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Home / College Catalog / 2016-18 / Academic Programs / Liberal Studies & Continuing Education

Draft in progress

The Liberal Studies Program: Humanities Courses

Note: It is expected that each course will be offered at least once during 2016–17 or 2017–18.

Art History
Humanities: General
Jewish Studies
Language and Culture

Art History Courses

Introduction to Art History
ARH 1500
/ 4 credits
Students study a broad range of art (e.g., painting, sculpture, architecture) from antiquity to the present. Lectures focus on works of art and their relationship to their historical and social context. This course is intended for students with little or no background in art history. Students cannot receive credit for this course and ARH 1010 or ARH 1020. Closed to Purchase College art history majors.

Picasso: The Man, His Art, and His Critics
ARH 3100
/ 4 credits
Deified, demonized, or mythologized, Pablo Picasso remained indisputably the consummate artist of the 20th century. As a painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and set designer, Picasso absorbed techniques and traditions culled from various Western and non-Western art sources. Students study his numerous styles, from his early academic exercises through the Blue Period, Rose Period, African Period, Cubism, and Surrealism, and his influence on other artists.

Contemporary Art
ARH 3121
/ 4 credits
The first distinctly American modern movement in art, Abstract Expressionism, burst onto the international scene around 1950. American artists then pioneered the major movements of Pop art, photorealism, earth art, and minimalism, while simultaneously participating in the more international developments: happenings, environments, conceptualism, neo-expressionism, and new figuration. Students explore the multiple directions in American and European art from 1945 to the present.

Sexuality and Gender in Ancient Art
ARH 3173
/ 4 credits
Focuses on how the ancient societies of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome used art to present and represent the relationship between biological sex and the social invention of gender. It also explores sexuality in the ancient world, the interpretations of the lives and roles of men and women, and the role of art in communicating ideas about sexuality.

American Art
ARH 3180
/ 4 credits
A study of American painting and sculpture from colonial times to the present, focusing on American contributions to romanticism, realism, impressionism, abstraction, Pop art, and postmodernism. Lectures also cover African American art, Latino American art, and Jewish artists as part of this opportunity to learn about American history through art.

20th-Century Photography
ARH 3193
Refer to Art History Undergraduate Courses (School of Humanities) for description.

Frank Lloyd Wright: Architecture for America
ARH 3435
/ 4 credits
Frank Lloyd Wright’s long and prolific career (1887–1959) represents a comprehensive, dynamic timeline of American architecture. This course examines Wright’s Oak Park home and studio, Robie House, Unity Temple, Taliesin, Taliesin West, Fallingwater, and the Guggenheim Museum. The focus is on the roles of women, including his mother, three wives, mistress, and an employee, in the context of American history and architecture.

Pop Art
ARH 3445
/ 4 credits
Though cool and noncommittal, Pop art posed serious questions about our relationships to society and culture. This course begins with the formation of the Pop art aesthetic (Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Larry Rivers) and moves to a detailed study of the works of major Pop artists like Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, and Roy Lichtenstein. The Pop phenomenon in Europe is also examined in an international and intermedia context, as is the formation of a “post-Pop” aesthetic in the 1980s and 1990s.

ARH 3455
/ 4 credits
The simultaneous development of various painters associated with Impressionism (e.g., Monet, Renoir, Morisot, Pissarro, Manet, Degas, Cassatt) is presented. This radical new art movement is traced from the first Impressionist exhibition of 1874 to the last exhibition of 1886 and the appearance of the post-Impressionists. Students explore the shared relationships of the Impressionist artists.

Art of the ’80s, ’90s, and 21st Century
ARH 3520
/ 4 credits
A retrospective and prospective point of view is used to analyze contemporary art, beginning with the many coexisting styles and schools of the pluralistic 1970s, progressing to the powerful neo-expressionist images of the 1980s, and then considering the globalism of the 1990s. Discussions also contemplate the increasingly provocative content of much recent art and the 21st-century fusion of existing styles.

The Cubist Epoch
ARH 3690
/ 4 credits
An interdisciplinary examination of Cubism both as a phenomenon and an artistic movement. Discussions include Cubism’s style, history, and identification with modernism and modernity. In particular, the course explores the influence of Cubism in film, advertising, art, theatre, dance, music, and literature.

