HUM 414: The Individual in the Contemporary World

Current Classes

HUM 414: The Individual in the Contemporary World
Critical examination of contemporary global issues and recent world history. Builds on key themes and questions raised in the preceding Humanities courses toward a fuller understanding of the challenges, opportunities, and responsibilities of humanity today. All sections meet weekly for a common lecture, and classes may include close reading, discussion, writing, presentations and project-based activities.

Prerequisites: 75 credit hours and HUM 124, 214, 324; LANG 120.

Senior Capstone Courses 

UNC Asheville offers two options for the Senior Capstone course: HUM 414 "The Individual in the Contemporary World" and LA 478: "Cultivating Citizenship in a Global World." Please visit the Senior Capstone Course Comparison page to help you  select a course that best harmonizes with your major and intellectual interests.

HUM 414 Lecture Schedule - Fall 2018

These lectures are free and open to the public.

Fall 2018 - Lipinsky Auditorium 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM

August 24, 2018

"Religion" in Quest of "Globalization"
Dr. Marcus L. Harvey, Department of Religious Studies, Humanities 414 Coordinator

The categories “religion” and “globalization” enjoy a significant degree of normalization in contemporary Western lexicons. Often we are led to construe these categories as self-evident realities requiring little to no investigation beyond pronouncements made by journalists, pundits, politicians, and even some scholars. Running counter to the above tendency, this lecture investigates “religion” as a fabricated artifact of the European intellectual imagination whose meaning has long been contested. In addition, the role of “religion” in authorizing the expansion of colonial Europe and in fostering the closely allied present-day condition of “globalization” is also explored. Further, the lecture considers “religion’s” role in the establishment of “othering” colonial epistemic regimes that generated a universalist sense of European identity at the expense of so-called “non-Western” identities. Finally, mention is made of critical anti-colonial responses since the early 1940s to inveterate problems like coloniality which issue from “religion” and “globalization.”

August 31, 2018

Indigenous Representations in Lusophone African Cultural Production
Dr. Jeremias Zunguze, Department of Interdisciplinary Studies; Africana Studies Program

This presentation discusses the processes through which African and Africanist cultural producers in the former Portuguese colonies in Africa trace African Indigenous views and values as a decolonial option from the current global social order.

September 7, 2018

Indigenous New Media and Revitalization
Dr. Juan Sanchez Martinez, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures
Dr. Trey Adcock, Interdisciplinary Studies Program

Large-scale mining, oil industry, and commercial exploitation of cattle, timber and forests, are the cause of major environmental, social, political and cultural transformations in Abya Yala (the Mature Earth/The Americas). The activity of these economic sectors has confronted indigenous nations with the governments of the countries where their territories are located, as well as with the transnational companies that operate there. Numerous visual and plastic artists, writers and intellectuals have pointed out the negative impacts that the exploitation of minerals, forests, bodies of water, and fossil fuels produce in their territories. Their work shows how forced displacement of entire communities, systematic killing of environmental advocates, and the destruction of nature are consequences of these economic activities. Moreover, they indicate that there is a clash of paradigms between the vision of nature that their work promotes, and the legal and economic rationality of nation-states. In order to build bridges between these seemingly irreconcilable agendas, these artists and intellectuals often support civil mobilizations and community actions through film.

September 14. 2018

Colonialism and Neo-Colonialism: Imperial Imperatives and Untold Narratives
Dr. Oliver Gloag, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures

Who started the cold war? What sparked the Arab Spring? Is colonialism over? This lecture proposes a re-assessment of the standard narratives and accepted interpretations of these issues (and others pertaining to the Cold War and Postcolonialism) via brief case studies which will include discussions of the works of Césaire, Sartre, Guevara and Polybius.

September 21, 2018

Orientalism Revisited: The Challenges of Studying Islam and the Muslim World
Dr. Samer Traboulsi, Department of History

September 28, 2018

The Global Cold War
Dr. Sarah Judson, Department of History

October 5, 2018

Race and Poverty
Dr. Megan Underhill, Department of Sociology and Anthropology

October 12, 2018

The African-American Freedom Struggle since World War II
Attorney James Ferguson of Ferguson, Chambers, and Sumter; Charlotte, NC

October 19, 2018

Mass Incarceration in America: Two Wrongful Convictions on North Carolina’s Death Row; State v. Glenn Edward Chapman
Dr. Pamela Laughon, Department of Psychology

October 26, 2018

Dr. Alvis Dunn, Department of History

November 2, 2018

The LGBTQ Movement
Dr. Shawn Mendez, Department of Sociology and Anthropology

November 9, 2018

Global Art Challenges
Dr. Eva Bares, Department of Art & Art History

November 16, 2018

Hip-Hop’s Early Years
Dr. Joseph Ewoodzie, Davidson College

November 30, 2018

Dr. William Bares, Department of Music



Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Students demonstrate knowledge of contemporary human diversity--in cultures and in personal identities.
  2. Students identify the connection of values, beliefs, and cultural forms to humanity’s economic, social and environmental sustainability.
  3. Students write a well-supported, organized, and clearly articulated argument using both primary and secondary sources, and appropriate documentation style.
  4. Students gather, document, analyze, and integrate information about contemporary texts and other cultural forms.