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Primary Educational Resource for Humanities, Foundations I Honors, Creative Drama, and Theater Workshop

Humanities Syllabus 2017-18                                 Instructor:  Dr. Patti Lee-Muratori     

Humanities ECE Course (0350-01):  Seminar in Writing Through Literature (1011)

Course Overview:

            This Humanities course will focus on careful reading and writing in a critical examination of literature through the varied lenses of history, philosophy, mathematics, natural and human sciences, music, theater, art, and/or film. Reading beyond the literary texts will be required to help students place and contextualize their understanding and to find some common vocabulary for our conversation. Examples of nonfiction reading will include (but not be limited to) sociolinguistic studies, treatises on the analysis of beauty throughout time, philosophy, TED Talks, and the background and development of intelligence testing.  Through a multidimensional approach, students will have the opportunity to identify, analyze and write about the 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.  Materials to be used include various genres: drama, short story, novel, poetry, essays 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, lectures, 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 examples of our writing as we help each other to find answers, no matter how tentative, to the profound topics we discuss and write about.

            Writing is of course an integral part of this course, as it was originally conceived to be a class to extend student study beyond AP Language, AP Literature, and AP examinations.  In relation to UConn's course catalogue, "Writing Through Literature" (English 1011) is to introduce students to the work of the university through cross-disciplinary reading and writing. Students engage in inquiry-driven cycles of reading, dialogue, drafting, and revision to produce thirty pages (about 9,000 words) of academic prose. Each seminar has reflective writing, drafting, conferencing, revising and information on literacy components. "Because writing is emergent, its qualities arising from a process of trial and reflection, much of the most significant work happens in revision, once students have taken the first steps of drafting a specific writing project" (ECE English Handbook). Feedback includes the comments an instructor makes on each draft but includes, too, the various ways that student work circulates beyond the instructor-student dyad. Class time can be directed toward reflection on the work that students have done as peer review, various forms of conferencing, the work shopping of specific examples, and so on. Students may also provide feedback as out-of-class assigned work.  As part of all writing assignments, the set of skills to recognize when information is needed and the ability locate, evaluate, and effectively use the needed information will be a necessary part of the class: "Information Literacy, an explicit component of UConn's General Education requirements, addresses making, not just receiving knowledge and includes direct instruction in some elements of library research" (ECE Handbook).  Because of the escalating complexity of our environment, individuals are faced with diverse, abundant information choices--in their academic studies, in the workplace, and in their personal lives.  Through working with our district coordinator, UConn's library and databases, and resource personnel, students will learn to make stronger choices about their sources.  Reflective writing, which includes "characterizing, reconsidering, or qualifying one's work," fosters awareness and metacognition about writing and is an ongoing activity. Reflective forms include: reaction notes, in-class responses on or presentations of projects, other kinds of metatexts, including placing of one's work within the context of others' work, introductory texts, on-line resources, and more.


Required Texts For Full Year:

            Auburn, David.  Proof.

            Coetzee, J.M.  Disgrace

            Etcoff, Nancy.  Survival of the Prettiest

            Harrison, Katherine. Exposure

            Joyce, James. Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man                       

            Mamet, David.  Oleanna                                                           

            Nabokov, Vladimir.   Lolita

            Russell, Bertrand. History of Western Philosophy (Selected Readings)

            Shakespeare, William. Richard III 

            Shakespeare, William.  Hamlet

            Stoppard, Tom.  Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.

Grading Criteria:  Required Course Components:  Your grade this year will be based on the following components for each “quarter,” although this class 

features “quarterless grades” (formerly known as “rolling grades”).  Humanities is a full year course:

 SummativeFormal assessments such as full process, student-generated, inquiry-based research papers and Creative Projects         70%

·      FormativePerformance assessments such as presentations, oral participation via Common Core State Standards, and group work   30% 

Component Assignments

           The four papers (one for each quarter) are to be approached as a complete writing process.  That means each student must participate in various brainstorming activities, submitting a rough draft, participating in peer editing activities on and in class, conferencing with the teacher, writing a reflection on proposed revisions, and submitting a final draft. Students who neglect to fulfill any part of the writing process will receive a failing grade on that particular assessment.  Due dates for each of these components are given on the syllabus that follows.  With essays and other writing assignments, we will follow the 30 pages of polished prose that the University of Connecticut First-Year Writing Program requires.  However, you should be aware that we will be writing a great deal more than 30 pages in order to get that 30 pages of polished prose.

            As Humanities is an interdisciplinary subject, the best way to incorporate your personal interests is through the quarterly Creative Project.  For each unit you will use class discussions, independent reading, and your own talent, skill sets, and thinking processes to demonstrate your new learning through a discipline of your choice.  Students are expected to pursue projects that will extend their learning, not simply to demonstrate something you already do well.  Intellectual risk-taking is always appreciated.  Please keep an hourly work log to demonstrate your investment of time.  This assignment is also accompanied by a written reflection with open-ended prompts (on class web site under Creative Projects) to help guide you in self-assessment of your learning.  Art, film making and film review, creative writing, poetry, dance choreography and performance, photography, acting, music composition, analysis and performance, scientific experiments/demonstration, advertising analyses, and architecture are only some of the ways students have successfully demonstrated mastery of curriculum objectives and graduation requirements.

