Unwise Humanities Video

Dear class,

By popular demand, here is the link to the video presented in class yesterday by your colleagues, Taylor, Sophie, and Natalie:

Lyric sheet coming soon!

Thanks, all of you, for your great work on these presentations.


Final Project (15%)


DUE MAY 17, 2013

Choose one of the following prompts. Your finished work should consist of 1800-2000 words of text and use specific quotations from the readings (the textbook counts!).

1.)  Pick one of your blog entries and revise it – transform it into a full-fledged essay, with scholarly references.

2.)  Do a “Too Close” reading of a film, à la D.A. Miller’s article. (Note: you should choose a film with which you are already very familiar, even obsessed with – and that a Too Close Reading features little to no plot summary. This should be about contingent, ancillary details in the image and your fantasies about them!)

3.)   Analyze the performative frames in a social ritual in which you participate.

4.)  If you have the technical aptitude, create an online game. Write a short description of the game from a “humanist” perspective. What does your game mean? (Alternatively: conduct the same analysis on a game that you play regularly.)

5.)   You may propose an alternative project. It must include an explicit reference to something that we’ve read or seen this semester. All alternatives are subject to my approval – please send a proposal before May 3rd.


I will hold office hours (times and places to be announced) over the next few weeks, for those who would like to consult about the projects.  Good luck! 

Welcome to Humanities 1


Instructor: Jonathan E. Haynes (jhaynes@peralta.edu)

The goal of this class is to expose you to the richness and diversity of the humanities. This Spring, we will explore literature, opera, music, anthropology, philosophy, linguistics, painting, and cinema – even video games! Along the way, we will gain some understanding of the histories and methods of the various humanities fields.

Our primary objectives are:

1.)  To re-examine our own tastes and pre-conceptions through frequent self-analysis, critical reflection, and blogging;

2.)  To develop a theoretical vocabulary for discussing art works (and other kinds of cultural objects, from political speeches to television commercials);

3.)  To recognize the roles played by history and culture in artistic and social productions (also: to recognize that art is social, and that society is art);

4.)  To learn to appreciate uncommon, even radical aesthetic experiences;

…and lastly: to nurture a healthy skepticism about where the humanities ends and something else begins.

* * *

This class is acceptable for credit at UC and CSU. It counts towards GE AA/AS area 3; CSU area C2; and IGETC area 3. It can be used as an elective for the Liberal Arts and Humanities Associate in Arts Degree Program and the Liberal Arts: Intersegmental General Education Transfer (IGETC) Certificate of Achievement.