Honors Western Civilization

History and the Arts, Part II

Course Description and Schedule

HIST 122 Section 035 (Honors), Spring 2000
12:30-1:45 TTh, OM 213

Mr Lehmann
Office Hours: 11-12 TTh
East Hall 210, 677-5573, clehmann@usd.edu, [http://www.usd.edu/~clehmann]

This, the second of a two-part survey of Western Civilization, introduces the student to some of the leading figures, ideas, and events of the modern world. It also exposes the student to the concerns and methods of historical inquiry through the example of lectures, by analyzing and discussing selected texts, and by writing papers and preparing a group multimedia project.  The theme of this year's course, history and the arts, prompts reflection upon the ways in which artistic expression emerges out of historical contexts. Because art represents one of the ways human beings confront and explain their experience, our understanding of a work of art depends partly on an understanding of its historical context, and we can use artistic works as evidence for the historical reconstruction of the past.

The instructor expects students to read all assignments, attend every lecture, take notes, participate in discussions, and secure all handouts, which contain chronological and geographical background to the lectures and readings. In addition, each student writes three papers and attends special discussion sessions three times during the semester. Material from the lectures may be incorporated into the papers and observations during discussions, but the main purpose of the papers is for the students to treat in detail certain themes that appear only generally in the lectures, all grouped around the theme of the individual in the community. Students will participate in group projects that treat the theme; these projects will appear on the Honors Web site as part of the ongoing project The House the West Built.  Finally, students must attend a number of arts-related events, including the performances of Opera Omaha's Samson and Delilah (6 Feb) and Tosca (2 April), and several on campus, as scheduled and announced.  These last include "Bach and the Millennium," the Brown Bag conert at the Shrine to Music, 12:05 Fri 14 Jan, and On the Verge, the final production for the year by USD Theater, 26-30 April.


Evaluation is by written work and participation in class and discussion sessions. Students who expect to miss more than three meetings should meet with the instructor in the first week. The instructor may remove from enrollment or reduce the final grade of students who cannot meet these requirements.

Each student writes three papers and participates with three or four other students in a multimedia project (described below), submits regular summaries of course content by part, and creates and maintains a web page. The papers count 50 points each, divided into 30 points for content, 10 points for style, and 10 points for discussion. The multimedia project counts 50 points (each member of a group receives an equal number of these points). The summaries count an additional 50 points. From a total of 250 points possible,

250-225 = A
225-200 = B
200-175 = C
175-150 = D

Some of you may wish to consult Gerald W Schlabach's Top 10 Ways to Lower Your Grade in Humanities.

Required Books

Many of these items are on reserve at I D Weeks

Recommended Book


At the end of each part of the course (parts 7-11), students will submit short answers based on lectures and readings in the textbook to the respective study questions. Each summary should have about one generous paragraph to answer each question. E-mail these to the instructor by the first Friday following the completion of each part of the course, unless otherwise announced.

christine.GIF (56007 bytes)Web Pages

Each student must have an internet account and a home page on the World Wide Web. Go to Computing Services Help Desk  to establish a user account if you do not have one. Be sure to ask for an account on the Sun/Unix system. Students who join this course at semester break will have to create their home pages immediately. Go to "Creating a Home Page" and InTEC's guide to publishing on the Web to learn how to write a home page.

Discussions and Papers

The instructor has set three problems based on the books. Each student will write short papers (5-10 pp) addressing the problems, and join a small group to discuss the problem after completing each paper. Students will be assigned to one of two groups at the beginning of the term. The papers will conform to Chicago style and include title page and bibliography: see K L Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 6th ed (Chicago: Univ of Chicago Press, 1993), or The Chicago Manual of Style, 14th ed (Chicago: Univ of Chicago Press, 1993). The title page will indicate the appropriate discussion session. Students should begin by defining a specific historical problem relevant to the assigned texts and proceed by solving that problem, arguing closely and carefully from the texts. Those students new to this course in particular should consult closely with the instructor as they develop their topics.

A major concern will be the investigation of the ways people in Western Civilization have understood that art and experience to relate to each other: how does the one depend on, grow out of, and complement the other?  The Greeks first engaged this question and developed ways of living that derive profoundly from aesthetic experience.  Therefore in the first semester students  Pollitt's Art and Experience in Classical Greece as they prepared their written work.  Henry Adams investigated the cultural history of high medieval France in similar ways in his Mont-Ste-Michel and Chartres, and Meiss, more narrowly, late medieval Italy with Painting in Florence and Siena after the Black Death.  Each project last semester built on the preceding; this process will continue in the spring semester.   Now Clark's book Farewell to an Idea forms the starting point for each of the projects as the students investigate with him the character of Modernity and ways of thinking about it, perceiving it, and representing it.

