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 - Fall 2018

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

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

August 20, 2018

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.

August 27, 2018

Atlantic 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. 

September 10, 2018

Visions and Realities of Modernity in 19th Century Latin America
Dr. Aldo Garcia Guevara, Worcester University

September 17, 2018

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.

September 24, 2018

The Second Scientific Revolution
Dr. James Perkins, Department of Physics, and HUM 324 Coordinator
US Indian Removal Act
Dr. Ellen Pearson, Department of History

October 1, 2018

Indian Feminists and Modernity
Dr. Keya Maitra, Department of Philosophy
Modernity and Instability in 19th Century China
Dr. Grant Hardy, Department of History

October 15, 2018

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.

October 22, 2018

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

October 29, 2018

Modernism and Queer Sensibility
Dr. Lorena Russell
The Harlem Renaissance
Dr. Dee James 

November 5, 2018

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.

November 12, 2018

New Math
Dr. Sam Kaplan, Department of Mathematics
Dr. James Perkins, Department of Physics, and HUM 324 Coordinator

November 19, 2018

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

November 26, 2018

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

December 3, 2018

The Legacy of Modernity Panel Discussion

Seating Chart


Lipinsky Auditorium (LIP 125)

Fall 2018

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.

Berls: Right sections, rows N through Q
Boyle: Center sections, rows M and N
Cook: Center section, rows B, C, and D
Doster: Left section, rows B through E
Alvis Dunn: Left section, rows F through I
Ann Dunn: Right section, rows J through M
Gusain: Right section, rows F through I
Heard: Right section, rows B through E
Heston: Center section, rows E, F, and G
Paul: Center section, rows H, I, and J
Pierce: Left section, rows J through M
Roubinek: Center section, rows K and L
Trautmann:Left section, rows N through Q


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.