FALL 2004

“Better well hanged than ill wed.”

-Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

Vincent  van Gogh (1853-1890)
The Sower, 1888
Oil on Canvas,
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
(Vincent van Gogh Foundation)









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Dr. Jim Ford                                              Humanities Seminar                                        HUM-4993

Office Phone: (918) 343-7749                    Fall 2004

Prerequisite: Senior status.



            “A reading, research, and/or lecture seminar on a particular topic, period, or genre, as specified each semester. Seminars will require extensive reading of, and reports on, primary and secondary works and/or research project(s). Student discussion will be paramount” (RSU Bulletin, 2003-04, p. 179).


The official description is obviously a little vague. This course is an advanced seminar in the Humanities. It is designed to be the culmination of your academic experience at Rogers State University in the Bachelor's of Arts, Liberal Arts program. In the above description, this seminar falls somewhere between a Reading Seminar and a Research Seminar. The crucial fact to note is that student discussion- your contribution- is paramount.

The specific topic for this year's Humanities Seminar is “The Nature of Love.” We will read a number of literary and scholarly works that deal with various kinds of love, and their significance to a good human life. Each week we examine a different work (or selections from various works), and we will spend the vast majority of our time reading, discussing, and writing about the meaning and significance of those works. That means that the course will require a great deal of work on your part, but it will be worth it.




Revised Course Schedule

Unit I: The Nature of Love

Oct 12        Additional Proposal Presentations                                                                   

Oct 19         Love and Poetry; Love and Painting 

Oct 26         Kierkegaard (selections) 

UNIT II: Love in the Modern World

Nov 2               Freud, Civilization and its Discontents 

Nov 9               Greene, The End of the Affair  

Nov 16             Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being  

Nov 23             Lovesongs (hand-outs)

Nov 30             Modern Critiques (hand-outs)  

Dec 7                hooks, all about love  

Dec 14              Final exam                             

This schedule may be revised as necessary during the course of the semester.


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Jane Austen	Persuasion			Penguin		     0140430059 
Sigmund Freud	Civilization and its DiscontentsWW Norton	1984 0393301583 
Graham Greene	The End of the Affair		Penguin		2000 0140291091 
bell hooks	All about love			HarperCollins	2000 0060959479 
Milan Kundera	The Unbearable Lightness of BeingHarperCollins	1999 0060932139 
C.S. Lewis	The Four Loves			Harcourt	1971 0156329301 
Plato		Symposium			Hackett		1997 0872200760 
All books are available at the RSU Bookstore in Claremore. 


Several things to peruse. First, go to the following website (or look in your book of Shakespeare's Sonnets, 

if you have one), and pick three (3) sonnets you find particularly interesting (that relate in some interesting 

way to our topic of love, obviously). Be sure to have a copy of those three sonnets with you on Tuesday:

Then, go to the following website (or look in your book of NGA paintings, if you have one), and pick

two (2) paintings you find particularly interesting (that relate in some interesting way to our topic of love,

obviously). Be sure to have a copy of those two paintings with you on Tuesday:

Why Shakespeare? Why the National Gallery of Art? Why not? We have to focus on something, right? But 

in case you find these unduly limiting, please bring in a classic poem and/or painting of your own choosing (in

addition to the 3 and 2, respectively). So everyone brings 3 sonnets, 2 NGA paintings, plus at least 1 other

poem or painting. That, plus we will have a plethora of projects (relating to both the poetry and the painting)

to consider. Should be a fun day--Tuesday, October 19th, mark your calendars.

We will review this assignment on the 12th, just to make sure everyone understands. Thanks.


Modern Critiques

Read this:

and this:

Those, and of course the hand-outs. Enjoy.


 VAN GOGH, Vincent
Branches with Almond Blossom
February 1890
Oil on canvas
73.5 x 92 cm
F671 JH1891
Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh, Amsterdam

Scan by http:// Mark Harden