This Humanities course will focus on the careful reading and critical examination of literature through the varied lenses of history, philosophy, mathematics, natural and human sciences, music, theater, art, and film. Through this multidimensional approach, students will have the opportunity to identify and analyze societal constructs that shape and define the individual in today’s world. The class centers on essential questions for four key units: Power, Beauty, Truth, and Knowledge. Through close reading of selected texts, students will deepen their understanding of the ways writers use language to create meaning, pleasure, and intertextuality. Discussions will examine a work’s structure, style, and themes as well as elements such as the use of figurative language, imagery, symbolism, syntax, and tone. For this reason previous experience in AP Language and/or AP Literature is recommended. Materials to be used include various genres including drama, short story, novel, poetry, essays, letters, and journals where appropriate to teaching objectives and student interest. We will organize most daily activities as a seminar with large and small group discussions, mini-lectures, Socratic Seminars, debates, student presentations, projects, and dramatizations. We are here as fellow learners and questioners, and we hope to learn a great deal from each other. This is only possible if we are willing to take some risks to trust and respect each member of the group. The success of this class depends significantly on sharing questions, insights, observations, and information as we help each other to find answers, no matter how tentative, to the profound topics we discuss.
Writing is an integral part of this course, as it was originally conceived to be a class to extend student study beyond AP Language and AP Literature and the AP examinations. In relation to U.Conn’s course catalogue, “Writing Through Literature” (English 1011) is “The instruction of academic writing through literary reading. Assignments emphasize interpretation, analysis, argumentation, and reflection. Revision of formal assignments and the instruction on grammar, mechanics, and style are required in the course.” Therefore, writing assignments will focus on the critical analysis of literature in a historical, psychoanalytic, or philosophical context and will include student-generated, research-based papers that connect literature to other disciplines of the students’ choice. The goal of all writing assignments will be to increase students’ ability to explain clearly, cogently, confidently, and elegantly what they understand about the units' essential questions and the literature that provides these insights. Required writing assignments include: brainstorming prompts, timed essays, longer at-home assignments on mandatory and independent reading, metacognitive discussions, and an end of the year reflection.
Syllabus Semester One HERE.
Syllabus Semester Two HERE.
Tests, PBLA’s, Timed Writings, and Papers: 70%
Homework, Quizzes, and Participation*: 30%
Grades will be “quarterless,” as all students reach mastery of different skills at different speeds. As the year progresses, summative assessments are more heavily weighted to allow a transparent and realistic view of student mastery of learning. Learning assessed through a yearlong continuum also more accurately reflects college assessment practices.
*Participation is vital to this class because of its seminar organization. Your registration for this class was predicated on your ability to work independently, to read at a high level of comprehension, to engage in analytical, creative, and original thinking and to discuss, question, and “play” with many ideas and theories simultaneously. You will be teaching each other much of the time after doing individual reading and research. It is expected that you will be able to ask significant questions from your reading, research, and your own thinking, and to explore ideas we raise in each unit with an open mind. To do all this, you need to speak often and with substantiation and specificity. Clearly, participation is a necessity.
As this course is considered a college level course, all assigned work is expected at the time it is due. In the event of an excused absence on a particular due date, The UConn ECE Handbook will be followed. Please refer to the appropriate section of the handbook for specifics.
Expectations of an active learner:
An active learner:
attends every class and on time
comes prepared daily with all required materials
takes class notes
participates in class discussions
seeks extra help when necessary
uses the ten-minute break appropriately to take care of personal needs
adheres to the make-up policy
Humanities Literature Introduction
Humanities Independent Reading Critiques and Rubric
Humanities Creative Projects and Rubric
Dialectical Journal Instructions and Rubric
Socratic Seminar Rules