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 2018

These lectures are free and open to the public.

Spring 2018 - Humanities Lecture Hall (HLH) 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM

January 19, 2018

"Religion" and the Question 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.”

January 26, 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.

February 2, 2018

Indigenous Cinema as Resistance: Politics and Representation
Dr. Juan Sanchez Martinez, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures

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.

February 9. 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.

February 16, 2018

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

February 23, 2018

Race & Poverty
Dr. Dwight Mullen, Department of Political Science

March 9, 2018

Busy Kitchens, Silenced Women: Reclaiming Women's Voices in the Southern Food Narrative
Dr. Erica Abrams Locklear, Department of English

Who has historically prepared and served foods necessary for daily existence in America? (Spoiler alert: women.) What ideas about those food-preparing women are embedded in our cultural narratives, and where did those narratives come from? Who did they leave out, and with what consequences? In the contemporary celebrations of Appalachian and Southern food, whose story is highlighted and whose is muted, and what work is being done to reclaim those voices from the kitchen?
Lecture material covers a wide historical span, ending with contemporary reflections about women in today's southern food scene.

March 23, 2018

Queer Identities, Communities, and Movements
Dr. Scott Branson, MLAS Program

March 30, 2018

Human Rights and Global Justice
Dr. Brian Butler, Department of Philosophy

April 6, 2018

People Power and the Democratic Revolutions of the 1980s
Professor Bruce Cahoon, Humanities Program

April 13, 2018

Environmental Ethics
Prof. Grace Campbell, Humanities Program

April 20, 2018

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

April 27, 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.