Lecture 1. Examining Key Questions in the Humanities
What are humanities?
It is the study of human culture in all its aspects. It uses analytic, critical,
interpretive, and evaluative senses.
Lyn Maxwell White says that it offers ambiguity and paradox, voice to feeling and
artistic shape to experience, morality and value, differing interpretations and
It explores how we use language, how our ideas and thoughts on the human
experience are expressed and interpreted, how we determine value and meaning,
how we define ideas such as “truth”, “beauty”, and “art”. We consider the meaning of
life, reasons for our thoughts and actions, and values and principles that inform our
laws and customs, those both written and unwritten. It examines how we construct
our aesthetic, intellectual, religious, social, and political worlds that compare the
difference in construction of time, place, and people.
Rockefeller, Commission on Humanities says, “What does it mean to be human?”
There is no precise answer and we use moral, spiritual, intellectual sense of a
world. Main question in humanities: What does it mean to be human?
Steps to Humanities:
Engage with the work of others. We pursue a line of inquiry or research
where individual scholars draw their own emotional, aesthetic, intellectual response
to contextualize their responses by situating them within the broader conversations.
Humanities examine text, image, and sound; critically make use of work of other
scholar. We extend the conversation on a given subject in order to enrich human
Articulate in a position. It is to move beyond what has said before and make
new knowledge by providing new interpretations and evidence that advance clear
and interesting points.
Situate writing within specific contexts. The writer develops awareness of
audience with articulating the reasoning behind the approach and acknowledges
potential objections to analysis/argument. Readers value complexity and nuance
where they ideas cannot be reduced to a simple position. An ethos is developing to
show thoughtful and fair critic.
Lecture 2. The University, knowledge, Epistemology.
What makes up the university?
Teachers, scholars, students. They form and inform the others in mutual
relationship. Teaching and scholarship are bound to one another and the ideal point
is that the classroom is used as a community. University is a place for storage
(libraries, textbooks, websites, professor’s heads), creating (Essays and journal
publications, research), and re-examining (Conversation, response, critique, peer
review) knowledge. University is a place for construction and deconstruction.
What is knowledge?
Epistemology: the theory of knowledge where distinction of belief and
opinion is made. Knowledge does not mean information. An example by Maria
Popova is expressed. Knowledge is information processed by a thinking human
mind. It is expertise, and skills acquired through experience or education, known information in a particular field, and awareness gained by experience or fact.
Humans created knowledge and sharing are required. Epistemology focuses on
developing a claim of a ‘known’ idea. Examples asked in epistemology include: What
is knowledge? How do we know what we know? What is the difference between
knowledge and opinion or belief? If you know something does that mean that you
are certain about it? Is knowledge really possible? How reliable is the mind?
In “When photographs create false memories,” Loftus and Pickerel fooled
people in a child hood photograph of subjects who were lost in a mall. 33% subjects
falsely remembered their memory of being lost in a mall from the photograph when
it did not happen before. Another example was bye Wade where he made a
photograph of a hot air balloon ride instead of a mall.
Knowledge is made through empirical (experience in trial) and speculative (to look
at) analytic critical. Human knowledge is separated into: empirical science (natural
science and social science) and humanities (philosophy, literature, visual and
performing arts, study of religion).
Lecture 3. Representation, Ideology, Hegemony.
Ideology is set of idea, which is used, in a partial and selective method. It shows the
relationship where power is distributed socially, not socially produced. Within any
culture, numerous ideologies coexist with hegemonic (dominant) and cultural norm
Ideology affects power relationship consciously or unconsciously, govern
perception judgments, prejudice. It causes revolutions, discrimination,
marginalization and exploitation.
Ideology becomes hegemonic (dominant) when a dominant class in a given
society adopts them. It shapes the way things are looked and what reality is. Cultural
hegemony is dominant culture. It uses persuasive and coercive means such as the
use of institutions, bureaucracy to make power seem abstract, use of education,
advertising, TV, web. Examples of ideology include: Capitalism, socialism,
communism, libertarianism, liberalism, and conservatism-any formative construct
that defines citizens. It is an over-simplification of individuals.
Capitalism has the motivation of money. Socialism does not have the motivation of
money or profit seems unrealistic. Capitalism vs. Socialism. This is a problem
because conformity has replaced consciousness where goods are used to
manipulate mass society. We are as much of a commodity (material) as the product
What do you do?
The question is answered with occupation and what we have.
Evgeny Morozov ask if internet activism will displace other forms of activism and
whether people think they are campaigning for something important when they join
online groups that are not relevant to political world. The government thinks it is all
right for such online group as long as the activism does not spill into the streets.
Representation is defined to take or fill in place. It symbolizes something abstract. It