HUM 245E Single Author: Chaucer
This course will cover Geoffrey Chaucer's language, versification, and the historical and literary background of The Canterbury Tales. We will look at the changing social dynamic of the Late Middle Ages caused by the black plague, religious dissent, political instability, and the rise of the middle class. All the primary source readings will be in Middle English.
HUM 239E Modernism and War: Literature of WWI
This course studies selected texts and images from roughly 1912 to 1925, looking at how literature responded to World War I, its causes, its aftermath, and the sense of loss and betrayal that followed, from which emerged the movement that we refer to today as Modernism. We’ll look at how poets, painters, and novelists broke free of conventional forms or employed them in unconventional ways, often to challenge traditional values and long-held assumptions about gender (especially masculinity), race, and money.
HUM249E Classical Rhetoric
This course examines the emergence of rhetoric, or oratory, from the Ancient Greeks to late Antiquity. It will cover the foundational theories behind argument in the Western tradition as well as provide practical guidance in the application of those rhetorical techniques in modern academic and professional contexts. Students will read, discuss, and present on selections of major canonical works by Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, and Augustine. In the process, students will examine why “rhetoric” is sometimes used as a bad word, what rhetoric has become in today’s classroom, and when and how best to apply different methods of argumentation. In the spirit of the rhetorical tradition, the course equips students to be capable and involved participants in the debates that animate public life.
HUM234E Science & the Victorians
This course studies selected texts from the science and literature of the Victorian Period, examining how literature responded to contemporary scientific discoveries and theories, and how it borrowed from and gave emotional substance to scientific concepts. At the same time, we’ll be looking at how Victorian scientists expressed their theories in language, metaphors, and analogies usually reserved for literature. In exploring the works of writers like Matthew Arnold, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and Charles Dickens and scientists like Darwin, Koch, Pasteur, and Doyle, students will discover how these two seemingly antithetical disciplines are actually closely interrelated cultural practices that reflect the social, political, and economic hopes and fears of Victorian England, and, that they express enthusiasm for, and criticism of the British empire.
HUM 289CS Fairy Tales, Ideology, and Culture
Through the study of the origins and transformations of Western fairy tales and cultural theory, we will investigate how storytelling shapes our sense of ourselves and others by exploring whom the authors of these tales were addressing and what political, historical, and social realities were influencing and guiding their writings. We will ask why and how the recurring motifs within the tales have endured and why and how contemporary authors have subverted or reinforced the themes and lessons of the traditional tales. Above all, we will address, through diverse cultural theories, how these tales have influenced - and continue to influence - how we understand and define our individual and collective selves as well as those who are other to us.
HUM 275CS 20th Century through Film
Europe plays a major role in today's global world, but how can we make sense of today if we do not understand that last century? The combination of films and texts will explore its wars and revolutions, but also its culture and accomplishments in so many fields.
HUM289CS Architectural Imagination
Los Angeles architecture begins in 1910 Vienna where Rudolf Schindler apprenticed with the revolutionary designer Adolf Loos. The seminar traces Schindler's path from Michaeler Platz in Vienna to Los Angeles where, as Frank Lloyd Wright's employee, Schindler developed the "beach style" that connects light and space with Nature. The seminar's first tour is the Schindler House in Hollywood. The seminar then studies the Getty Center where Richard Meier and Robert Irwin added classical formalism to the Southern California "light & space" style. We look at the Arts & Crafts Movement's contribution to home design, and a third tour treats the postmodern nexus of downtown Los Angeles: Walt Disney Concert Hall (Frank Gehry), Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (Welton Becket), and the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels (Rafael Moneo). Three of the six seminar meetings will require travel to architectural sites.
HUM284CS or HUM268H Splendors of Italy
Travel to Italy and study the culture of the ancient Roman Empire! As we travel, we will visit key ancient sites and collections such as the Roman port of Ostia, Pompeii, and the museum of antiquities in Naples. In Florence and the Vatican we will study the ancient Greco-Roman inspiration for Renaissance art. We will also visit the Forum and the Coliseum. Join us for a trip through time!
