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The Course

Medaille College
Agassiz Circle
Buffalo, New York 14214


Course Disclosure Statement

Section  01 CRN 21025 Monday, Wednesday, Friday 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM Room M100

Number of Credits 3
Prerequisite ENG 110 or ENG 111

Instructor Douglas Anderson

Office Main 204
Hours Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10:00 – 10:15 Monday, Wednesday 12:30 – 1:30 Tuesday Thursday 12:00 – 12:45, 3:45 – 4:15
email anytime at hum300s15 at

Catalog Description of Course

This course explores the role of the arts in society. Students will examine various arts within the humanities — the literary, visual, and performing arts — and analyze their functions and interrelationships within historical, political, and cultural contexts.

Student Objectives

After completing this course, you will be better able to communicate with reflection, sensitivity, and intelligence about the arts in non-U.S. cultures because of your increased awareness of cultural diversity. Specifically, you will be better able to:

  • identify major literary, visual, and performing artistic traditions and movements in world history
  • define and apply major critical-theoretical approaches to the arts: object, historical record, social document, occasion for meditation or revolution
  • identify and explain formal and thematic elements of the arts in historical/political/cultural/technological context
  • articulate interrelationships between various forms of art
  • interpret (observe, analyze, explain) artistic products orally and in writing
  • compare and contrast worldviews of the art of various cultures

Course Content

This course will provide a mix of lecture, presentations, and hands-on activities.

The hands-on activities will engage students in conversations with natives of foreign countries about artistic expression in music, dance, and the visual arts.

The lectures will cover the countries, their cultures, world history, art criticism, arts analysis, world religions, and major political systems.

The small-group discussions will give students a forum for discussions about the conversations.


There is no ink-on-paper textbook for this course. Each student explores a separate country and shares with the other students in presentations and on the course wiki.

Required Reading

Three web pages for you to read about your country:

The Wikipedia entry for your country. For most of our countries, the Wikipedia has supplementary articles focusing on aspects of the country, for example, the music of Thailand.

At , the entry about your country will have some overlap with the Wikipedia entry, but it will cover many other aspects.

At Freedom House , you can learn more about the politics of your country, especially the recent events that may help with your current events timeline assignment.

On the left-sidebar menus, you can see the headings for The Arts and for Society. This is the material that would be in an ink-on-paper textbook, if such a beast exists. I will lecture on this material and you will take tests  on it during the semester.