Art and Music in Western Civilization

At Wayne State University in urban Detroit, Michigan, students enjoy the benefits of studying at a large research institution while retaining the personalized attention of a small liberal arts college.

The College of Liberal Arts offers majors, minors, and co-majors across 15 departments and 18 programs, providing a broad-based liberal arts education.

Each unit within the College includes a dedicated advising staff to assist students in planning a course of study and to help make that important bridge from college to career. Come and discover the Liberal Arts at Wayne State University. HUM 1010 Introduction to Art and Music in Western Civilization 4 credits. A Visual & Performing Arts course

From ancient Greek civilization to modern times, attention is focused on architecture, painting, sculpture, and music. Carefully selected examples from the visual arts and music placed in appropriate contexts from antiquity to the present. Museum and listening assignments supplement lectures.
HUM 1020
Experiencing the Arts-Looking at Art and Listening to Music 3-4 credits. A Visual & Performing Arts course

Developing the skills to experience (look, listen, read) such artistic media as art, music, and poetry. Considering how such skills relate to the manner in which meaning is communicated. [MORE about the 3-credit version] [More about the 4-credit version]

HUM 1030 Exploring the Arts in Detroit 4 Credits. A Visual & Performing Arts course

Explores the arts in Detroit and the metropolitan area: Detroit’s famous buildings and monuments, the Detroit Institute of arts, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and other cultural centers and institutions. A lecture-field work format assures maximum opportunity for direct access and experience.

HUM 1130 Practicum in Humanities 1 Credit.

Expand your knowledge and pursue an area of special interest in the humanities by enrolling in a one-credit Practicum (directed study) related to a topic introduced in HUM 1010, HUM 1020, HUM 1030, HUM 2100, or HUM 2110. (Prerequisite/Corequisite: HUM 1010, HUM 1020, HUM 1030, HUM 2100, HUM 2110.) May be taken while concurrently enrolled or after having successfully completed any one of these five courses.

HUM 2000 Reading and Writing About the Arts 3 credits. Experience and enjoy the arts while improving your writing skills.

Examination of ways in which various modes of expression (e.g. painting, music, and drama) and related examples of expository (critical) prose communicate meaning for the purpose of improving analytical skills and writing ability. (Prerequisite ENG 1020.) [MORE]

HUM 2100 Ancient-Medieval Literature and the Arts 4 credits. A Philosophy & Letters course

Encounter and learn great art, drama, and epic poetry. Examines relationships among the arts and connections between art and ideas from antiquity to the Renaissance. [MORE]

HUM 2200 Sophomore Honors Colloquium in Humanities 4 credits (maximum 8 credits). A Philosophy & Letters course

Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Open only to students in the Honors Program. Topics to be announced in the schedule of classes.

HUM 2500 (LBS 2500) Images of Labor in the Arts and Literature 4 credits. Diverse history of labor as reflected in the popular arts (film, songs, stories, and graphics.)

HUM 3990 Credit 1-3 (maximum 3).

Advanced directed study in a particular area of the humanities. (Prerequistie: Written consent of the Humanities director. Open primarily to juniors and seniors.)

This course fulfills the Visual and Performing Arts component of the Humanities Group Requirement, of the University-wide Program in General Education.

Course Description:

Humanities 101 focuses on monuments of art and music from the Graeco-Roman period to modern times. But the course is more than a simple survey: it stresses “arts and ideas.” While a chronological structure provides the framework for organizing and presenting materials, a consistent effort is made to relate examples of art and music from the past to later adaptations and to explore the significance of these influences on contemporary thought and value.

Thus key works of art and music are examined from the viewpoints of their own unique beauty and structure, their particular expression of the culture from which they originate, and their influence on present culture. Furthermore, the course attempts to show the continuities as well as the differences in artistic expression from earliest period through modern times.

Even casual inspection of our present environment reveals the continuing influence of works of architecture, paintings, sculpture, and music from earlier times and distant place. Architecture, the most “social” and “utilitarian” of the arts, provides a wide range of examples of modern buildings that employ (in literal or modified forms) Graeco-Roman, Early Christian, Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque characteristics. Indeed, these historic styles are reflected in Detroit and in the Metropolitan Area.

In paintings and sculpture, as well as in music, the powerful pull of the past also manifests itself clearly. Frescoes, mosaics, and varieties of paintings are living parts of our culture Ñ as seen in galleries, museums, educational institutions, shopping malls, and private homes. Sculpture, as an aesthetic and urban expression, is present in many architectural and public places. And the music of the past takes its place along side of “new music”; this is manifested in concerts, recordings, and in the programming of radio and television.

Moreover, musicians and listeners find renewed interest in older musical forms, such as medieval motets and Baroque opera, and these works thereby exert discernible influences on contemporary practice.

Humanities 101 begins with the examination of artistic and musical products in themselves and in the context of the social forms and cultural values in which they were created. It is on this foundation that the second principal aim of the course is constructed: demonstrating how the arts of the past continue to play an important role in our lives today. Relationships between “classic monuments” and subsequent adaptations are explored from a variety of perspective: formal, stylistic, and thematic, for example.

Texts and Materials Texts and materials may vary from term to term. Those cited below are to be considered representative examples.

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