Course Project Stage 1: Discovering Connections (60 points)

The purpose of this two-stage project is for you to compare cultural productions in the Humanities from three different cultures using terminology and interpretative processes from a specific humanities field.

You will select one field in the Humanities to focus on and discuss three different examples from this field from three different cultures.

During Stage 1, you will find three examples of work in the Humanities, find connections between them, and identify course resources that can help you talk about them.

During Stage 2, you will write a paper comparing and analyzing your examples using terminology and methods from the course resources.

Instructions for Stage 1

Step 1: Find your examples

Do some research outside of the course materials and find three examples from one of the fields below that have something in common. Your examples should come from three different cultures.

  • philosophy
  • religions
  • literary arts
  • visual arts
  • music
  • dance
  • theater
  • drama

For example, you could choose three paintings, one Chinese, one American, and one from Italy. You could choose three specific dances, one from Latin American culture, one from African American culture and one from Hungarian culture. You could choose three poems about birds, one from a Pacific Islander author, one from an American author and one from a Middle Eastern author. The key is to find unique works and make sure they have something in common. If you choose religion, your examples will not be the religion itself, but something within three different religions such as specific rituals, architecture, scriptures, conceptions of the divine etc. 

Note: Please try to avoid having all three examples be from Western culture. Western culture is generally the countries of the European Union, United States, Canada, the UK, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, Australia, and New Zealand.

Look also for examples from:

  • African cultures (e.g. mainland African cultures and African diasporic cultures like Afro-Caribbean)
  • Indigenous cultures (e.g. Native American, Inuit, and Aboriginal)
  • Latin America cultures (e.g. Mexican, Argentinian, and Peruvian)
  • South Asian cultures (e.g. Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Nepali, and Sri Lankan)
  • Pacific Islander cultures (e.g. Native Hawaiian, Polynesian, Samoan, and Tahitian)

Keep in mind, too,  that “culture” is not necessarily synonymous with “geographical location.”

Step 2: Describe your examples

Describe each of your three examples briefly in 2-4 sentences each. Make sure to include the following information in your description of each:

  • The culture and time period for the example (for example, 20th Century Nigeria, 19th Century African American, Chinese Ming Dynasty, the 1600s)
  • The title of the example, if there is one.
  • The author, artist or creator of the example and the dates this person lived (1920-1980, for example)
  • A citation in MLA format, including an image of the example, either as a link out or as an image in the paper.

Step 3: Discover the connections

In about 3-5 sentences, explain at least one specific element or aspect that you think your three examples have in common. No additional research is needed here. Use your ideas. You can ask yourself, for instance:

  • Are they all from the same time period?
  • Do they have a common theme like war, motherhood, peace etc.?
  • Do they all use the same palette of warm colors?
  • Do they all tell a similar story?
  • Do they all have the same kind of protagonist?
  • Do they all use similar metaphoric imagery?
  • Do they all have the same function, as in a ritual?
  • Do they all address ethics? or metaphysics? or epistemology?
  • Do they all depict the same kind of image, like of nature? of people? Of buildings?

Special note for the field of religions: Focus on making connections between a specific ritual, type of prayer, scripture, house of worship, sacred myth etc. from each of three different religions.

Step 4: Identify course resource(s)

Identify at least one to two resources from the course materials you could use information from to talk about your examples. In about 2-4 sentences, briefly state why you think this resource (s) will be useful. If your examples are from any performing arts (music, dance, theater, drama), please look ahead to weeks 6-7.

At this point, you don’t have to know exactly what you will use from the resource(s), but you should have an idea of what resource(s) will be useful. Again, there is no need to do outside research. Please rely on the materials in the online classroom.

Step 5: Citations

Include citations for your examples and the course resource(s) you identify either in the section where you list them or at the end of your assignment. Please make sure your citations are in MLA format.

Note: Please try to adhere to the sentence suggestions for each section. This is a proposal and should not exceed two pages in 12 point font, double-spaced.

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