Pioneers of Modern Art: Romanticism to Realism
ARH 3715
/ 4 credits
Traces the origins of modernism, beginning with the growth of neoclassicism and the development of Romanticism in France, England, Germany, and Spain. With the rise of the middle class came a growing interest in artistic representation of the everyday world. By the mid-19th century artists began to challenge the emphasis on traditional history painting. Students examine how realism developed in the work of artists like Courbet and Manet, which led to the Impressionism of Monet and Degas. Selected post-Impressionists (e.g., van Gogh, Gauguin) and parallel developments in America are also considered.

Realism in Art
ARH 3730
/ 4 credits
Various artists from the 17th century to the present have worked in a style that can be termed realist. This course explores the definition of realism in art and examines why these artists chose to work in an empirical style. How do their styles differ, and what does their work tell us about the societies in which they lived? Students choose and place in social context a 20th-century or contemporary realist to discover how the meaning of realism has evolved over the centuries.

History Courses

History-on-Hudson: History of the Hudson Valley Region
HIS 1450
/ 4 credits
Dive into a more than 400-year study of “America’s First Great River.” Discover why, where, and how the Hudson River region has had—and continues to have—a vital role in shaping American history and society. The region’s history is examined through a selection of such themes as culture, exploration, art, literature, economics, industry, transportation, international relations, and the environment.

American History and Society Through Music
HIS 3130
/ 4 credits
A narrative survey of U.S. history from the colonial period to the present through an exploration of its musical history. The course investigates America’s fundamental principles of politics, its primary social issues, and its wealth of aesthetic musical initiatives. Students examine the unity, diversity, originality, and adaptability of significant political, social, and musical institutions.

World War II and America
HIS 3140
/ 4 credits
Examines the impact of World War II on U.S. culture, society, and politics, and explores why and how U.S. foreign policy evolved from the stance of neutrality to belligerency during the 1930s. Students consider how the war was fought on two fronts and its effects on American society and culture through the early years of the Cold War.

The Mediterranean Origins of Western Culture
HIS 3150
/ 4 credits
Examines the main historical events in the Mediterranean area from late antiquity through the Renaissance. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam were born here, and the diverse peoples and cultures around its shores competed for intellectual and political dominance. These interactions resulted in the legacy of beliefs and institutions at the core of Western culture, including some issues still unresolved today.

Empire City: A History of New York City
HIS 3265
/ 4 credits
An introduction to the history and culture of New York City. New York’s colonial origins, its critical role in the American Revolution, and its 19th-century ethnic and social conflicts are studied. Secondly, the evolution of the city’s dynamic growth in the 20th century and the impact of 9/11 are examined. Lastly, the image of New York City as portrayed in literature and film is explored.

Vietnam and Modern America
HIS 3269
Refer to History Courses (School of Humanities) for description.

The Americas Before 1492
HIS 3415
/ 4 credits
An exploration of Native American life before 1492, using books, documentaries, and films. Topics include the rise and fall of native cultures in the Americas, commerce, politics, economics, agriculture, and urbanization. The focus is on institutions, values, and interrelationships among people across the Americas, and the accomplishments and influences of individual civilizations on the history of the Americas.

Emergence of the Modern U.S.: 1877–1945
HIS 3465
Refer to History Courses (School of Humanities) for description.

The Blue and the Gray: U.S. Civil War
HIS 3535
Refer to History Courses (School of Humanities) for description.

African History
HIS 3615
/ 4 credits
This study of African history addresses the continent’s geography and how it has affected Africa’s place in history, the rise and fall of civilizations, Islamic/Arab influences, European colonization, independence movements, and current challenges. In particular, students examine the slave trade and its effects on African societies, colonial domination, and the rise of nationalist movements.

America in Recent Times
HIS 3670
Refer to History Courses (School of Humanities) for description.

Music of Protest
MTH 3115
Refer to Music under Performing and Visual Arts Courses for description.

Humanities: General Courses

Middle Eastern Cultures: Texts and Films
ANT 3330
Refer to Anthropology under Social Sciences Courses for description.