HUM289CS Thana Tourism
Using an interdisciplinary approach, we will focus on diverse travel narratives, literary works, and theoretical approaches to investigate the increasing allure of various tourist and historical sites that are associated with collective traumas, death, and disaster and that raise questions about memory, commemoration, and exploitation. Many of our materials will come from seminal works within John Lennon/Malcolm Foley's Dark Tourism: The Attraction of Death and Disaster and Richard Sharpley/Philip Stone's The Darker Side of Travel: The Theory and Practice of Dark Tourism.
HUM275CS Monsters & Monstrosities
In this course, we will investigate and interpret the stories that we construct – about ourselves and about “the Other” – by particularly exploring cultural productions from east, west, and in-between which revolve around figures of dread: the vampire, the specter, the witch. In the process, we will discuss who or what these figures represent; how constructions and representations of the frightening reflect cultural, social and political/colonial and postcolonial realities; and how images of, and myths involving, these figures have changed or have remained the same over the centuries.
HUM 252H Great Historical Figures: Hitler and the Third Reich
This course takes a comprehensive look at the rise and fall of the Third Reich, with special emphasis on its leaders and the intellectual and cultural influences that informed their ideology. Although World War II will be touched upon, the primary foci of the course will be elsewhere. Special topics include the psychology of Hitler; occultism; the Holocaust; and the Nuremberg trials.
HUM 257H Critical Eras: The Age of the Borgias
The Age of the Borgias was the age of Renaissance in Italy. The Borgia family produced two popes, the most notorious being Alexander VI, and numerous colorful characters, including Cesare and Lucrezia. The Borgias made powerful enemies such as the Medicis and Sforzas, and so it is a challenge to sift fact from fiction. Alexander VI has been accused in history of rape, simony, bribery, and murder, especially poison-and all that before antipasto! Lucrezia and Cesare have been accused of incest. But how much of this is true, and how much of it is the stuff of TV specials? Join us at a look at the Renaissance of the 15th century through the lens of the family that we love to hate: the Borgias.
HUM257H: Critical Eras in European History
The Puritan Revolution Before the French and American Revolutions, there was the English or Puritan Revolution which “turned the world upside down.” The staid English fought a civil war, executed their king, replaced another one, and established a constitutional monarchy in the process. The US Bill of Rights? The original came from the Puritan Revolution. Power to the people? It all started in the English Revolution. This was a time of great spiritual and social turmoil with radical Diggers, Ranters, Muggletonians, and many more challenged mainstream society as did mystics such as the Behmists and Quakers. Join us for for a study of this first revolution for political liberties!
HUM266H Religion and History:
Gods and Demons in 16th Century Mexico In this seminar-style course, we will examine the Golden Age of Evangelization in Mexico, studying first the culture and belief systems of pre-contact Mesoamerica and late medieval Castile before analyzing the Spanish Conquest from both a European and indigenous perspective. Once we understand the historical context, we will turn to the 1524 arrival of the first twelve Franciscans in Mexico, tracing the methods they, their fellow mendicants, and the secular clergy employed as they engaged in the Christianization of New Spain's native peoples during the first century of colonial rule. We will likewise consider indigenous responses, resistance, and adaptation in order to better understand what some scholars have dubbed “Nahua-Christianity.” We will enter into the rich history of this evangelization program – referenced by the friars as the Spiritual Conquest – through a series of lectures, primary source readings, discussions, images, and literature. By course's end, students will be able to identify the origins of Mexican Catholicism and trace the narrative arc of Mexico's transition from indigenous societies to early colonial societies. Students will be introduced to the historians’ craft through discussions of field work, archival research, source analysis, and paleography, via copies of colonial documents from the Archivo General de la Nación in Mexico City. Spanish-speaking students may choose to work with my sixteenth-century archival materials for their research projects. Course Readers will be available for purchase in the bookstore.
