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General Education: Studies in Arts & Humanities

Additional Resources

An essential part of the General Education Program, the 200-level AIID 201 Studies in Arts & Humanities course addresses the objectives of the General Education Program by providing an opportunity for students to engage with enduring questions and issues in an interdisciplinary fashion by studying texts and other sources drawn from a range of different times and cultures.

Course Description

The Studies in Arts & Humanities is an interdisciplinary liberal arts course.  It provides students with an introduction to key texts, concepts, and artifacts from different fields in the humanities including, for instance, history, literature, philosophy, music, and art history. Each section of the course covers a variety of different cultures and at least four different periods in human history, which can range from the ancient world to contemporary works. The course is designated Writing Intensive and will require students to complete at least two different types of writing assignments. This is a core General Education course, required of all students

Class Schedule

AIID 201 - STUDIES IN THE ARTS & HUMANITIES
Ramapo

SIAH Section Descriptions, Spring 2022

Note:  We will do our best to maintain this list of instructors, times, and topics.  However, unexpected schedule changes may happen due to enrollment and other issues.

Ramapo

Section 01: Professor Paula Straile-Costa

Tuesday / Friday, 9:55 – 11:35
“A Practical Study in Awakenings”

We will explore themes related to human “awakening” – spiritual, social, and sexual awakenings, for instance – to guide our discussions. Great works of literature and art are full of epiphanies, initiations, symbolic death and rebirth, seeking and enlightenment, journeys, teachers and guides, sleep, dream, waking, and altered states of consciousness. The act of reading (or experiencing any form of art) and writing (like other forms of self-expression) can be reflective, even transformative and revelatory in themselves. The concept of awakening encourages us to ponder reality, our place in the world, and to reach for understanding and meaning in our finite existence. As life in general can be considered a continual process of change and awakening, of gaining experience and wisdom, I encourage you to take this opportunity to expand yourself in every way you can imagine! Please be prepared to think about this phenomenon in your own life and share your thoughts and experiences over the course of this semester. We will experiment with some forms of meditation and contemplation intended to give you access to your inner wisdom and insight. As we approach diverse cultures, historical periods, experiences, world-views and one another, you will be asked to examine the ethics of how we represent ourselves and others, indeed, how we construct “self” and “otherness”.

Ramapo

Section 02: Professor Ira Spar

Tuesday / Friday, 1:45-3:25
“Questioning Authority”

From the Garden of Eden story in the Bible to the thoughts of early Greek philosophers and from a story of love and murder set in 16th century Istanbul to the writings of a 19th century Hasidic master.

Ramapo

Section 04: Professor Meredith Davis

Tuesday / Friday, 3:40-5:20
“Places that Count”

In this class, we’ll examine works of art, architecture, literature and film where the “place” is the main character. More than just location, a “place” is a location made meaningful through human use and human relations.  We’ll study examples of architecture from Ancient Greece and Mesoamerica, and a giant Buddhist temple for the mind, along with works of film and visual art from various parts of the world where the focus is location, location, location.  Along with conventional writing, assignments will include mapmaking, photo essays, and audio projects. All voices welcome!

Ramapo

Section 05: Professor Johanna Almiron

Tuesday / Friday, 8:00 – 9:40
“We Carry It Within Us:  A Study in Visual Culture”

Visual culture is an interdisciplinary field that encompasses all that we see on a quotidian level and how those images and ideas are processed and produced through social and political forces. From Tik Tok to television, art history to public protest, visual culture is central to our everyday society. In addition to engaging the visual world, this course prepares students as critical thinkers through original research, reading, and writing methods. The curriculum is multi-media, including documentary and feature films, popular television, non-fiction essays, fiction, and visual art.

Ramapo

Section 07: Professor Maria Molinari

Monday, 6:05 – 9:35
“How to Be Human”

Problems, stress, competition: the daily grind can rob us of our enjoyment of life. So, how do we find meaning and purpose? This class spotlights the uniquely human experiences of love, hate, anger, joy, revenge, passion, fear, and transcendence as they are depicted in key works of global literature spanning from the ancient world to the present day. How do we define humanity today in our technologically drenched society? How have people in the past understood their place in the world? What human qualities really matter to our survival and happiness? We look to fiction, nonfiction, drama, and mythology to better understand ourselves as richly complex individuals.

Ramapo

Section 08: Professor Ira Spar

Tuesday/ Friday, 3:40 – 5:20
“Questioning Authority”

From the Garden of Eden story in the Bible to the thoughts of early Greek philosophers and from a story of love and murder set in 16th century Istanbul to the writings of a 19th century Hasidic master.

