HUM101: Learning Objectives and Expected Outcomes 

In this course, we investigate the social, historical, ethical, and aesthetic meanings of cultural artifacts and 

texts. We study diverse visual, literary, performance, and philosophical works from different historical 

periods and cultural contexts, to increase our critical understanding, to learn how to better interpret various

texts and works of art by contextualizing them, how to better formulate questions, construct arguments, and

how to communicate ideas more effectively, thus becoming better critical thinkers, speakers, and writers.

What are the humanities?

The humanities are academic disciplines that 

study how people process and document the 

human experience. The humanities study how we

use philosophy,  literature, religion, art, music,

history, and language to understand and record our


Why study the humanities?

Studying the humanities helps us to understand

who we are as human beings. It gives us a sense

of connection, to each other and to those who came 

before us. Stephen Shoemaker, religious studies 

professor at the University of Oregon, affirms the

value of studying the humanities this way: "The

stories we discover give us a way to comprehend our

lives and shape our values. History enables us to

remember who we've been so we can make sense of 

the problems and the traditions we now share. It's 

essential that we understand the past to understand

where we are now." 

  • Do you agree? Why? 
  • Do you disagree? Why? 

Culture and Cultural Values

The term "culture" refers to the ideas, customs, and

behaviors of a society. It also refers to the

manifestations of those ideas, customs, and

behaviors in the arts. 

The term "cultural values" refers to the

predominating principles and standards of a society:

ideas about what is acceptable, important, and just.

Values are learned and differ across cultures

and time. They are represented in our language,

literature, music, architecture, films, paintings, 

sculptures, advertisements, etc. 

Consider how some of us choose pronouns in 

American English to be gender neutral and inclusive 

in our speaking and writing. This is an example of 

how language can represent cultural values. 

[More on gender neutral American English here.] 

Figure 1: L'AMOMALI

by JR - Artist

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