HUM256H Critical Eras in Latin American/Caribbean History: Gender & Sexuality in the Twentieth Century
This seminar will explore recent work on gender and sexuality in South and Central America and the Caribbean from the fin-de-siècle through the 1980s. Moving beyond the history of women and women’s movements, the class will focus on the contributions of gender and LGBT studies to the history of race, revolution, labor, dictatorship, and resistance. We will engage with creative new scholarship on the Mexican, Cuban, and Nicaraguan Revolutions, the Dominican and Argentine dictatorships, the Chilean copper mines and Costa Rican banana plantations. Both male and female students will be challenged as we examine masculinity beyond the stereotypical macho. Analysis of primary sources, including film and images, will inspire original historical research projects.
HUM257H The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Decline and fall of the Roman Empire Historians have long debated the contributory factors to the fall of the Roman Empire in the West. Plagues? Lead in the pipes? Christianity? Lack of leadership? The Germanic tribes on the border? In this class we will explore the complex network of reasons why the mighty Empire disintegrated in the 5th century. What does a civilization experience as if declines? We will read famous historians like Gibbon, theologians like Augustine and a variety of literary and original sources? Are there lessons to be learned from history? You decide!
HUM 230CW Creative Writing: The Novel
This is an advanced level fiction course for students who want to explore writing a novel from the beginning to the end product. The class is suitable for those who have the patience, time and talent to attempt writing a book of fiction. We will read, study and discuss the components of famous novels for design, craft and suitability. The emphasis will be on possibility and potential as students develop ideas for this particular genre. There is a requirement of 50 pages and an outline by then end of the semester.
HUM 232CW Creative Writing for TV
This graduate-level introduction to the craft of television screenwriting will explore the key elements of good writing - theme, character, structure, plot, and dialogue - as they apply specifically to the unique parameters of the television pilot. During each class, we will study pilot scripts that have been made into successful television series in recent years; engage in writing exercises in character development, scene construction, dialogue, and description; and workshop scenes written by students in the class. Over the course of the semester, each student will develop and write a complete television pilot.
Unbeknownst to most, Los Angeles is one of the most dynamic and prolific cities in the world for producing new works for the theater. This graduate-level introduction to the craft of playwriting will explore one-act and multiple-act structures, premise, theme, character, setting, and dialogue. During each class, we will study some of the best and most interesting plays available; engage in writing exercises in character development, scene construction, dialogue, and description; and workshop scenes written by students in the class. By the end of the course, each of you will complete an entire one-act play.
HUM229CW Writing Children's Literature
We will examine the current state of the art and see how we can fit our own talents to the task of writing for children today without adding to the cultural stereotypes, “misfit” social roles or creating misshapen identities for the future. Yes, literature has this kind of power, making such a course of study a careful one. You may choose to write for any traditional genre, or you may mix them up for something completely different. You will find some freedom to experiment. There are several areas where you may explore your talents: fairy tales, folk tales, puppet shows, picture books, fantasy, poetry, animal tales, fables, historical fiction, young adult novels, video game scripts, and graphic novels. We will look at how to get work into the mainstream where it can be read or performed, and maybe even win a Caldecott medal. On the afternoon of the second class meeting we will be visiting a unique children’s bookstore and meet with the distinguished owner who will show us the ways in which one can make a career out of writing for children with examples and inside information about those who are doing just that today.
HUM230CW Short Story
Unlike other literary endeavors, the short story is a quick shot of something stimulating and does not get a broken spine from resting overnight on the bedside table. But, by the end of this course, you could be happily addicted to writing some for yourself, and maybe even for the Paris Review. The components of the course are all in place to prepare you for writing for fun, and if you find your “voice” for others. This will be an exploration, a quest, a hopeful trip into your own consciousness where you may find something valuable to bring home. Writers have told us of finding: the ears of El Toro, the Golden Fleece, the Holy Grail, and morel. I will be happy if you find a love for writing and the short story in particular. This course is for beginners, old pros, and the simply curious. This will be a workshop class.
