HUM/112 Discussion Questions Week 1-11
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HUM 112 Week 1 Discussion 1
Discussion 1: Baroque Style
Describe a specific aspect of a painting by Caravaggio that demonstrates a characteristic of the Baroque style.
Identify which of the three music selections by Gabrieli, Monteverdi, or Vivaldi you like the most (or least) and explain why.
Describe a Baroque painting you feel best illustrates the piece of music that you identified from the three music selections.
HUM 112 Week 1 Discussion 2
Discussion 2: Science and Society
Consider that science is concerned with what is measurable, observable, reproducible, while society is concerned with what is material, useable, productive. Identify a scientific discovery or invention from the 1400s to 1600s and explain what impact it had on society at the time it was discovered or invented.
What discovery or invention do you believe has had the most impact on society today?
Describe a specific aspect of a particular painting by Vermeer or Rembrandt that demonstrates a primary characteristic of the New Science – the Science of Observation.
HUM 112 Week 2 Discussion 1
Discussion 1: Versailles, Velázquez, and Rubens
Describe a particular aspect of Versailles that you think represents the palace’s purpose as a symbol of absolute monarchy.
Peter Paul Rubens was one of the favorite artists of Louis XIV, known as the Sun King. Describe a painting by Rubens that you think shares the same sort of grandeur and extravagance represented by the Palace of Versailles.
Describe a painting by Velázquez that you think reflects Rubens’ influence on the arts of the Spanish court.
HUM 112 Week 2 Discussion 2
Discussion 2: Enlightenment Exploration
Identify and describe a characteristic of South Pacific Islander cultural practices that represents the social system in place within these cultures.
Some Enlightenment thinkers saw the cultures Captain Cook encountered as noble savages free from the impositions of civilized European life. Others, like Cook, held the Enlightenment view of human nature being the same everywhere, including South Pacific cultures. Explain whether you agree or disagree with the Enlightenment philosophical view on the universality of human nature and behavior.
Refer to specific aspects of the societies of Europe and the South Pacific as support for your position.
HUM 112 Week 3 Discussion 1
Discussion 1: Mozart
The first movement of Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 in G Minor is based on variations on a three-note motif. Explain why you think this Classical music form may be satisfying for both 18th century and contemporary listeners – and whether it was enjoyable for you.
Mozart was considered a child prodigy, performing throughout Europe. Cite your view on the notion of the child star and the impact of early success on a person who shows exceptional talent or genius. Explain whether you think Mozart’s struggle with sustained success in adulthood was a product of this phenomenon.
HUM 112 Week 3 Discussion 2
Discussion 2: Representations of Slavery
By creating awareness of oppression and arousing sympathy of supporters, the arts can be a form of protest. Identify and describe an example of how either black slaves or white abolitionists used the arts as a form of protest against slavery.
Explain whether you think an autobiographical or fictional account by a slave (such as Phillis Wheatley and Olaudah Equiano) is more persuasive than a biographical or fictional account by a white author (such as John Gabriel Stedman or Aphra Behn).
Explain whether you think the representations of slavery in the visual arts (such as William Blake’s illustrations, William Hackwood’s cameo, or John Singleton Copley’s painting) were more compelling and convincing of the injustices of slavery than literary representations.
HUM 112 Week 4 Discussion 1
Discussion 1: Romanticism and Nature
Compare a line from one of the Romantic poets to one of the Romantic landscape paintings. Describe what you think the poet and the painter is evoking about nature with these works.
Describe aspects of the Romantic view of nature that exist today.
HUM 112 Week 4 Discussion 2
Discussion 2: Realism in the U.S.
During the mid 1800s, slave narratives became an important literary forum for abolitionists. The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave was written in first person, while the Narrative of Sojourner Truth was in third person. Explain what effect these two different points of view might have on a 19th century reading audience in communicating the authors’ purposes.
Both Frederick Douglass’ autobiographical Narrative and Mark Twain’s fictional Adventures of Huckleberry Finn were written in opposition to slavery. Compare the passages of these two male authors and describe any similarities and/or differences you see in the tone and style of the two authors.
Both Sojourner Truth’s autobiographical Narrative and Harriet Beecher Stowe’s fictional Uncle Tom’s Cabin were written in opposition to slavery. Compare the passages of these two female authors and describe any similarities and/or differences you see in the tone and style of the two authors’ works.
HUM 112 Week 5 Discussion 1
Discussion 1: Asian Trade and Immigration
Identify and explain a significant contribution made by Chinese immigrants or Indian immigrants to American society and/or to the workforce during this time period.
Consider that while Chinese and Indian immigrants were arriving in the U.S., the British were arriving in China and India. Compare the concept of a 19th century global economy between Asia and the West to the 21st century global economy involving Asia and the West today.
Compare Asian immigration to the U.S. in the 19th century to immigration today.
HUM 112 Week 5 Discussion 2
Discussion 2: Manet
Manet was regarded as a flâneur (a man-about-town, a ladies’ man, a player). His paintings, The Absinthe Drinker/The Philosopher (1859) and The Luncheon on the Grass (1863) were rejected by the Salon at the Louvre. Identify and explain one reason why the Salon may have rejected these paintings, and whether you think his reputation may have influenced the decision.
Explain whether you think Manet’s Olympia was meant to shock the viewers of his time and why. Explain whether the painting would have a similar impact on viewers today.