Senior Capstone
CAP 4800
/ 4 credits
A one-semester project that involves empirical research, library investigation, or an applied learning experience (on or off campus). Regardless of the format, the project culminates in a significant paper. Course sections are overseen by faculty within each major to foster integration of prior coursework, and should be selected in consultation with academic advisors. Required for all liberal studies students.
Prerequisite: WRI 1110 and completion of 90 credits

Holocaust Theatre and Film
CMS 3000
Refer to Jewish Studies Courses for description.

Modernism, Media, and the Middle Class
CMS 3030
/ 4 credits
Charles Morazé, in The Triumph of the Middle Classes, describes the political and social history of the bourgeoisie during the 19th century. This course traces themes from Morazé through the 20th century, with attention to how the middle class sees itself through art, literature, film, advertising, and television.

Mass Media: A Cultural History
CMS 3040
Refer to Film/Media Studies under Performing and Visual Arts Courses for description.

Lights, Camera, God: Religion in the Movies
CMS 3340
Refer to Film/Media Studies under Performing and Visual Arts Courses for description.

Women for Change in the Middle East
GND 3170
Refer to Gender Studies under Social Sciences Courses for description.

Holocaust Memoir and Diary
LIT 3571
Refer to Literature Courses for description.

Religion and Psychology
PSY 3140
Refer to Psychology under Natural Sciences Courses for description.

Gods, Goddesses, and Demons
REL 3200
/ 4 credits
An examination of the psychology and spiritual significance of mythopoetic images and the theme of human crisis, individual and communal, in selected epic poems and spectacles from ancient Greek, Indo-Tibetan, and contemporary cultures.

World Religions: An Anatomy of the Sacred
REL 3250
/ 4 credits
“God is dead,” Nietzsche famously proclaimed to signal the waning power of religion. In spite of the influence religion exerts, one is reminded of the lack of understanding of the world’s major faiths. This course is a study of the origins, evolution, and the traditions of the major and minor religions of the world.

Shamanism and Native Cultures
REL 3300
/ 4 credits
An exploration of Native American, Central Asian, and aboriginal Australian testimonies and techniques of shamanic experience and their relationship to other native cultures of the world. The contemporary global contribution of these cultures to ecology and spirituality, together with the challenges faced by native cultures today, are also explored.

Healing and the Arts: Indo-Tibetan Traditions
REL 3350
/ 4 credits
Indian and Tibetan traditional arts evolved from ancient techniques for rebalancing natural energies through aesthetic experience and awareness. Students explore these traditional musical, visual, literary, theatrical, and ritual arts and the meditative philosophies behind them. The course also observes techniques of current practitioners and relates them to practices cultivated by traditional healers for living in harmony with nature and attuning to the elemental energies of life.

Spirituality and Nature
REL 3400
/ 4 credits
An exploration of writings, cultural traditions, activities, and lifestyles that involve spiritual interaction with nature. Through appreciating models of nature-consciousness, the goal is to deepen and sustain students’ awareness of the natural world, to develop actions and voices for expressing and clarifying that awareness in the present environmental context, and to modify environmentally destructive habits.

Buddhist Ideas and Practice
REL 3450
/ 4 credits
Investigates practical Indian, Tibetan, and Zen teachings and their relationship to meditative practice, somatic awareness, ethical engagement, and personal and collective well-being. Students evaluate how people learn, know, and do what is good, i.e., that which promotes individual and collective health and happiness. The effects and applications of these practices and teachings are also explored.

God’s Warriors: Religious Fundamentalism Today
REL 3500
/ 4 credits
Contemporary culture cannot be adequately understood without considering the impact of religious extremism. While other factors play a role, it is religious passions that fuel the jihadist movement in the Islamic world, incite violence in the occupied Palestinian territories, and amplify culture wars between secular and religious forces in the U.S. This course examines the root causes of such cultural phenomena, asking whether fundamentalism can exist in modern society without leading to bloodshed.

Contemporary Popular Culture
SOC 3315
Refer to Sociology under Social Sciences Courses for description.