Ramapo

Section 10: Professor Vassiliki Flenga

Monday/ Thursday, 2:15 – 3:55
“Sex and the City” (Flenga version)

In this section of Studies in the Arts and Humanities we will examine philosophical and literary texts that reflect on the political and on morality. In Aristophanes’ Assemblywomen, we will view the takeover of the city by women and the creation of a community based on the abolition of property and propriety; In The Republic by Plato, we will follow Socrates as he theorizes the ideal city. Molière’s Tartuffe will provide us with a critique of religious hypocrisy while On the Genealogy of Morality by Friedrich Nietzsche will offer us a critique of moral values. In the second part of the course, texts by Baudelaire, Colette, Ginsberg and Condé stage the refusal to belong of those that society has marginalized because of their gender, race or sexuality.

Ramapo

Section 12: Professor Ziva Piltch

Wednesday, 1:00 – 4:30
“The Hero’s Journey”

Our theme for this section will be the hero and hero’s journey and the ways in which the hero reflects the values of her/his culture in literature and in art. The term “hero” is both male and female and includes antiheroes as well.  Readings that emphasize this include The Epic of Gilgamesh, Oedipus or Medea, Othello, Candide, The Doll’s House, and The Metamorphosis. Through writing and discussion we will examine our own values as well.

Ramapo

Section 13: Professor John Peffer

Thursday, 6:05- 9:35
“Creativity and Destruction”

In this class we explore how creativity is linked to destruction. Specific social and cultural examples will be considered, including early Christianity (Byzantium/Roman times), historic Islamic cultures, Nazis and modern art, women’s rights, regime change in Soviet Russia, and Civil War monuments in the USA today. We examine ideas about “iconoclasm,” the Greek word for “image smashing,” and discuss the relation of symbolism to destruction in modern cases of propaganda, vandalism, and censorship. Our goal is to grasp how acts of obliteration have been integral to the creation of new symbols, new concepts, and new ideologies in all realms of human understanding.

Ramapo

Section 14: Professor Susan Bloir

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, 8:30 – 9:40
“The Potency of Power – Its Uses and Abuses”

Does the presence of power itself propel human character? In this section, we will look at some compelling examples and then decide.

We have seen the presence of power and the influence it wields in our daily lives most recently, but power has had a profound presence in most human decisions both personally and publicly, politically and even pannationally. Taking a good look at how power is wielded in the most glorious of ancient epics and the most recent of some epic films, (not to mention some powerpoints, and even a few Youtube videos), from Chaucer and Shakespeare to Ancient Greece to New South Africa, can help reveal some of the most agonizing and sublime ramifications of this most human capability.

Ramapo

 Section 15: Professor Hassan Nejad

Monday/ Thursday, 4:10 – 5:50
“Peoples and Cultures of the Middle East, North Africa, and the Caucasus”

This section explores human experience in three non-western regions of the world: North Africa, the Middle East, and the Caucasus.  Through readings, documentaries, research, and lectures, we will learn about major civilizations, religions, cultures, social and political institutions, economic systems, gender relations, and literary and artistic genres across the three regions. We will make this an exciting and rewarding learning experience.

Ramapo

Section 16: Professor Riki Traum Avidan

Monday/ Thursday 8:00 – 9:40
“Kinship, Intimacy, and Power”

This course will explore kinship, intimacy, and power and the ways these categories structure our social worlds and personal experience. We pay special attention to the concept of family: family that often provides security and stability, is also the primary seat of power. We examine family through its relation to ambivalent feelings and categories like power, authority, and violence. We also think about the ways political systems affect, shape, and form intimacy and love, and in this context also gender and race.

Assuming that race, gender, and intimacy are not ‘natural’ categories we will look at the work that goes into making them appear so, and consider the ways in which their meanings and efficacy change over time. The course will examine closely works by Anton Chekhov, Virginia Woolf, Emma Goldman, Tillie Olsen, Franz Fanon, June Jordan, Audre Lorde, and more. We will discuss Antigone by Sophocles and examine refugee narratives and identity in Ru by the Vietnamese born Canadian writer, Kim Thúy. Through these works we will explore the relationships that constitute categories such as family, violence, gender, and slavery.

