FRIDAYS 1:00-2:15 BCC033 (and online)



Learning Outcomes:

By the end of the course, you should be able to:

1- identify, describe, and put the different humanistic disciplines into historical context, keeping in mind their various socio-cultural functions.

2- describe the basic elements and principles of the formal analysis of various artistic disciplines, and apply that analysis toward understanding and interpreting various humanistic works (of literature, visual arts, film, music, theater, dance, and philosophy).

3- articulate personal sensibilities of taste, and be aware of the diverse cultural responses and approaches that exist between people and the arts.

Note about structure:

This is a hybrid class. We will meet every Friday afternoon (except holidays) in BCC 033 for lectures, discussions, and presentations, but you will access most of your assignments and other course materials online. Make sure to familiarize yourself with this site! You will also need to create your own blog. Here are video instructions for doing so:

Required texts:

Our textbook for the class is Theories of Performance, by Elizabeth Bell. The BCC campus bookstore has some copies (on the fifth floor – room 517). It can also be obtained through Amazon and other online sources, such as Barnes & Noble:

ToP Cover

Other readings will be accessible here, on this website, under the “Assignments” banner for each unit.


The following schedule is subject to change

UNIT ONE: The Humanities in Crisis

JAN 25:


FEB 1:

Discuss Susan Stewart, “Thoughts on the Role of the Humanities in Contemporary Life”

FEB 8:

Presentation #1

Discuss Chapters 1 & 2 (Theories of Performance)

FEB 15:

no class – holiday

NOTE: Opera excursion on February 14, 2pm

END UNIT ONE: 1st blog due

UNIT TWO: Literature, Philosophy, Essay

FEB 22:

Presentation #2

Discuss Zadie Smith (“Notes on Attunement”) and Joni Mitchell (Blue album)

Optional: Seneca, “On the Shortness of Life”

MAR 1:

Presentation #3

Discuss Wordsworth & Ginsberg poems

Read: Chapter 3 (Theories of Performance)

MAR 8:

Presentation #4

Discuss Kierkegaard, “Exordium”

Read: Chapter 4 (Theories of Performance)

END UNIT TWO – 2nd blog due

UNIT THREE: Language, Identity, & World

MAR 15

Presentation #5

Discuss Lisa Boroditsky, “How Language Shapes Thought” (article and video)

Read: Chapter 6 & 7 (Theories of Performance)

MAR 22:

no class – MIDTERM

MAR 29:

no class – SPRING RECESS

END UNIT THREE – 3rd blog due

UNIT FOUR: Cinema, Anthropology, Close-ups

APR 5:

Presentation #6

Discuss Balazs & Epstein

Watch on-line & in-class: Warhol screen-tests, Dreyer’s Joan, etc.

APR 12:

Presentation #7

Discuss Nanook of the North & Jay Ruby

Read: Chapter 5 (“Performing Culture”)

APR 19:

Presentation #8

Discuss Hitchcock and D.A. Miller

END UNIT FOUR – 4th Blog due

UNIT FIVE: The Digital Humanities

APR 26:

No presentation – guest lecture

Irene Chien Lecture (materials forthcoming)

Read: Chapter 9 (“Performing Technology”)

MAY 3:

Presentation #9


END UNIT FIVE – 5th Blog due

UNIT 6: Painting, Frame, Museum

MAY 10:

Presentation #10

Discuss Manet’s Olympia & T.J. Clark

MAY 17:

no class- holiday

MAY 24:

Last class (final projects due)


**You are responsible for dropping the course if you decide not to continue; please contact me to let me know.

 **Late assignments will be accepted but grades will decrease incrementally the later the assignment is turned in. Contact me immediately if you will be late with an assignment for any reason.

 **Plagiarism—i.e. submitting someone else’s work (words, ideas, expressions, whatever it may be) as your own—will not be tolerated. Students are expected to be truthful and ethical in their academic work; academic integrity and honesty are essential to being a good student. Academic dishonesty undermines both your own and BCC’s quality of education. Plagiarists will receive a zero on the assignment in question. Repeat offenders will be given an F for the course and will be subject to BCC disciplinary action. See BCC catalog for more information.

 **BCC is committed to equal opportunity in education. In particular, if you have a disability and require assistance or materials, please do not hesitate to inform the instructor during the first two weeks of class. DSPS/PSSD (Disabled Student Program and Services) provides for any enrolled student who has a verified disability.