While Manet’s art was considered part of the avant-garde, opera was the entertainment for the more conventional bourgeoisie. Describe how Verdi or Wagner introduced ways of making opera more innovative and even controversial. Speculate on how audiences may have reacted.
HUM 112 Week 6 Discussion 1
Discussion 1: En plein-air painting
The French writer, Émile Zola, claimed that the Impressionists were selling sketches that are hardly dry. Identify an example of an Impressionist painting that represents Zola’s description.
The availability of paint in metallic tubes in the 19th century made “en plein-air” possible for Impressionist artists. Identify a 20th or 21st century invention that has contributed to an innovation in art and explain why.
If you had the opportunity to have your own or your family’s portrait painted by either Monet or Renoir, which artist would you choose? Explain the reasons for your choice.
HUM 112 Week 6 Discussion 2
Discussion 2: Graphic Depictions
Thomas Eakins’ paintings, The Gross Clinic and The Agnew Clinic, are realist depictions of 19th century surgeries. Compare Eakins’ image of 19th century surgery with a 21st century media image you have seen of a medical innovation. Explain what you believe is the purpose of these kinds of graphic depictions of medical procedures.
Compare the ways in which men are represented in the two paintings by Eakins to the ways in which women are represented in these paintings.
Compare the depiction of women in these paintings by Thomas Eakins with the representations of women in paintings by Mary Cassatt. Describe how you think the women may have been depicted if Cassatt had painted the surgeries.
HUM 112 Week 7 Discussion 2
Explain whether you agree with the opinion of many Parisians in 1889 that the Eiffel Tower was a ridiculous eyesore that should have been torn down after the World’s Fair.
Explain why you think Gustave Eiffel’s design was the one chosen from over 700 submissions to a design competition.
Describe a contemporary monument in your city or in another U.S. city and whether it holds some special significance for the citizens of the city where it was erected. State whether you like or dislike the monument and explain why.
HUM 112 Week 8 Discussion 1
Discussion 1: WWI Poetry
While the image of the soldier poet may seem like an unlikely mix, the devastating effects of technological warfare experienced during WWI were the impetus for WWI poetry. Describe the message you think the soldier poet was trying to convey in his poetry.
Explain whether you think the poetry gives a reader an accurate depiction of the true meaning and impact of war on the average soldier and his family, especially during the WW I era.
Describe what words or phrases the poets use to get the reader to “see” and “feel” the same experiences. Is this possible?
Explain whether you think artistic works such as these poems would be successful or popular today. How do you think audiences would react to poetry written by U.S. soldiers stationed in Afghanistan or Iraq?
HUM 112 Week 8 Discussion 2
Discussion 2: Harlem Renaissance
Identify points in Countee Cullen’s poem Heritage or another poem of the Harlem Renaissance in which you see evidence of the notion of double-consciousness. Explain whether this notion is relevant to experiences of contemporary audiences.
Of the various authors, artists, and musicians who lived during the Harlem Renaissance, identify whose autograph you would most want and explain why.
Explain the appeal of Harlem’s nightlife to whites, especially during Prohibition. Discuss whether you consider the cross-over appeal of Hip-Hop culture a similar cultural phenomenon today.
HUM 112 Week 9 Discussion 1
Discussion 1: Abstraction and Artistic Purpose
Describe specific elements of Picasso’s Guernica and explain how effective you think the painting is as a protest against the horrors of war.
Pablo Picasso once wrote “painting is not done to decorate apartments; it is an instrument of war.” Explain what you think Picasso meant in this quote about artists and their paintings, regardless of whether a war scene is the subject of the painting. Identify and describe an example of an artwork that represents this viewpoint.
Explain whether you believe that art has the power to influence thought and action – what people think and what people do.
HUM 112 Week 9 Discussion 2
Discussion 2: Pop Art and Consumer Culture
Describe a specific element of Hamilton’s collage, Just What Is It That Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing? that you find particularly intriguing, interesting, offensive, or humorous and explain why.
After WWII, prosperity in the U.S. generated a consumer culture that dominated the second half of the 20th century. Explain whether you think Hamilton’s collage celebrates or ridicules consumer culture – or whether it conveys something else to you as a viewer.
Explain whether you think Pop art is an artistic critique of the culture of consumerism – or just a perpetuation of an obsession with material things, especially trendy brands and labels.
Describe what items you would include if you were to create a 21st century collage similar to Just What Is It That Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing?
HUM 112 Week 10 Discussion 1
Discussion 1: Rosenquist’s F-111
Rosenquist’s painting was created during the Vietnam War era and eventually became associated with the anti-war movement. Explain whether you think the message of the painting F-111 is pro-war, anti-war, or neither.
Describe at least two elements in the painting which are uniquely American.
Describe one “piece” of this 86-foot-long painting that you like and one piece you dislike. Explain why.
HUM 112 Week 10 Discussion 2
Discussion 2: Bearden, Basquiat
Compare and contrast Romare Bearden’s collage with the art of Jean-Michel Basquiat; identify and describe specific elements of these artworks that you think represent the multiplicity of the African-American experience.
HUM 112 Week 11 Discussion 1
Identify three things you learned in the course that surprised, confused, or intrigued you, and explain why.
Identify at least one thing you learned that you think may be useful to you, and explain why you think it may be useful knowledge.