Cohort Course Descriptions

Master of Arts in the Humanities Online

The Self and Technology

Cohort Schedule | Course Descriptions | Alternate Course of Study

Cohort Course Descriptions

HUX 500: Foundations of the Humanities

This course provides an overview of the diverse foundations of humanistic inquiry. It explores core ideas in the humanities, tracing the historical origins of humanistic ideals and examining how various modes of thought shape cultural ideas about human life that vary across time, place and history. Students will also learn how scholars in the disciplines of the humanities approach research and writing in their respective fields, and how they can and do draw upon the work of other disciplines in their study. In Spring 2017 the course is organized around the cohort theme of “The Self and Technology,” and will introduce fundamental ideas about the relationship between human beings and technology—in particular the way technology transforms the way we relate to the world, other people, and ourselves.

HUX 513: Literature and Human Experience

This course will explore the theme of “The Self and Technology” by reading literary works from the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries. We will investigate how distinct technologies impact the conception of human identity as they emerge in their respective historical and cultural moments. Beginning in the Victorian period, where technologies of print and writing impacted the way people came to understand themselves through literature, we will move forward into the twentieth-century exploration of emerging technologies through to the digital age of the twenty-first century. In addition to practicing the skills of critical literary interpretation when reading these works and producing written analytic arguments, this course also asks students to practice in-depth literary study by engaging with some of the major methodologies of the discipline.

HUX 512: History and the Human Endeavor

Students in this course will discover how historians use a wide variety of documents from past and present to help them understand how and why humans think, live, and create as they do. They will learn how to analyze these documents and how to contextualize them in a balanced way. In the process they will see why historical research is important, how to find and use sources to construct a research paper and how to say something useful about the human experience. In Spring 2017 the course will explore ways in which technology reflects values in the societies which created it, while also impacting those societies in frequently unexpected ways. Students will analyze readings in primary and secondary historical sources, from the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries, and learn how to do research on this theme. In assignments they will consider questions like: Are developments such as social media a reflection of earlier trends, or do they represent new directions in society? What are the implications of the ways in which technology has helped make the world a “global village”?

HUX 514: Music and Hearing Humanity

Electronic means of creating, recording, and listening to music present new ways of understanding ourselves. They also challenge ideas about culture and authenticity. Music and Hearing Humanity for Cohort 2.01 addresses issues of “The Self and Technology,” while guiding students through research methods and relevant scholarship.

HUX 515: Visual Expression and Humanity

Students in this course will investigate past and present approaches to one of the most fundamental of human activities, visual expression. Analyzing visual culture with emphasis upon modern and contemporary models, students will apply different methods in thesis and research-driven writing projects focused upon a range of topics. The cohort theme of Self and Technology will be examined through analysis of the ways artists from 1960-1980 used new materials, industrial manufacture and experiments in video and sound as they explored relationships among human experience, automation and notions of progress in the 20th century.

HUX 516: Philosophy and Human Being

This course engages with a variety of philosophical texts, both past and present, to explore fundamental questions on what it means to be human. Such topics include the question of the good life, human nature, the relation between mind and body, and the nature of personal identity. Students will develop skills in critical reading, argumentation, and research methods in writing projects focused upon a range of topics, including the cohort theme of “The Self and Technology.” Through key texts in the philosophy of technology, we will examine basic issues in the origins, essence, and ambitions of modern technology, as well as its social, ethical, and metaphysical implications.

HUX 586: Seminar in Philosophy

This course proceeds from the background established in HUX 516, focusing in closer detail on the philosophical aspects of the cohort theme. Students will confront fundamental philosophical issues such as: the nature of human existence, the possibilities and limits of knowledge, social, political, and ethical responsibility, and human flourishing. By understanding and evaluating a range of philosophical positions and arguments, students will work toward coherent philosophical positions of their own. In keeping with the cohort theme of “The Self and Technology,” we will explore the ancient concept of philosophy as the technē of living, as well as various technologies of the self, i.e., techniques by which human beings seek to form and transform themselves.

HUX 582: Seminar in History

This course will build students’ understanding of the field of history and further develop their historical skills in relation to the current theme. Through secondary sources, students will examine the changing notions of the political and social pasts of humans. Students will use primary sources to explore the ways in which people were shaped by events from the past, and the ways in which those groups and individuals shaped the future. In keeping with the cohort theme of “The Self and Technology,” we will explore the impact of changes in technology on Americans in the Gilded Age and Progressive Eras (1870s-1920s). We will explore topics such as the rise of scientific management and its impact on factory workers, the impact of mass production of the automobile upon the lives of individuals and communities, and the role technological advances played in the development of law enforcement and its impact on individuals.

HUX 520: Symposium

In this course students will prepare for the CSUDH Arts and Humanities Symposium: “The Self and Technology,” scheduled for April 12-13, 2018. Students will read publications of the conference speakers, and other readings related to “The Self and Technology.” As part of the course, students come to campus in April 2018 to take part in the symposium.

During the symposium, students will also reflect with their instructor (the current Cohort Director) on the theme “The Self and Technology” and on the presentations made. After the symposium they will complete assignments related to what happened at the event. For students in the last term of their program (or second to the last when necessary), participation in the symposium forms part of their capstone experience (see HUX 596).

HUX 596: Capstone Experience: Paper/Project and Presentation

The Paper/Project and Presentation capstone experience works in conjunction with the CSUDH Arts and Humanities Symposium, and HUX 520: Symposium course. As part of HUX 596, Cohort 2.01 students present research, grounded in one of the Humanities disciplines that they have studied, during the symposium on the theme of “The Self and Technology. ”

Alternate Course of Study

Students may request permission from the Cohort Director to develop and present a creative activity in place of a paper. After the symposium they will submit for evaluation the research paper upon which their presentation was based. This paper is significantly shorter than a standard M.A. thesis. HUX 596 and 520 should be taken concurrently, in the last term before graduation, whenever possible.

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