Ramapo

Section 17: Professor Riki Traum Avidan

Monday/ Wednesday/ Thursday, 9:55 – 11:05
“Kinship, Intimacy, and Power”

This course will explore kinship, intimacy, and power and the ways these categories structure our social worlds and personal experience. We pay special attention to the concept of family: family that often provides security and stability, is also the primary seat of power. We examine family through its relation to ambivalent feelings and categories like power, authority, and violence. We also think about the ways political systems affect, shape, and form intimacy and love, and in this context also gender and race.

Assuming that race, gender, and intimacy are not ‘natural’ categories we will look at the work that goes into making them appear so, and consider the ways in which their meanings and efficacy change over time. The course will examine closely works by Anton Chekhov, Virginia Woolf, Emma Goldman, Tillie Olsen, Franz Fanon, June Jordan, Audre Lorde, and more. We will discuss Antigone by Sophocles and examine refugee narratives and identity in Ru by the Vietnamese born Canadian writer, Kim Thúy. Through these works we will explore the relationships that constitute categories such as family, violence, gender, and slavery.

Ramapo

Section 19: Professor Fabien Rivière

Monday/ Thursday 6:05 – 7:45
“Self, Identity, Culture”

Our section of the course will particularly focus on self, identity, and culture. This course offers an opportunity for students (1) to chronologically explore the rich legacies of culture in relation to themselves, their own identity, and heritage as they navigate their college career, and (2) to expand their view of themselves, and the times they live in. By studying, experiencing, and reflecting upon these cultural legacies, this course will help understand our place in today’s world.

Ramapo

Section 20: Professor Nicholas Samaras

Tuesday, 6:05 – 9:35
“Ancient and Thoroughly Modern Humanities”

This section encompasses both the established ancient world and our very contemporary world with its cutting-edge concerns. I strive always to address our modern inheritance and how humanity fits in world situations, real-time, how we may interact with each other, how we may get jobs and live better lives. I love textbooks that are relevant to us now, that illuminate not just where we came from but how to deal with where we are at now, how we may harmonize living with our multiplicity and issues. I emphasize dialogue in our class sessions, not a lecturing monologue. We depend on class interaction, through readings, critical analysis, group discussion, oral and written summaries, and a variety of activities and presentations. Above all, I focus on relevant material that affects us today. If this resonates with you, sign up for this section with me.

Ramapo
  

Section 21: Professor Louis Nicolosi

Tuesday, 6:05 – 9:35 “Studying the Supernatural/ Gothic”

This section will pursue the theme of the supernatural/horror & gothic/religion in texts. We consider the role of fear and the unknown as a rubric for containing the “supernatural” as an idea, set against the knowable and methods (religion, science, storytelling) of knowledge in telling the human story.

Ramapo

Section 22: Professor Paula Carabell

Wednesday, 9:00 – 12:30
“Mimesis, Memory and Identity”

This section will focus on the ideas of imitation, reality, illusion and the relationship of memory to identity. If we lose our memories, are we still the same person as before? Why do certain eras embrace a concept while others reject it? In order to explore these ideas, we will be reading texts from antiquity to the present that address such ideas as the distinction between reality and illusion, truth and falsehood, memory, identity and seeing how these ideas are expressed in contemporary film. Some of the authors that we will be considering on the notion of self-hood and memory are Locke, Descartes, Freud, Winnicott and Lacan. We will also be examining writers from antiquity to the Renaissance who were interested in exploring the role of art within the context of the social and theological ideas of their times. Some of the films that address these ideas in contemporary life include “Memento,” “The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” “Three Women,” and “Being John Malkovich.”

Ramapo

Section 23: Professor Monika Giacoppe

Wednesday, 6:05 – 9:35
“Stories and Storytelling”

Stories are everywhere:  in movies, advertisements, journalism – and, of course, fiction – and that’s just a starting point.  Why do humans occupy so much of their time creating and consuming stories?  How do they benefit us, and how can we learn to become better students of story, and better storytellers?  In this class, we will read stories old and new, including a short novel from a Vietnamese writer from Quebec, Kim Thúy, and a family memoir by Haitian American writer Edwidge Danticat.  Students will also write a story of their own, shaping it first in words, then reimagining it as a digital story, using video, sound, and a script.

Ramapo

Section 24: Professor Tae Kwak

Tuesday / Friday, 11:50 – 1:40
“Reason, Empiricism, and Ethics”

This course is an introduction to the Liberal Arts and Humanities from it classical origins to its modern revival and globalization.  Through historical and literary sources, we will explore how reason, empiricism, and ethics apply to the contemporary world.