America’s Theatre of Protest
THP 3160
/ 4 credits
Examines the means by which leading, contemporary American playwrights have tackled many burning social issues, including racial discrimination, gender bias, corporate abuse, and violence against gays and lesbians. Kushner’s Angels in America is used as a model for discussion of several important writers whose dramas have had an impact on American culture and effected change.

20th-Century World Drama
THP 3240
/ 4 credits
Explores 20th-century world drama from an end-of-the-millennium perspective. Plays are chosen from North America, Africa, Asia, and Europe for cross-cultural thematic investigations. Close reading of the plays, along with class discussions, encourages students to theorize on the inter- and intratextual nuances dramatized in the plays. The emphasis is on students’ response to the works, although they are expected to become familiar with various postmodernist theories, including feminist and postcolonial studies.

The Great Broadway Songwriters
THP 3340
Refer to Music under Performing and Visual Arts Courses for description.

Jewish Studies Courses

Holocaust Theatre and Film
CMS 3000
/ 4 credits
Explores various representations of the Holocaust in dramatic and cinematic forms. The focus is on American and Israeli plays by such authors as Arthur Miller and Donald Margulies. Students examine questions of realism, historical truth, and artistic freedom and view Eastern European, American, and German films, including popular Shoah films like Schindler’s List, Life is Beautiful, and Sophie’s Choice.

Holocaust Memoir and Diary
LIT 3571
Refer to Literature Courses for description.

Journalism Courses

Introduction to Media Writing
CMS 2050
/ 4 credits
In this writing intensive course, students build foundational skills in writing for a variety of media and purposes: print, digital, and broadcast media, public relations and advertising. Students begin to explore the divergent applications of written communication by analyzing their roles as both consumers of and writers for media. Ethical and legal issues are also introduced.

Writing for the Mass Media
JOU 3270
/ 4 credits
Writing for the mass media builds on the ability to tell a story about an event, person, or situation and present it to a wide and varied audience. In this course, students learn to differentiate between content produced for informational, visual (print, television, and online), audio (radio), and multimedia outlets as well as how to create content for each of them.

Media Literacy
JOU 3280
/ 4 credits
Media literacy encompasses the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and create media. In this course, students learn to critically examine visual, audio, and online media while gaining an understanding of the media’s effect on culture and society.

Language and Culture Courses

Beginning Spanish I
SPA 1010
Refer to Spanish Courses (School of Humanities) for description.

Beginning Spanish II
SPA 1020
Refer to Spanish Courses (School of Humanities) for description.

Literature Courses

History and Memory: Literature and Films of Atrocity
CMS 3050
Refer to Film/Media Studies under Performing and Visual Arts Courses for description.

Frontline Reporting: Global Conflict
CMS 3060
Refer to Film/Media Studies under Performing and Visual Arts Courses for description.

East–West: Film and Literature of Cultural Formation
CMS 3080
Refer to Film/Media Studies under Performing and Visual Arts Courses for description.

Dark Fairy Tales
LIT 3295
/ 4 credits
To modern audiences, “fairy tale” suggests beautiful princesses and handsome princes, ball gowns, and singing mice, but fairy tales have much darker roots. Alongside true love, innocence, and bravery lies infanticide, incest, murder, and cannibalism. In this course, students study a selection of fairy tales and explore their origins, variants, interpretations, and the archetypal characters who inhabit them.

Short Fiction
LIT 3400
/ 4 credits
An examination of the “middle genre,” encompassing the novella and the short novel. Readings provide ample opportunity to sample works embodying the intensity of short fiction and some of the expanded characterization and plot development of the novel. Readings include works by several significant 19th- and 20th-century authors from many countries.

Modern Poetry
LIT 3420
Refer to Literature Courses: 3000–3999 (School of Humanities) for description.

20th-Century World Literature
LIT 3427
/ 4 credits
World literature of the 20th century is considered as it reflects and generates discussion of national and international boundaries, politics, religion, freedom, nationalism, sexuality, gender, and identity. Its diverse riches are experienced in this course through a broad cross-section of contemporary writings, including short stories, by international and American authors. Readings facilitate discussion of the global mosaic of social norms and values and the diversity of global literary tradition.