            In-class writing assignments and “homework”/preparation for class assignments consist of note-taking, prompts for short writing exercises (1-2 pages) and journaling designed to free write and brainstorm and to organize and develop your thinking for the reading and discussions as we work toward the longer papers.  The Final Exam is a student choice presentation of the whole year's learning and a year-end written reflection.  Grading Scale:  Grades will be assigned to the following scale via UConn ECE rules.

 A+ =    98-100                                    C+=      77-79                           F=        50-59  

A=       93-97                                       C=        73-76                           F-=       Below 50

A-=      90-92                                       C-=      70-72                           

B+=      87-89                                       D+=     67-69                                                  

B=        83-86                                       D=       63-66

B-=      80-82                                       D-=      60-62


Policies and Procedures:

 Participation:  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.  For more specifics on how grades in class participation are assessed, please see the class web site at under Class Participation.


Late Work:  I do not accept late work. As college professors rarely accept late work, and this is a class modeled on college expectations, it only makes sense to introduce you to some of the challenges you will be facing next year.  Time management is vital to your success in life.  Learn how to work with a yearlong syllabus and plan ahead to ensure your academic success. Please contact me by email, make an appointment, or talk to me after school if you are having trouble with an assignment.

 Plagiarism:  All written assignments are submitted to the teacher via  All grading (both rough and final drafts) is also done on under the GradeMark feature.  As you all know, is also a plagiarism prevention site that will automatically run all your work through an originality check.  Students who plagiarize will receive failing grades on their work as well as being required to attend a meeting with your parents and an administrator.  Many colleges now have a zero tolerance plagiarism policy.  That being said, it is also true that academic writers are always engaged in the words of others.  Proper citations and MLA format will ensure your ability to engage in this dialogue without fear.


Disclaimer: The instructor reserves the right to make changes in the syllabus when necessary in order to meet learning objectives and to cover emergency schedule changes due to weather or other acts beyond human control.  Students will be notified of these changes in class as well as through e-blast features.  Students are responsible for all material covered in class and for all classroom announcements.

Humanities Syllabus Semester One

 Unit #1  “What is Power?” Essential Questions:

            1.  Who has power over your life? What physical, social, psychological, socioeconomic, or historical influences set up power polarities between/among people?

            2.  How much power can you give to the individual while still maintaining a cohesive collective? 

            3.  What is the role of language in creating and reinforcing social distinctions such as class, ethnicity, age, and gender?  Is there a hierarchy established through language?  Is there a "Power Language?"

Literature For Unit:     

                         J.M. Coetzee, Disgrace

                        David Mamet, Oleanna

                        Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita (Part One)

                        William Shakespeare, Richard III  (Summer Work)

                        Sociolinguistic Studies as appropriate

                        Medieval and Renaissance Beauty Standard Treatises

Date:                                                   Topics, Activities, and Homework:


8/30-9/1                                               Orientation to HumanitiesSummer Reading Due                                                             

                                                             Class overview:                                                                         


                                                                        Website/Syllabus Discussion

                                                                        Class discussion of Power Hierarchies


9/5-8                                                    Richard III  “Controversial Dinner Party”


                                                            Richard  III  Group Dynamic Activity

                                                            Risk-taking Discussion in Academia


9/11-15                                                Oleanna reading due: DIRT (“Did I Read This?” Quiz                                                             

                                                            Power Language: Lecture on Sociolinguistics)

                                                            Power Language Usage in Life

                                                           *Enrichment:  Sociolinguistics definitive.ppt

9/18-29                                                Oleanna Viewing and in class response writing   

                                                            Thinking into Writing: "Reading Through the Text"


10/2-5                                                  Disgrace Reading Due with Discussion: DIRT

                                                             Disgrace Discussion and Allegory Presentations

                                                    * Enrichment:  History of South Africa


10/10-13                                              Power Paper Rough Draft Due:  Humanities Power Prompt 2017-18 NEW.docx

                                                            Paper Drafting/Discussions on Writing Challenges


10/16-20                                              Writing Discussions and Feedback

                                                             Peer Revision Due (on-line) 10/18/16


10/23-27                                              Lolita Part One Reading Due and Discussion (DIRT)

                                                             Nabokov Critical Analysis and Background History


10/24-28                                               Final Power Paper Due 10/26/16 on


11/6-10                                                 Creative Projects Due

                                                             Creative Project Dimensions of a Reflection


Creative Projects Presentations Continue until Quarter 1 ends for “Snap Shot” Grade

Recap:  Power Paper Writing Process (on (Mark them on your calendar!)


