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 - Spring 2019

These lectures are free and open to the public.

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


January 18, 2019

Framing HUM 414: Disciplinary Perspectives
Dr. Marcus L. Harvey, Department of Religious Studies, Humanities 414 Coordinator
Dr. Sarah Judson, Department of History
Dr. Alison Ormsby, Humanities Program
Professor Kelsey Buckner, Humanities Program

January 25, 2019

"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.”

February 1, 2019

Indigeneity as a Decolonial Project
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.

February 8, 2019

Indigenous Feminist Activism:  Disrupting the Patriarchal/Colonial Economic System
Dr. Juan Sanchez Martinez, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures

February 15, 2019

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

February 22, 2019

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

March 1, 2019

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

March 8, 2019

The Racial Wealth Gap
Dr. Megan Underhill, Department of Sociology and Anthropology

March 22, 2019

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

March 29, 2019

Gender Inequality
Dr. Melissa Burchard, Department of Philosophy

April 5, 2019

Migration and Immigration
Dr. Alvis Dunn, Department of History

April 12, 2019

Modern LGBTQ Movements 
Dr. Shawn Mendez, Department of Sociology and Anthropology

April 19, 2019

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

April 26, 2019

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.