Holocaust Memoir and Diary
LIT 3571
/ 4 credits
Holocaust scholar Lawrence Langer asks, “To whom shall we entrust the custody of the public memory of the Holocaust?” This course examines eyewitness testimony produced either during or after the Holocaust. Students read works by such authors as Elie Wiesel, Primo Levi, Kazik (Simha Rotem), Emanuel Ringelblum, Anne Frank, and Hanna Senesh, a true Jewish Joan of Arc.

American Women Writers
LIT 3665
Refer to Literature Courses: 3000–3999 (School of Humanities) for description.

Modern American Short Stories
LIT 3677
/ 4 credits
Concise and focused, the short story has been a lens through which Americans have explored their identities. Stories written in the last 25 years examine the changing sense of what being an American means.

Philosophy Courses

Methods of Reasoning
PHI 2120
Refer to Philosophy Courses (School of Humanities) for description.

History of Western Ideas
PHI 3220
/ 4 credits
The history of Western ideas is traced from their inception in the ancient world to their culmination in contemporary culture. Students read seminal works spanning a broad historical setting, beginning with the ancient world of the Bible and Greek philosophy. The course covers noted movements in Western history, including the Medieval period, the Reformation, the Renaissance, the Scientific Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, the Enlightenment, and postmodernism.

Understanding Moral Problems
PHI 3560
/ 4 credits
Representative problems of business, legal, medical, environmental, and personal ethics (e.g., violence, discrimination, capital punishment, abortion, euthanasia, conservation, sexual morality) are covered. Emphasis is placed on learning to think about and discuss these issues clearly and objectively, rather than on abstract ethical theories.

Philosophy, Culture, and the Media
PHI 3645
/ 4 credits
An examination of what it means—aesthetically, socially, and existentially—to live in a 21st-century world pervaded by electronic and digital technologies. How do these technologies and practices shape people’s beliefs and knowledge about the world? How do they shape moral and social values? Is the internet good for human beings? Readings from selected philosophers and media theorists.

Writing Courses

College Writing
WRI 1110
Refer to Expository and College Writing Courses (School of Humanities) for description.

Fiction Writing Workshop
WRI 2150
/ 4 credits
A workshop for beginning writers, with an emphasis on finding story ideas, beginning and ending narratives, creating plot and conflict, developing characters, controlling voice and point of view, and handling narration. Students read, discuss, and revise their work regularly. Individual requirements are developed with the instructor, who reviews and evaluates each writer’s work.

Creative Writing Workshop
WRI 2160
and 3160 (Advanced) / 4 credits (per semester)
This course allows students to explore various genres, including poetry, the short story, and the memoir. Students should be prepared to write, revise, and share portions of their work with the class and to read a selection of works by contemporary authors.
Prerequisite for WRI 3160: WRI 2160 or CWR 1010

Poetry Writing Workshop
WRI 2170
and 3170 (Advanced) / 4 credits (per semester)
Focusing on the process of writing poetry, this course facilitates writing new work and sharpening revision skills. Students read contemporary poetry, participate in writing exercises, explore the writer’s craft, critique poems, and discuss the road to publication.
Prerequisite for WRI 3170: WRI 2170

Advanced Fiction Writing Workshop
WRI 3150
/ 4 credits
For fiction writers with some experience. Students read and discuss their work regularly and revise their stories. Specific requirements are developed with the instructor, but writers normally work on at least two stories during the term or on a longer project (a novella or novel). The instructor periodically reviews and evaluates each writer’s work.

True Stories: The Craft of Memoir
WRI 3250
/ 4 credits
Students learn how to examine and write their own stories through in-class exercises and discussion of both student and published work. Beginning writers, as well as those with a particular project in mind, learn how to place their stories in the larger context of the world and employ storytelling techniques, including imagery, voice, dialogue, and character development.

Creative Nonfiction
WRI 3260
/ 4 credits
Students examine how experience, research, and imagination are integrated in this evolving genre. Discussions focus on traditional published works and those that play with the boundaries of the nonfiction, integrating traditional styles to create new ones. Students analyze one another’s attempts to artfully place the subjective in the context of the larger world and create their own original works.

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Liberal Studies Degree Completion Program


Communications, BS

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