                                    Rough Draft Due:  10/13/17

                                    Peer Revision Due by 10/18/17

                                    Final Paper Due:  10/30/17


Unit #2: “What is Beauty?” Essential Questions:


            1.  Is beauty cultural/ personal/universal?

            2.  Does beauty have power?  If so, what kind?  From where is this power derived?  

            3.  In a progressively more industrial and technological world, is beauty necessary/relevant? 


Literature:      Nancy Etcoff, The Survival of the Prettiest 

                       Katherine Harrison, Exposure 

                       Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita (Part Two)

                       Bertrand Russell Readings:  Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus

                      Mini-lectures on The Ladder of Love, Aesthetic Theory, and The Golden Ratio


Date:                                                               Topics, Activities, and Homework: 


11/13-17                                              Lolita Motif Presentations Assigned:  Due Date 11/28/17

                                                            Malena Viewing/Discussion

                                                            Beauty and the Gaze Discussion:  Aesthetic Theory


11/28                                    Lolita Motif Presentations Due   

    Divergent Thinking and Creativity


12/4-8                                                  Survival of the Prettiest Readings Due:  Student

                                                             Choice Selections from Etcoff

                                                             Classical Definitions of Beauty: Pythagoras, Plato,

                                                                  and  Plotinus (Russell excerpts)      


12/11-1                                                Beauty Prompt 2017-18.docx 12/15/17

11/18-22/17                                              Writing Activities

Peer Editing Due 12/22/17

Beauty in mathematics: “The Golden Ratio


1/2/16                                                    Final Drafts Beauty Paper Due  on                 


          Recap:  Beauty Writing Process (on  Write These in  your Calendars:


                         Rough Draft Beauty 12/15/17


                        Peer Editing Due 12/22/17                                                                           


                        Final Draft Submission 1/2/18


Date:                                                   Topics, Activities, and Homework: 


1/2-5/18                                               Completion of Divergent Thinking Activity

     Order of Creative Projects for Beauty Unit


1/8-12/18                                             Reflections Due 1/8/18

                                                            Creative Project Dimensions of a Reflection

1/15-19/18                                           Catch-up Days 


Tentative End of First Semester (Although technically there are no longer “quarters”) "Grade Snapshot" for Colleges goes in here upon official school calendar update.


Lose your syllabus?  Download On-line Here.

Semester 1 Interdisciplinary Suggestions:

"What is Power?" Suggested Interdisciplinary Connections/Supplementary Research


Hannah Arendt:  "Total Domination"

Aristotle:  Politics

Mohandus K. Gandhi:  Non Violent Resistance Collected Writings

Adolf Hitler:  Mein Kampf 

Thomas Jefferson

Martin Luther King Jr.


Vladimir Ilyich Lenin 

Niccolo Machiavelli

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels 

John Stuart Mill "On Liberty" 

Friedrich Nietzsche 

Plato:  The Republic

Jean-Jacques Rousseau:  "The Origin of Civil Society"

Elizabeth Cady Stanton:  "Declaration of Sentiments" 

Henry David Thoreau:  "Civil Disobedience" 


Links for Contemporary South African History via Film.  See Here

VietnamKoreaIraq wars overview


Nazi Germany

Contemporary Economics: 

Global Economy mini-unit on employment

Non fiction: 

Thomas Friedman:  The World is Flat (Pod Cast)

      Human Sciences:

Gender Role Expectations     


Socio-linguistics  (Genderspeak and Harassment issues)


"What is Beauty?" Suggested Interdisciplinary Connections:


Changing Face of Beauty through Time (in America)

Changing Face of Beauty through Time through 600 years of ART:


Dove Soap Model: 

Anatomical formation of the face :


Beauty in the Workplace:

Beauty Advantage Newsweek Montage:     

Historical Definitions of Beauty:  

Aristotle/Plato (Classical) definitions





Pythagoras (order and comprehensibility=mathematical laws)  

Fibonacci Series



The Sophists

Medieval harmony (proportion) and color

Also, moral significance:  beauty and ugliness in juxtaposition


     Human Sciences: 

Research regarding beauty: cultural, psychological, biological and personal                               

Non fiction:  

Nancy Etcoff, The Survival of the Prettiest           

     Contemporary Culture: 

Beauty in the Media

Hollywood (Reality Television):  Toddlers and Tiaras, America's Top Model

Beauty of Consumption:  Fashion and Advertising Industries


Baroque:  Caravaggio, Georges de la Tour

Beauty in Monsters:  Giovanni da Modena, Hieronymus Bosch, Paolo Uccello 

The Sublime: Immanuel Kant and Edmund Burke

Realism:  Homer, Eakins, Whistler, Sargent

Impressionism:  Degas, Renoir, Monet, Manet

Post Impressionism:  Seurat, Toulouse-Lautrec, Cezanne, Gauguin, Van Gogh 

Surrealism:  Dada, Joan Miro, Max Ernst, Dali

Cubism:  Braque, Picasso, Juan Gris



Art Deco

Antoni Gaudi Cornet 

Frank Lloyd Wright 


Katherine Harrison, Exposure

William Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis 

   Photography:  Francesco Scavullo, Richard Avedon, Annie Leibovitz, and Diane Arbus

     Film:  Malena (Guisseppe Tornatore)