One Unit Courses
HUM 225 The Emergence of Christianity I: The Apostolic Fathers
This course will focus on the earliest post-testamental documents of the First and Second Century Church which, though non-canonical, greatly influenced the beginnings of theological and hierarchical development as the Church started to co-here into a recognizable and distinct religious organization with a set belief system, organizational system, and philosophical system. These documents (which form the area of study in Church History known as the Apostolic Fathers) consist of the following works:the Didache (or the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles), the Shepherd of Hermas, the Letter of Barnabas, the First Letter of Clement to the Corinthians, the Letters of Ignatius, and the Martyrdom of Polycarp. This is a survey course which will expose the students to the basic content and theological innovations of these works and how they shaped Christian thought in the First Century and beyond.
HUM 225 Special Topics: Living History Workshop
Fascinating people inhabit the histories of Mount St. Mary's College and the Sisters of St. Joseph, from the founding of the Order of France in 1650 through the establishment of our own campuses here in Los Angeles. How better to learn about our 362 years of history than to hear from the people who made that history?! Living History shows enable us to go just that in classrooms, schools, and at events. Our aim with this workshop is to develop live performances wherein historical personalities appear and tell their stories in their own words.
HUM 239E Sexual Psychosis in Renaissance Poetry
Sex and Psychosis in the English Renaissance. Come learn all about Renaissance culture and how truly weird it was.
HUM225 The Quest for the Historical Jesus
In this course we will focus on Jesus before Christianity, the first attempt to identify the real Jesus as distinct from the Jesus of the Gospels, the earliest critics of the Gospel portraits of Jesus, the second so-called Jesus Quest, and the Jesus Seminar. We will discuss the differences between the Jesus of History and the Christ of Faith, the merits of the quest for the historical Jesus and its implications for Christian faith. We will pursue these goals by looking at the chief scholars and theologians who have contributed to the historical Jesus quest from the 17th Century to the present day.
HUM225 Apocalyptic Literature
This course will focus on the two great apocalyptic works of scripture: the Books of Daniel and the Book of Revelation. We will discuss the socio-political forces that gave rise to such literature, the characteristics that define apocalyptic, the difference between apocalyptic works and prophecy and how a failure to understand such difference leads to a distortion of the biblical messages. In addition, we will discuss how these books have been interpreted in the past and is interpreted today by looking at modern concepts such as the rapture, Dispensationalism, and the popular “Left Behind” series of fictional representations of apocalypticism. Finally, we will look at alternative means to interpret Daniel and Revelation other than as prophecy.
HUM225 Wonderful Wall Street
If a nation can be thought of as having a collective soul, few movies celebrate the American soul better than Frank Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life (1947). In this perennial Christmas favorite, compassionate, self-sacrificing George Bailey is dedicated to the common good of the people of Bedford Falls. When faced with financial ruin he experiences a severe personal crisis, profoundly doubting the value of his life. He is moved to the brink of suicide when his nemesis, predatory banker Old Man Potter, scornfully tells him that he is “worth more dead than alive.” An angel intervenes, however, and takes him on a tour of an alternate reality; that is, George is shown what life would have been like had he had never existed. Potter would have triumphed. The people of his town would be living a meaner life, cruel and corrupt; Bedford Falls would have been doomed to a hellish existence. With his faith restored, George joyously returns to his family and his challenging yet wonderful life.
HUM249E Reading Moby Dick by the Sea
If the idea of actually reading this huge book has been daunting, or if you were forced to plow through it without a worthy guide, this is your chance to discover what makes this book famous, and its author so revered. Led by a writer who is a member of the Melville Society, and a descendent of the New England mariners who plowed the sea for its treasured oil, you are guaranteed a whale of a time in one weekend at the Los Angeles waterfront as we gain an appreciation for a book we may have put off tackling until the conditions were right. NOW
HUM289CS Identity Construction in African American Films of the Early 1900s
The purpose of this course is to examine and analyze racial representations in D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation (1915) and Oscar Micheaux’s Within Our Gates (1919). We will view the films and read a series of articles that discuss Micheaux and Griffith, and the aesthetics and public reception of the works. Through discussion, we will understand the ways in which the films as text use racial representations to determine identity characteristics.