Papers are due in the History office (207 East Hall) by 4:00 PM on the scheduled days; discussions follow accordingly at the Honors Lounge in Old Main. Papers submitted on time may be rewritten for a higher grade. Papers submitted after the first discussion following the due date will be penalized by ten points, and an additional ten points every twenty-four hours thereafter.

Paper Assignments

  1. Representing Revolution.  Clark, Farewell, Introduction, ch 1; Büchner, Danton's Death
  2. Representing Society.  Clark, Farewell, ch 2; Marx and Engels, Communist Manifesto; Brecht, Threepenny Opera (USD production of 8-12 Dec 1999)
  3. Representing the Future.  Clark, Farewell, chs 5-7; Zamyatin, We; Overmyer, On the Verge, or, The Geography of Yearning (USD production of 26-30 Apr 2000; copy of the script on reserve)

Multimedia Assignment: The House the West Built

The instructor will divide the students into six to nine groups, each of which will produce an ekphrasis of one work of Western art of the students' choosing. The work must predate 1925 unless the students secure permission to reproduce it in this project.  The results of each group's analysis will appear as a multimedia presentation on the World Wide Web and become part of the ongoing project, "The House the West Built."  

Have fun with this project; however its point is not to perform tricks but to develop a cogent and elegant description of the work you choose. Projects must be complete by 14 April.

Schedule of Lectures, Assignments, Workshops, and Performances

13 Jan Introduction: What is the Modern World?
14 Jan Shrine to Music Brown Bag: "Bach and the Millennium Change" (12:05 PM)

Part 7: Absolutism and Enlightenment [Chodorow chs 19-21]

18 Jan Introduction and Chronology (bring chronology sheet)
20 Jan Absolutism in France and Germany
25 Jan The English Exception
27 Jan The Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment
28 Jan Summaries to Part 7 due

Part 8: The Age of Revolutions [Chodorow chs 22-24]

1 Feb Introduction and Chronology (bring chronology sheet)
3 Feb The French Revolution and Its Consequences
6 Feb Saint-Saens, Samson and Delilah (Opera Omaha; synopsis and libretto by Bob Frone)
8 Feb The Industrial Revolution and Its Consequences
10 Feb Nineteenth Century Economics
11 Feb Paper on Problem 1 due
15 Feb Discussions on Problem 1
17 Feb Slides: Early Modern Art and Architecture
18 Feb Spring Colloquium in the History of Music: John Koster (Farber Hall, 12:05 PM)
Summaries to Part 8 due

Part 9: A Century of Ideas [Chodorow chs 25-26]

22 Feb Introduction and Chronology (bring chronology sheet)
23 Feb George Walker, Criminal Genius (Theater I)
|Attend this performance in preparation for the next day
24 Feb Liberalism and Nationalism
Theatrical workshop with Eric Hagen, 3-5 PM
29 Feb Socialism and Democracy; read Communist Manifesto
2 Mar New Directions in Thought and Science
3 Mar Spring Colloquium in the History of Music: Mary Oleskiewicz (Farber Hall, 12:05 PM)
14 Mar Imperialism
16 Mar Bismarck's Germany
17 Mar Paper on Problem 2 due
21 Mar Discussions on Problem 2

Part 10: Turn of the Century [Chodorow, chs 28-30]

23 Mar Introduction and Chronology (bring chronology sheet)
28 Mar World War I
31 Mar Summaries to Part 9 due
2 Apr Puccini, Tosca (Opera Omaha;  synopsis from Opera News)
30 Mar The Russian Revolution

Part 11: The Twentieth Century [Chodorow, chs 32-34]

4 Apr Introduction and Chronology (bring chronology sheet)
7 Apr Workshop on Jazz with Rolf Olson, 3-5 PM
Summaries to Part 10 due
6 Apr Totalitarianism
11 Apr World War II
13 Apr No class; attend Student History Conference
14 Apr Project due: The House the West Built
18 Apr Discussion on The House the West Built
20 Apr Postwar Tensions: The Cold War
25 Apr The Third World
26 Apr Overmyer, On the Verge, or, The Geography of Yearning (Theater I)
|Attend this performance in preparation for the next day
27 Apr Discussion on On the Verge with its director, Ron Moyer, in the Theater department
1 May Paper on Problem 3 due
2 May The Postmodern World; Slides
4 May Discussions on Problem 3
5 May Spring Colloquium in the History of Music: Rick Rognstad (Farber Hall, 12:05 PM)
Summaries to Part 11 due