Humanities 2223
The Humanities in Modern Western Culture


Richard A. Voeltz, Ph.D.
Professor of History and Humanities
Department of History and Humanities)




West Hall 216

Office Phone:

(580) 581-2493, or History Department (580) 581-2499

Office Hours:

MWF 10:00 -11:00 am, 2:00-4:00 pm; TTH 10:00-11:00 am; and by appointment


Matthews and Platt, The Western Humanities Volume II: The Renaissance to the Present, 3rd Edition.
Wildhaber, Engelberg, and Hays, Readings in the Western Humanities, Volume II, 3rd Edition.
Hodges, Campbell, and Keene, Mayfield's Quick View Guide to the Internet.

Course Objectives

This course is a study of European culture from the Renaissance to the end of the Twentieth Century with emphasis on the following themes:

  1. Theories of historical causation and development.
  2. The relationship between the individual and the community.
  3. The changing importance of wealth and property.
  4. The good life-or-the meaning and purpose of life.
  5. Technology, science, and the city: Promise or threat?
  6. Conceptions of human nature.
  7. Progress: What kind and toward what?
  8. Changing views of the physical cosmos.
  9. Changing lives of men and women: The creation of an authentic self?
  10. The Arts: In what ways do they express the values of a culture, and to what extent do they address questions about the human condition that transcend any single culture?
  11. Modernism
  12. The dilemma of Postmodernism

In addition, this course is primarily organized to provide you with a broader exposure to the humanities than is the case in conventional humanities classes. The typical humanities course is concerned with just one branch of the humanities. But this course aims at an integrated presentation of the humanities as a whole, particularly history, philosophy, religion, visual art, architecture, literature, and music. In this way, it is hoped the humanities will be rendered more accessible, and the study of them more enriching, to students whose exposure to the humanities might otherwise be relatively limited. While containing some comparative aspects this course limits itself, in the main, to Western culture without denying the interest and importance of other cultures.

The Course is also intended to help you develop your abilities to read, speak, write, and listen effectively and critically.

For the sake of achieving these goals, you are expected to:

  1. Read the assigned texts.
  2. Regularly attend class and participate in class discussion.
  3. Write four essay exams (tentative dates are indicated on the accompanying page). Each exam will be worth 25% of your final grade.

Attendance Policy

You are not required to come to class. But if you do not attend class, you cannot participate in class discussion, and important material will only be presented in class. Your reward for regular class attendance will be reflected in improved exam performance.

See the Tentative Reading and Exam Schedule.

Classroom Etiquette

Please do not hold conversations with classmates whenever the professor or another student is speaking. Also refrain from writing and passing notes or participating in other distractive behavior. Your undivided attention in class is a must. An atmosphere of mutual respect is in order. The professor reserves the right to request that you leave if you engage in disrespectful conduct.

Grading Policy

Final grades will be determined by the average of the letter grade that you receive on your exams. The final is not comprehensive. There will be a take-home essay component to the final exam. Normal procedure will be to have no make-up exams. However, if a student misses one of the first three exams a substitute assignment will be given. ABSOLUTELY NO MAKE-UP FOR FINAL. Students must complete the official administrative process to withdraw from this class. Normally I do not provide for any extra-credit work.

Special Note

If you believe you have a disability and think you need special accommodations, please advise me immediately. I will work with you and the University's office of Multicultural and Disabled Services to provide you with reasonable accommodations.

Because of legal considerations children are not allowed in the classroom at any time.

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This page is maintained by Richard Voeltz, Ph.D. Revised Spring 1999.
Copyright © 1999, Cameron University.