in-class narration, but a few have accompanying videos. A full list is in the Course Outline below. We also watch a number of music videos.

Readings:

For each of the articles, you need to:

  • Describe the audience
  • Analyze the author's credentials and any inherent biases
  • Quote the author's thesis
  • List the evidence the author gives to support that thesis

Warnings:

  • Everyone thinks they are an exception, but as Theodore Roosevelt said, "No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it." Expect me to enforce these rules with the fervor of Inspector Javert.
  • This class is mostly discussion based. Students receive a grade for participation in these discussions. This is common practice in university classes.
  • In the course you will be exposed to opinions that differ from your own. This is intentional and essential. If you prefer not to hear a speech by a president that you don't like, or learn about a person with whom you disagree, or listen to music outside your chosen genre, then this class is not for you.
  • The humanities are not math. There is no accepted norm in the answers. You won't see the wisdom of the professor who knows everything; nor will you agree with all of your classmates' assessments. The goal is to see the world differently than you do now.
  • The reading is pretty typical of a humanities class. Most of the articles in the textbook were written for a popular (meaning non-academic) audience. Focus on increasining your reading ability with the book. The course is reading intensive!
  • Any instances of plagiarism or other cheating will result in a 0 on the assignment that cannot be made up, and may involve discipline through USU.
  • There are not a great many assignments in class, meaning that each one is worth a large percentage of your grade. Failure to do even one assignment may result in a failing grade for the course. Assignments received late under all circumstances will receive 1/2 of the credit earned!

Course Outline:

As mentioned above, we will visit three large topics (Nationalism & War; Culture & Ethnicity; and Economics & Poverty) by examining a new case study each week.  While we consider a topic, we will combine lecture, video, audio, guest speakers, and readings to ensure a thorough understanding of the issue.  As we progress through the week, we will shift from a lecture format to a discussion format.  You are required to critically analyze the information given and form an informed opinion, then to share this opinion with the class in class discussions.

A calendar is availalbe on my main webpage. Be sure you make up participation points for days you were absent!

Week One - Introduction to the Humanities

PowerPoint

Topic One - Nationalism & War

Week Two - The Atomic Bombings

Read chapter 1: The Atomic Bombings
PowerPoint
View BBC's Hiroshima

Week Three - Vietnam

Read chapter 9: The Vietnam War
PowerPoint
View the Smithsonian's Remembering Vietnam: The Wall at 25

Week Four - 9/11

Read chapter 15: The 9/11 Attacks
PowerPoint
View the History Channel's 102 Minutes that Changed America
9/11 Urban Legends Assignment

Topical Reflection Due!

Oral History Due - See How to Conduct an Interview and Paper Requirements

Topic Two - Culture & Ethnicity

Week Five - Introduction to Research Paper/Computer Lab Time

Week Six - American Indians

PowerPoint
View PBS's We Shall Remain: Wounded Knee

Week Seven - Black Culture

Read chapter 5: The Black Freedom Struggle
PowerPoint
View Ancestry.com's Who Do You Think You Are? "Emmitt Smith"

Week Eight - Latino Culture

Read chapter 14: Globalization
PowerPoint
View excerpts of A Fight in the Fields

Topical Reflection Due!

Research Paper Due

Topic Three - Economics & Poverty

Week Nine - The 1950s

Read chapter 4: Affluence, Domesticity, and the Fifties
PowerPoint

Week Ten - The 1960s

Read chapter 8: The War on Poverty
PowerPoint
View Modern Marvels: "'60s Tech"

Week Eleven - The 1980s

Read chapter 12: Reaganomics & Beyond
PowerPoint
View the History Channel's Reagan

Topical Reflection Due!

Week Twelve - Group Cultural Research Project Presentations