HUM 324: The Modern World

Current Classes

Investigates events, ideas and values from the 16th to the early 20th centuries during what is commonly described as the Modern era. The course presents diverse multicultural perspectives on the scientific, political, industrial and social changes that came about during this time: (e.g., the rise of globalization, feminism and international declarations of rights). Students investigate the profound influence of these historical moments on philosophy, religion, literature and the arts. Sources are drawn from multiple disciplines and include global cultural forms. The course narrative considers the intersection of local and international conditions that led to the era’s ongoing significance. All sections meet weekly for a common lecture, and classes may include close reading, discussion, writing, presentations and project-based activities. Fall and Spring. (Fewer sections offered in the fall.)

Prerequisite: HUM 214


HUM 324 Lecture Schedule - Spring 2019

These lectures are free and open to the public. Please check the seating chart for available open seating.

Spring 2019 - Lipinsky Auditorium 11:00 AM-12:15 PM

January 14, 2019

Enlightenment and Modernity
Dr. Tracey Rizzo, Department of History

Developments in the 17th century world slowly disrupted cultural conditions in people’s personal lives and across the globe, resulting in a highly contested modernity. Central to this disruption was the European Enlightenment rooted in western scientific inquiry and technological advances. Emphasis on progress through science complemented a justice agenda which became hitched to the imperial expansion of France and Britain, and known as liberal imperialism.

January 28, 2019

Transatlantic Revolutions
Dr. Alvis Dunn, Department of History

By the late 18th century new ideas about human rights and who should govern sparked dissent, and ultimately, rebellion, in Europe's American colonies. 

February 4, 2019

The European Industrial Revolution
Dr. Jeff Konz, Department of Economics and Dean of Social Sciences

The industrial revolution led to tremendous increases in our material standard of living, but accompanied by social, political, cultural, and environmental disruption, leading to a wide range of intellectual and popular responses.

February 11, 2019

The Second Scientific Revolution
Dr. George Heard, Department of Chemistry
US Indian Removal Act
Dr. Ellen Pearson, Department of History

February 18, 2019

Contagion of Freedom
Dr. Sarah Judson, Department of History

February 25, 2019

Islam and the Modern World: From the Ottoman Empire to the rise of the Republic of Turkey
Dr. Rodger Payne, Department of Religious Studies

For over 500 years, the Ottoman Empire was the lens through which Europe and the Islamic world viewed one another.  In this lecture, we will explore the self-understanding of the Ottoman Empire as an Islamic political state; the changing relationship between the values of the Ottoman world and those of “western” culture; and the legacies of the Ottoman Empire, especially in the creation of modern Turkey.

March 4, 2019

A Location for Indian Modernities
Dr. Keya Maitra, Department of Philosophy
Modernity and Instability in 19th Century China and Japan
Dr. Grant Hardy, Department of History


March 18, 2019

Music in the Modern World
Dr. Michael Ruiz, Department of Physics

March 25, 2019

New Math
Dr. Sam Kaplan, Department of Mathematics
New Physics
Dr. Jeff Konz, Department of Economics and Dean of Social Sciences

April 1, 2019

Drawing Lines: WWI and the Postwar Revolutions
Dr. Eric Roubinek, Department of History

WWI challenged Europeans' beliefs in their own supremacy, bringing an end to many of the world's most powerful empires while laying the groundwork for the emergence of new ones.

April 8, 2019

Dr. Kirk Boyle, Department of English


April 15, 2019

WWII and the Holocaust
Dr. Eric Roubinek, Department of History
Remembering the Holocaust
Dr. Regine Criser, Department of Languages & Literatures

April 22, 2019

Afro-Modernity: Temporality, Politics, and Epistemologies
Dr. Jeremias Zunguze, Department of Languages and Literatures

April 29, 2018

1948: Narratives of Modernity
Dr. Duane Davis, Department of Philosophy


Seating Chart


Lipinsky Auditorium (LIP 125)

Spring 2019

Look for the name of your professor to find the seating for your class. You may also refer to the chart here.
The center portion of the front row is reserved for accessibility seating.
Use “left” and “right” in relation to when you are facing the stage.

Buckner: Left section, rows J-M
Cook: Center section, rows B-D
Davis: Right section, rows K-N
Dunn: Center section, rows K-L
Heston: Center section, rows E-G
Lundblad: Left section, rows F-I
Paul: Center section, rows H-J
Roubinek: Right section, rows G-J

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Students demonstrate knowledge of the intellectual and cultural trends of modern civilization as global.
  2. Students identify different values and worldviews, with an emphasis upon understanding relationships: between government, religion, art, and science and between the individual, society, and the global community.
  3. Students write a well-supported, organized, and clearly articulated argument using both primary and secondary sources, and correct documentation style.
  4. Students critically analyze, in writing and orally, religious and secular philosophies, power-structures and their meaning in the modern world.